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Construction of Skyscrapers and Other Buildings

Construction in the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Eras

Most of Kajima's building construction work during the Meiji era involved such civil engineering related structures as train stations and power plants, but the Company gradually increased its general construction work during the Taisho and early Showa eras. Among prominent projects during this period were the Furukawa Gomei Ashio Copper Mine and Chuo University. The Company also participated in many special emergency building reconstruction projects after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In the Showa era, Kajima constructed the main train station in Tokyo's Ueno district, the Toyoko department store in Tokyo's Shibuya district, and a growing number of offices, factories, schools, and other buildings. Under Japan's centrally administered wartime economic system, Kajima was commissioned to build munitions factories and carry out military construction projects, and the Company also began operating in Korea, Manchuria, and Southeast Asian countries.

The refinery of the Furukawa Gomei Ashio Copper Mine

The refinery of the Furukawa Gomei Ashio Copper Mine was completed in 1915. This project involved the construction of a steel-frame, steel-reinforced concrete (SRC) smokestack as well as soot collection and smoke conveyance facilities.

Chuo University was constructed of brick and wood (1918).

Chuo University was constructed of brick and wood (1918).

Ueno station

Ueno station was constructed to accommodate a large number of train passengers as well as a large volume of rail freight. Built to replace a station from the Meiji era, the modernistic new station building featured highly functional passenger passageways with overpasses and underpasses (1934).

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Rebuilding atop the Ruins

Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945 caused Kajima to lose a huge amount of foreign assets, the value of which was greater than the Company's capital. The Company was also forced to make considerable losses on the uncollectable receivables from construction contracts. While Kajima was in desperate straits, it was able to overcome its challenges by undertaking projects for the occupation forces as well as postwar reconstruction projects.

The Korean War, which began in 1950, had a beneficial effect on the Japanese economy and enabled many domestic companies to accumulate funds. This, and the severe shortage of office space due to wartime destruction, spurred a boom in office building construction. Kajima was involved with the construction of such prominent buildings as the Toho Life Insurance Fukuoka Building in the city of Fukuoka and the Kasumigaseki Combined Ministries Building in Tokyo.

From the late 1950s, the construction of large-scale buildings and industrial plants began in Japan. Among these was the Hibiya Mitsui Building, a large structure that represented the start of Kajima's full-scale presence in the building construction field. This building featured a facade incorporating stainless steel and aluminum as well as an underground structure designed to compensate for the insufficient solidity of the site's ground.

The Kasumigaseki Combined Ministries Building

An eight-story building with 52,800m² of floor space, the Kasumigaseki Combined Ministries Building was the first large-scale government building constructed in the postwar era (1950-1957).

The Hibiya Mitsui Building

A building with 90,891m² of floor space on five underground and nine aboveground floors, the Hibiya Mitsui Building was considered a harbinger of the ensuing surge in large-scale office building construction (1957-1960).

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The Dawn of Japanese Skyscrapers

In 1963, at the peak of the pre-Olympics construction boom, Kajima recorded the largest annual order value of any construction company in the world. In that year, Kiyoshi Muto, a former Tokyo University professor who developed the theory of flexible building structures, became a vice president of the Company. In 1965, Kajima and its partners gathered the best of contemporary earthquake-resistance and construction technologies to undertake the creation of Japan's first ultrahigh-rise building, the Kasumigaseki Building. In 1968, the 36-story building was completed, ending the myth that such buildings were unsuitable for Japan and other earthquake-prone regions. Kajima was a leading participant in the ensuing rush to construct skyscrapers in Japan.

The Komazawa Gymnasium

The Komazawa Gymnasium has 7,923m² of floor space and features an octagonal roof and a sunken garden. It was used as the venue for Olympic wrestling events (1965-1968).

The Kasumigaseki Building

A 36-story building with 153,223m² of floor space, the Kasumigaseki Building became a symbol of Japan's economic resurgence in the postwar era(1965-1968).

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