LastUpDate: February 19, 2009

Hakata Culture vol.1

Strolling through Daimyo

Strolling through Daimyo(image)

I decided to write about the Daimyo district when I heard that this month’s issue would focus on Daimyo fashion. After all, I wrote about the Daimyo community for my master’s thesis, so I know a bit about the subject. Still, that was five years ago, in 2003. In those days, young people used to flock to the Daimyo district. So many people from throughout Kyushu were there on weekends it was as if they were holding a festival. In the five years since then, a lot of vacant lots have appeared as shops and buildings have closed their doors. It’s become so sad and deserted they’re going to have to do something to attract visitors.

The rents are sky-high in Tenjin, so younger people who wanted to open a shop did so in the much cheaper Daimyo. They operated very creative shops that attracted customers, with an appeal based on offering handmade accessories, secondhand clothing and sundry other items. The owners of those shops, the long-time residents of Daimyo, and the customers used to get together to clean the neighborhood and conduct crime prevention activities.

Then, on March 21, 2005, Daimyo and the neighboring Imaizumi were hard hit by the Fukuoka earthquake. That was the impetus which caused many older residents and shopkeepers involved with the community to leave. The district still had storefronts and houses that dated from the old Kuroda-han days because it was spared damage from bombing during the war. Such structures as the chimney and the storehouse from the Jokyu Soy Sauce Company founded in 1855 lent the district a distinctive Daimyo air. But the old houses and the Jokyu chimney collapsed during the earthquake. The people who love the area are pulling together and working hard, but the vacant lots and proliferating graffiti is sucking the energy out of the place.

Yet that’s only part of the story of today’s Daimyo. Recently, the Konya 2023 building project was launched with the participation of people from a wide range of sectors to remodel old apartment houses. The basic concept of the project is “Mixed-Use Occupancy Buildings of the Future”. They are striving to create a new value and culture, so if you are interested, please take the time to drop by.

 Kimiyo Sasaki

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  福岡市広報課長 佐々木 喜美代