The Oita Bank’s Akarengakan (Red Brick Building, the old head office) is a landmark of the downtown City of Oita, as well as a symbol of finance and economy. The architectural monument has watched over the modern history of Oita Prefecture including its culture, and it is listed as a Nationally Designated Tangible Cultural Property.
The construction started in 1910 as the head office of the former Nijusan Bank (the 23rd National Bank) and completed in 1913. It was designed by the Tatsuno-Kataoka Construction Office. Kingo Tatsuno was the pioneer of the architectural industry of Japan since Meiji era, and is well renowned for the design of Bank of Japan’s head office and Tokyo Station. His partner Yasushi Kataoka was also a famous architect, and later served as the president of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce.
The red brick tiles imported from the United Kingdom on the wall are wrapped around by the white granite, creating a great harmony. The windows in round, triangle, and square as well as the position of the entrance are just exquisite. The balance of the dome tower standing with a copper plate covering on the corner roof is also excellent. One of the classic architectures of the so-called “Tatsuno” style.
Into the Showa era, the Nijusan Bank merged with the Oita Bank and renamed itself the Oita Godo Bank. The building continued its function as a head office, but lost the interior structure in an air raid shortly before the end of the World War II. However, the outer walls kept standing firmly. Standing strong in the center of the ruined city where you could see the sea of Shinkawa from the Oita station at that time, it motivated many people for reconstruction.
Yonokichi Saiki, an Oita native, took charge of the restoration. He had been working for Tatsuno’s office as an architect in charge of the construction site, and had established Saiki Kensetsu. The restoration was completed in 1949. In 1953, the bank changed its trade name to the Oita Bank, and built its new head office in 1966 in another location. The building became Funai Kaikan, then became Akarenga Branch in the Heisei era.