4. Chase 1/4

It is still a hot day in mid-September.
In the afternoon, Goroji Suga, Eriko Fukami, Ryohei Tsubune and Mutsumi Iwaida visited the head office of Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei Inc. (MJS), a construction company, at Tokyo-Ohtemachi. Midori Yamabe was inconvenient.

Compared with Mutsumi's refreshing clothes, Eriko's two-piece suit is conservative, which doesn't match her image of a famous woman painter. Is it because of the visiting purpose or of her attention to Suga? Not understanding it, Tsubune tilted his head.
But concerning the looks of a middle-aged woman with sorrow and the dimples on her face, she can never hide them.

They are led to the meeting room. The picture of Pieter Bruegel is put on the wall. Eriko passes it smiling, while Tsubune stops and gazes at it. He is wondering whether it is a wedding ceremony at some village or a flea market. There are many people and animals in the picture.
Bruegel was a painter and printmaker of the Netherlands in 16th century. His peculiar depiction attracted Tsubune of a self-proclaimed poor picture sense.
Suga payed attention to the picture meaningfully too, leaving his important stick to a staff.

In the meeting room, the screen is prepared just before the white board, and the rectangular table is set straight toward it.
The four visitors sit on one side. Tsubune takes the laptop out of his bag and arranges the projection onto the screen.
On another side sits Mr. Kitani, General Manager, and two staffs of MJS, and two other staffs from Takenaka Corporation.
Each staff of both companies brings the documents. Takenaka was the constructor of the original Kanematsu Auditorium, so its staffs were requested to attend the meeting.

Kitani faces Suga. Not tall but stout, he looks good with dark-brown two-piece suit and a well-matched tie. The hair, parted on the side, is silver gray. Seeming to notice Eriko, a painter, he gives her a slight bow.
The meeting began exactly at two o'clock.

Elderly Suga starts a discussion with words of thanks, saying,
"Our Kanematsu Auditorium, constructed by Takenaka Corporation 80 years ago, was wholly repaired by Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei this time and came back to life. In fact in recent years, it was a national important cultural asset in name only. The sooty appearance was as a matter of fact all right, but the inside was rather ugly. Thanks to this repair work, it was born again to a proud building in both name and reality."
The screen shows the whole view of the brand-new Kanematsu Auditorium from Tsubune's laptop. The calm appearance of reddish brown, at a glance, has nothing to do with the scorching heat that day.

"Concerning the monsters all of you know well....."
Suga reconfirms the purpose of this meeting: How were both the inside and outside of the auditorium actually?

The screen shows Tsubune's snapshots in which various monsters appear one after another.


Kitani, General Manager, frankly answers touching the tie.
"Yes, shabby everywhere, especially relieves of monsters. We devised to make them get closer to original figures, but we could not for many of them."
When the screen shows the inside of the hall, Suga wears much milder expression, and says nodding with Eriko.
"The nice concert hall came back to life, didn't it? I attended the opening concert of the new auditorium this May with Fukami-san. We experienced the real pleasure of live performance. I felt I might live a couple of years longer as if my bending back got shocked by a whip."
Eriko smiles with clear dimples on her face.
"A whip! You might," Kitani also smiles, and adds his explanation to the pictures on the screen.
"The auditorium was equipped with air-conditioning this time. The measure for its influence to the accoustics was difficult. The renewal of the stage requested much revision to us too, and the seats were too narrow, ... also the lights, floor ... Besides, the dressing room was just like a storeroom."
Suga nods to him again and again, while the attendants are listening earnestly.
"At any rate, aren't the monsters so numerous? Truly huge numbers both inside and outside."
Kitani comments big with a gesture. Tsubune is busy handling the screen, which is again full of various monsters.






They talked about these and those during the reconstruction for a while, and finally began to discuss the main subject. It is the inside story when the original Kanematsu Auditorium was built and the Four-God Statues on the facade.

Back to a little more than 80 years ago in Taisho 12 (1923), when the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred in September. Beginning from that year until Kanematsu Auditorium was completed, those several years are the critical period of their discussion. No matter how trivial, it would be better if anything became clear. But it is difficult. The important points in this meeting are :

Why and how did Dr. Chuta Itoh take on the design of Kanematsu Auditorium?
How was Takenaka Corporation selected as the constructor?
Why and how was the architecture done in Romanesque style and who decided it?
Who thought up the arrangement of the Four-God statues on the facade, and for what purpose?
Why especially is the inside of the auditorium full of monsters?

Passed on by Kitani, each staff of Mitsubishi and Takenaka explains in the order of the questions in the paper, ...
Around 80 years have passed since the completion. So decrepit. Therefore the large-scale repair was done until this spring this time.
They have only to depend on documents and hearsay because the people involved in the original construction are mostly not alive. But in spite of the possible documents of both companies they cannot find the exact answers.

Concerning the so-called Four-God statues, they did not have any more information than what the facility manager of Hitotsubashi University said in the main school building when Suga and the attendants visited the Kunitachi campus on the scorching day late this July. That is:

"The upper statue with two snakes winding round is the school badge Mercury, and the lower three statues in line are the Vermilion Bird, the White Tiger and the Azure Dragon."

The staffs say the same thing, and have no more information of clues hidden on the background.

However, the idea itself to consider these monsters as Four Gods can be said Suga's prejudice, so the search for the evidence may be irrelevant from the start.
The visitors hoped to have some clue at least of how and why the architecture was made in Romanesque style, but there was no such document there.

They took a coffee break. A rich aroma from their cups spread over the tense room.

4-1 Reading: 12'33"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 12:33
< 3. Begin to Search 3 4. Chase 2 >
4. Chase
1 2 3 4
Frontcover @  8. Birth of College
1. Old Cox  9. Great Earthquake
2. Monsters  10. To Musashino
3. Begin to Search  11. Okura Museum
4. Chase  12. Architect
5. Shibusawa  13. Romanesque
6. Dawn  14. Four God Statues
7. Shinyu Case  15. Then
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