14. Four-God Statues 1/3
The weather has been unstable. It would not be strange if the rain changed to the snow today on Saturday.
"Snow in November, ..."
Just getting up, Ryohei Tsubune looked down from the 11th floor of the condominium over the window to the large courtyard and murmured to himself. Dead trees are slightly vague here and there in the grass.
He is going to join the meeting with Goroji Suga and his friends at 3:00 pm at Towada, a soba restaurant in Asakusa. There he has to explain the details of the investigation related to Kanematsu Auditorium.

He got to the Asakusa Sushi-shop Street under the roofed arcade a little earlier. Closed the umbrella and entered the street.
Passing Towada, just on the right side, he walks forward, looks at the sign of vaudeville at a variety hall, and is fascinated by children's romping around in an amusement hall, ...
The street is not so busy as usual, probably because of the cold rain.
When entering Towada at an appropriate time, "Everybody is here," says a male staff wearing a traditional short coat with a towel around the forehead, directing the second floor.
Tsubune goes up the stairs wiping the clouded glasses. Six of them sit together around the table in a tatami room.
Goroji Suga is in the middle against the wall, surrounded by Eriko Fukami, Mari Nomizo, Mutsumi Iwaida, Midori Yamabe and Keizo Kawaji. The seat on another side of Suga seems to be for Tsubune.
Mutsumi invited Kawaji, whose thesis influenced the senior's investigation considerably. Tsubune gave his name and bowed to a senior at the university new to him.
Accompanied by Eriko, Mari is with flirtatious appearance wearing a beret. Her skirf is a Cambodian silk today, too. She bows to him pleasantly.

Suga is a regular guest of Towada. His usual liking here is to drink sake from a square wooden cup with the side dish of soba-miso.
The plump hostess about the age of 60 is famous for the Chief of Asakusa Lady Group, which is managing most of the festivals in Asakusa, like Samba Carnival, Jazz Festival, ... Her talk is friendly and interesting to listen to here in the restaurant, so some guests come over for this reason.

Thanks to the hostess, this big room is for Suga's members only, the discussion until 6:00 pm and after that their banquet.
"We are Seven Samurais, ladies and gentlemen. Let's talk a lot, and start the banquet when we get to the good place to leave off."
Suga jokes so, and the "discussion" starts.

Kawaji gives a slight bow to the senior, and talks to him.
"Mrs. Iwaida let me know well about your investigation."
He was a regular soccer player and a noted oarsman at a regatta among classes in his university days. He is over 60 of age and about 20 years Suga's junior, with the gray hair cropped closely.

Now, Suga asks all of them in a smile if they already read his make-believe story sent several days ago through, then begins to explain the aim of the meeting. He makes it sound as if he were an elderly master of rakugo on the stage.
"For a little over a half year since this spring, I have concentrated to investigate how Kanematsu Auditorium was constructed and why the strange Four-God Statues are decorated on the facade. Thanks a lot, Eriko-san and Tsubune-kun for accopmanying me all the way. Thanks all for each of your help. It has been wonderful everyday to me. I am such a happy senior of this age as monsters and ghosts made friends with me all through and my days in Meiji and Taisho period appeared to me clearly again. Though I intend to unveil the result soon, I would like to have your opinions and feelings here beforehand."

Tsubune, signaled by his senior, hands out the document integrated by himself, and starts the explanation.
"Senior Suga has been concerned with the Shishin (Four-God) Group of the alumni of the boat club for over a half century until now since he entered and graduated from our university. You all know that he himself played an active part as a cox during his school days."
He takes breaths a moment and continues.
"Mr. Suga was a board member of Josui-kai for 8 years, and during the days he was one of the responsible members edited the huge "The 100-Year History of The School."

The old senior is urging him forward against his talk like a flattery.
"There was a memorial concert of reconstruction at Kanematsu Auditorium this May, and my senior invited Ms. Fukami there. Painter Fukami-san had a special interest in the decorations in the hall. When she saw the relieves and sculptures making use of the intermission, they were full of monsters as she expected. And besides, all of the monsters were more fierce and grotesque, ..."
Eriko nods to the speaker.
"While listening to her, something came out to my senior."
Tsubune points to the several pictures on the table.
"They are the four relieved coats of arms on the facade. The upper one is the school badge familiar to us. Below it are Chinese comical animals lined side by side, each like a Chinese phoenix, a lion and a dragon. My senior has considered the four relieves mean the Four Gods of Gembu, Suzaku, Byakko and Seiryu as common knowledge since long time ago. They flashed into his mind."
All those present are fixing their eyes on the pictures.
"Until the day of the concert there my senior called the four relieves put together only as the Four-God Statues and considered it just the symbol of the school. He seems not to have poked into it any more. Also concerning the auditorium itself, up to what a lot of monsters are there, ..."

Tsubune goes on, looking at Eriko.
"Mr. Suga saw the relieves on the facade again with Ms. Fukami, and he realized he might have overlooked something important, so then decided to investigate it."
Suga is looking up at the ceiling with his arms crossed.
"Late July on the day of scorching heat, Mr. Suga, Eriko-san and I visited Kanematsu Auditorium to investigate it in detail. Thanks to the help of the Facility Department staff, we could closely examine all over the inside from up the second floor down to the basement as well as the facade and the walls all around outside."

After talking about dropping in at the main building and the library too, he shows the outline the Facility Manager explained at the main building.

1. Romanesque Style was popular in the construction style during 11th-12th century, which is inferior to Gothic Style after it. Many universities in Europe, the United States and Japan adapted the gorgeous and refined Gothic Style for their auditoriums.
2. Only Kanematsu Auditorium of Hitotsubashi University (then Tokyo Commercial College) was built in Romanesque Style in Japan, because it was designed by Chuta Itoh.
Dr. Itoh had peculiar emotion to monsters, which chose the architecture of Romanesque Style to this auditoium. He, in a sense, made lots of monsters of Chuta Original (his own works) infested inside in an attempt to explain everything logically.

"This is based on the theory of Mr. Nobutake Kaida, professor of Tokyo University and a famous architecture scholar. He says Romanesque Style was adapted to Kanematsu Auditorium in the ardent desire of Chuta Itoh to fix plenty of his monsters there."

Tsubune is now speaking fluently.
"Mutsumi-san and Midori-san joined us afterward and they collected the documents relating to our investigation. The thesis of Mr. Kawaji provided by Mutsumi-san, and the documents on Chuta Itoh mainly by Midori-san, ..."

The two junior ladies smile to him. Though they might not spend much time and effort on what they did, it surely became momentum for Suga's investigation.
"We continued the field survey and the search for possible documents during summer and autumn. The discussion with the construction people at Mitsubushi Jisho Sekkei, a repair-construction company, and the related documents at Shibusawa Museum, ... We also received various documents from the professors. Especially the document from professor Tsukioka was one of the clues to understand the days when the campus was moved to Kunitachi, ... Well, that's about all for how the investigation was done."
When Tsubune is about to pass the baton to Suga elderly for the time being, the elderly says, "I have nothing to add. So why don't you go ahead at a stretch?"
The temporary speaker drinks lukewarm tea in a gulp, pleased with his senior's words.

14-1 Reading: 15'32"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 15:32
<13. Romanesque 2 14. Four-God Statues 2 >
14. Four-God Statues
1 2 3
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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