Showa-era Schoolhouses To Be Exhibited at 2025 Osaka Expo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The former Nakade branch of Hosomi Elementary School in Kyoto Prefecture

Two schoolhouses built in the Showa era (1926-89) in Kyoto and Nara prefectures will be exhibited at the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, according to the Japan Association for the International Exposition, which manages the Expo.

The wooden buildings will be moved to the venue in Osaka, where the world’s cutting-edge technologies will be showcased.

The structures will be used as part of the “Inochi no Akashi” (“Embracing Lives”) pavilion that is being produced by film director Naomi Kawase.

It is one of the eight pavilions that embody the Expo’s main theme of “The Brilliance of Life” and is designed to conjure an image of a movie theater in a forest. The design aims to show the buildings “as if they have been there for a long time” as visitors pass through the woods.

Of the two schoolhouses, the one-story building that used to be the Nakade branch of Hosomi Elementary School in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, was built in 1930. It has 2 classrooms and a small gymnasium. It had been used as an elementary school until 2002, when the school was integrated into the main school.

Kawase visited the schoolhouse in June and praised it, saying, “It gave me a sense of nostalgia, as if I had already known this place for a long time, despite the fact that it was my first visit.”

Upon request from the association, the Fukuchiyama city government, which owns the building, agreed to transfer it free of charge for the Expo.

Kawase also visited the former Oritachi Junior High School, which was built in 1952 in Totsukawa, Nara Prefecture. The village, which owns the two-story building, also agreed to transfer the building.

According to the association, the two schoolhouses will be dismantled in April or later and transported to Yumeshima, an artificial island at the Expo site, in Konohana Ward, Osaka City.

“I’m proud that so many people will be able to see the schoolhouse at the Expo and that the memories of the school will be passed on to future generations,” said the head of a local community association in Fukuchiyama who attended the Nakade branch of Hosomi Elementary School as a student.

Kawase said: “I hope to revive the buildings as architecture with new value.”