Yamashita Foreign Residence: An urban design by a foreign engineer. Buildings and roads of the late Edo and Meiji periods are excavated.

Yamashita foreign residence site (from the northwest)
The street layout from the foreign residence period is still followed almost exactly. Lot No. 54 is in the foreground, with No. 55 to the back. Honchō street on the right was the main thoroughfare of the day, and has not changed much since then. To the right and back further is Chinatown. In recent years, with development including the opening of the Minato Mirai subway line, the area has become increasingly dominated by high-rise buildings.

Map of the excavated areas
The area of investigation corresponds with lots Nos. 48, and 53 ∼ 55 in the land division of the day. The architecture changed from the end of the Edo period, as timber-frame buildings set on foundations of natural river stones were replaced with structures of brick or quarried stone. In the end, nearly all the buildings were demolished by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Excavated features follow the land divisions of the day, revealing orderly arranged conditions.

No. 54 The trading house of a German firm (C. Illies and Co.) completed in 1907, and artifacts in situ. The architectural style was the current fashion in Germany, but it collapsed completely in the Great Kanto Earthquake. Tiles and glass are found mixed in with bricks from the building. (Courtesy Museum of Yokohama Urban History)

No. 55
The location of the British trading house of Cocking Trading Company. In addition to the Meiji period brick foundation, an older building which stood on foundation stones was found, thought to date from the end of the Edo period. The brick foundation was built in step-like fashion to support a massive load. An electric generator and a menthol processing plant also stood at the Cocking Trading Company, and a water tank and other items thought to be related to these facilities were found in the excavation.

No. 48
British trading house (the former Morrison's Export Company), designated by Kanagawa prefecture as an important cultural property. Built in 1883. Buildings of the same size lined up at intervals are shown in a copper engraving, and they are thought to have been shops.

No. 48 A cellar made of quarried stone at a British trading house. The east wall (at left) had a fireplace built with heat-resistant bricks. Entrances were at two spots, on the south side (stairway at right) and east side. It is an imposing cellar made with cut stones of volcanic tuff and other materials.

German tiles (square)
Manufactured ca 1905.
Size: 17.0 cm square;
thickness: 1.8 cm.
Tile made by Villeroy•Boch of Germany (a ceramics manufacturer founded in 1748), recovered from lot No. 54. Made of pressed colored clay, the pattern does not fade with wear, and is well suited for floor use. The item at top left is 1 of a set of 4 making a main gothic design, and the item at upper right is used for edging. The item at lower right with the fine grooves is thought to have been used in the bath and other wet areas, and has a design in fin de siecle art nouveau style.

German tiles (hexagonal)
Manufactured ca 1905.
Size: 17.0 cm across;
thickness: 1.5 cm.
Recovered intact as laid at lot No. 54 on the trading house floor, Villeroy•Boch manufacture. White and red tiles were used to make a two-tone mosaic.

Meiji/Taishō, nineteenth ∼ twentieth centuries.
Height: 6.0 cm;
length: 23.5 cm; width: 11.0 cm.
Fire-resistant bricks used in the fireplace of the stone cellar at lot No. 48. Firebricks are also known as white bricks, and made with fireclay that can resist high temperatures. They are stamped "YOKOHAMA," which is thought to show the place of manufacture.

Ramune bottle
End of Edo ∼ Meiji, latter nineteenth ∼ early twentieth centuries.
Height: 24.0 cm;
mouth diameter: 2.3 cm; width: 7.3 cm.
From the green color and long round shape, this bottle for the carbonated soft drink Ramune was evidently called "cucumber bottle." The unique shape was for withstanding the pressure of the carbonation, and was placed in a horizontal position to prevent the cork stopper from drying out.

Glazed stoneware jar
End of Edo ∼ Meiji, latter nineteenth ∼ early twentieth centuries.
Height: 11.8 cm;
mouth diameter: 5.5 cm; width: 8.1 cm.
Various sizes were recovered such as jam jars and mustard jars, but this is a relatively small example, bearing the stamp of a British firm, Doulton & Co.

Earthenware pipe
End of Edo ∼ Meiji, latter nineteenth ∼ early twentieth centuries.
Length: 67.5 cm;
mouth diameter: 28.5 cm; width: 20.5 cm.
Part of the sewage pipe of Surugachō street, with this piece used for a point of confluence. It is thought to belong to the piping which British engineer R. H. Brunton had installed during the early years of Meiji. It was buried encased in a layer of yellow clay.

Surugachō street sewage pipe
This is thought to be the oldest sewage pipe, completed by 1871, and has a gradual incline down toward the back of the photo. Black earthenware piping of tile clay was used, but was later improved by laying brown earthenware pipe made in Tokoname (Aichi prefecture) along nearly the same route. Sewage lines converged at T-junctions (seen in the foreground), collecting effluence from the separate trading houses.

Yamashita Foreign Residence Site, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Demolished by the Great Kanto Earthquake

The port of Yokohama opened in 1859 based on the Ansei Five-Power Treaties, accompanied by the construction of foreign residences in the Yamashita and Yamate districts.

The Yamashita district, corresponding to the area north of Kannai station on the modern JR Negishi line, was provided with a regular layout of city streets aligned with the wharves, where numerous foreign trading houses standing side by side brimmed with the atmosphere of alien lands.

But nearly all of the buildings in this district were demolished by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. During a subsequent renewal project a re-division of the district was carried out, and a city street layout close to that of today took shape.

Foreign trading houses take form

In the foreign residential district were many foreign trading firms and other agents who played a significant role in Japan's modernization.

At first these buildings were wooden structures using natural river stones for their foundations, but after a severe conflagration in 1866 they changed over to buildings of brick and quarried stone.

Lot No. 48 • British trading house.
In 1883, the British trading firm Morrison's Export Company put up a building here. This firm began with the export of tea, and later on also imported dynamite which was vital in the mining industry.

The second story of the building was damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and while subsequently reduced in scale as a single-story structure, it remained in use with a change in ownership. One portion has miraculously avoided demolition until the present day, and stands in the same form in a corner of the lot, preserved as an important cultural property designated by the prefecture.

Lot No. 54 • German trading house.
This was owned by L. Kniffler and Company, a German firm established in 1863 as the first foreign trading operation in Japan, but in 1880 it changed its name to C. Illies and Company and remained at this location until 1934, conducting trade focusing on England. The firm continues to do business today.

The company building completed in 1907 was the design of German architect George de Lalande, in a style that was in fashion in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But even this imposing brick building was demolished in the Great Kanto Earthquake.

Lot No. 55 • British trading house.
Operated from 1885 ∼ 1896 by the Cocking Trading Company, a British firm. In addition to trading, Samuel Cocking was involved in a number of enterprises including the production and supply of electricity and a menthol processing plant. He also owned land at Enoshima in Kanagawa, where he a built botanical garden with greenhouses. At present the Samuel Cocking Garden located there is undergoing redevelopment.

Surugachō street

Streets within the residential district were named in 1875 when the land development project was completed. Surugachō street paralleled Honchō street running along the shore. But in the re-division of the district carried out after the Great Kanto Earthquake it was not restored, going out of existence after just 48 years. In the excavation, furnishings that accompany city streets were found, such as roadside gutters lined with cut stone, water drains, iron piping and sewage pipes.

Artifacts showing the customs of various countries

Among the recovered artifacts were a variety of items including Western and Japanese glazed stoneware, glass objects, bricks, and tiles. British-made tiles were found at the remains of British trading houses and German-made ones at the locations of German firms, showing the differences in the customs of various countries. Also, Western tableware, wine bottles and clay pipes are seen, showing that Western lifestyles and culture were being directly brought in.

The Yokohama foreign settlement district was designed by the British engineer Richard Henry Brunton. This valuable site gives a direct view in cross-section of the structure of the modern city of Yokohama as it developed from its opening as a port into an international city.

Through the excavation here it has been possible to obtain details, difficult to grasp through documents and old photographs, about changes in land use, the spreading extent of the settlement, and daily life in the trading houses from the end of the Edo through the Meiji and Taishō periods. (Amano Ken'ichi)