Little Bits of History

Tokyo Tower

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 23, 2011

Tokyo Tower

December 23, 1958: Tokyo Tower is dedicated. Still standing, it is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It stands 1,091 feet tall and at the time of its construction, it was the tallest artificial structure in Japan. It has since been superseded by the Tokyo Sky Tree which is not yet completed and open to the public. This newer structure, also a tower, is already it’s full height of 2,080 feet high and is scheduled to open in February of next year.

Japan’s public broadcasting station began television service in 1953. Private broadcasting soon followed and a transmission tower was needed. Also, at the end of World War II, Japan was looking for a monument to inspire national pride. The plan at the time was to build something taller than the Empire State Building, which was then the tallest building in the world. However, the plan fell through and something else was needed. The tower that was built instead was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The tower needed to not only withstand earthquakes, but also the winds of typhoons or hurricanes.

In June 1957, ground was broken for the new construction project. At least 400 workers were on the project each day during the building phase. The tower is made of steel and one-third of it was scrap metal taken from US tanks damaged during the Korean War. On October 14, when the 90-meter antenna was added to the top of the tower, it was the tallest self-supporting structure in the world. It remained the tallest artificial structure in Japan until 2010. Construction costs were $8.4 million. The tower is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety requirements.

The tower still has antennae used for TV and radio, which were first added in 1961. However, it was inadequate for digital transmissions and so the newer tower was needed. Today, the tower’s main source of revenue is tourism as well as leasing the antennae. Under the tower is a four-story building called FootTown with museums, restaurants, and shops. There are two observation decks, one at 490 feet and the other smaller one at 820 feet. Since it opened on this day, over 150 million people have come to visit.

“A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.” – William Lyon Phelps

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” – Saint Augustine

“My father was always anxious to give pleasure to his children. Accordingly, he took me one day, as a special treat, to the top of the grand old tower, to see the chimes played.” – James Nasmyth

“When the ivy has found its tower, when the delicate creeper has found its strong wall, we know how the parasite plants grow and prosper.” – Anthony Trollope

Also on this day:

Jolly Old Elf – In 1823, Twas the Night Before Christmas was first published.
Survivor, The Real Story – In 1972, the Andes flight disaster finally comes to an end.

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One Response

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  1. tokyo5 said, on January 3, 2012 at 6:40 am

    December 23rd is also the birthday of the Emperor of Japan…and as such, is a public holiday here.

    Also…did you know Tokyo has a new tower? Called the “Tokyo Sky Tree”.

    I wrote a post comparing the two Tokyo towers:

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