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Imperial Hotel and Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Celebrate Centennial of Wright’s Imperial Hotel (1923-2023)

TOKYO and CHICAGO, Illinois

Imperial Hotel, Ltd. and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust celebrated on July 18 the 100th anniversary of Wright's 1923 Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, with a private dedication of cherry trees planted in the courtyard of Frank Lloyd Wright's Frederick C. Robie House, Chicago, a UNESCO World Heritage site. An inscription plaque reads: "These cherry trees celebrate 100 years of our shared cultural heritage. The Wright Imperial Hotel Centennial 1923-2023. Imperial Hotel, Ltd., Tokyo, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, Chicago."

Imperial Hotel's logo:

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust's logo:

His Excellency Mr. Rahm Emanuel, United States Ambassador to Japan and former Mayor of Chicago, sent a message to mark the occasion. "One of Chicago's chief cultural contributions worldwide is architecture. I was proud to support the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and Robie House as Chicago's first UNESCO World Heritage site. Wright's legacy is captured in the brilliance of what he built, but also in the ability to inspire ingenuity that transcended countries, namely the United States and Japan. Given Frank Lloyd Wright's great gift to bridge two cultures, two nations, and two peoples, it's fitting that the Imperial Hotel and Frank Lloyd Wright Trust celebrate the centennial of Wright's Imperial at Robie House."

Ms. Celeste Adams, Trust President, stated, "Wright's lifelong fascination with Japanese art and culture began in Chicago where he first encountered Japanese architecture at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park, a mile from the site of Robie House."

The Japan pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition was inspired by the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in, a Buddhist temple in Uji near Kyoto. In 1905, Wright traveled outside the U.S. for the first time, spending three months in Japan. In 1908, Wright received the commission for Robie House, completed in 1910.

While several of his prior buildings are influenced by Japanese architecture, Robie House has the most striking affinity, often observed by Japanese visitors. During 1913, a conversation began between Frank Lloyd Wright and Aisaku Hayashi, Manager of the Imperial Hotel. On March 17, 1916, Wright formally accepted the commission for a modern hotel to replace the original Imperial Hotel, which had opened in 1890.

Wright lived in Japan intermittently during the design and construction of the Imperial Hotel, which opened on September 1, 1923, the day of the Great Kanto Earthquake. The Imperial Hotel survived, and Wright considered it his masterpiece. After the Imperial Hotel project, Wright never again returned to Japan, but the 30-year span from his 1893 encounter with Japanese architecture in Chicago to the 1923 opening of the Imperial Hotel engendered lasting friendships and professional relationships spanning generations.

Wright's Imperial became a center for social and cross-cultural exchange. In this spirit, Imperial Hotel, Ltd. and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust celebrate the power of architecture and the value of cultural heritage as a foundation for enduring international friendship.

Mr. Hideya Sadayasu, President of Imperial Hotel, Ltd., stated, "This year, the Imperial Hotel honors the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. We are pleased to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wright's Imperial at the iconic Robie House in Chicago, the city where Wright established his reputation and home to a majority of his extant works. We hope that the cherry trees we planted with the Trust will grow for many years to come, in honor of Wright's achievements in Japan and the United States."

About Imperial Hotel, Ltd.
The Imperial Hotel opened in 1890, serving as Japan's guesthouse. It was founded by Japanese aristocracy on the same site it occupies today and began as a venue to receive an increasing number of foreign dignitaries visiting Japan in the Meiji Period (1868-1912). For its range of classical Japanese hospitality, it is the traditional favorite of visiting VIPs and travelers from abroad traveling through the Japanese capital. The Imperial Hotel operates three hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kamikochi, and will open another hotel in Gion, Kyoto, in 2026. In addition, the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, plans to rebuild its tower building from 2024 to 2030, and its current main building from 2031 to 2036.

Imperial Hotel's official website:

About Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
Founded in 1974, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust ( ) is an independent, charitable not-for-profit organization that operates at four Wright-designed sites.

The vision of the Trust is: To preserve the universal value of the arts for all people.

The mission of the Trust is: To engage, educate and inspire the public through interpretation of Frank Lloyd Wright's design legacy and preservation of his original sites for future generations.

The Trust operates public tours and programs at four Chicago area historic sites: Wright's Home and Studio (1889-1909) and Unity Temple (1905-08) in Oak Park; the Frederick C. Robie House (1908-10) located on the campus of University of Chicago in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood; and the Rookery Light Court (1905-07) in the Chicago Loop.

– Photos
Inscription Plaque Close-up:
Inscription Plaque:
Robie House Corner:

Robie House Courtyard:

Robie House from 58th Street:

Robie House Symmetry:

– About Frederick C. Robie House Photography and Credits, please visit:

Source: Imperial Hotel, Ltd., Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Source: Imperial Hotel, Ltd., Frank Lloyd Wright Trust