Have you ever heard of "TAIGA DRAMA" before? It's a drama series broadcast in prime-time on Sunday over the period of one year by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation or NHK. Famous historical figures are usually the lead role. In 2015, the lead role will be the younger sister of a well-known thinker from the late Edo Period, Shoin Yoshida (1830-59). Her name is Fumi (1843-1921), who later became the second wife of Motohiko Katori. (His first wife died in 1881.) Motohiko Katori is also known as the governor who moved Gunma's prefectural capital from Takasaki to Maebashi.
Who will be the lead role in NHK's TAIGA DRAMA is the topic of great interest for every municipality of Japan. (The same thing goes with NHK's half-year drama series in the morning.) These locations get media attention once they become either the setting of the drama or the birthplace of the original character. Tourists will flock to the setting, and economy of the municipality will boom. To make the most of this effect, both the Gunma prefectural government and the city of Maebashi are busy promoting the drama.
As the guest house, the imperial family members stayed at Rinko-kaku when they visited Gunma: the Emperor Meiji in 1893, Emperor Taisho in 1902 and 1908, respectively. On the other hand, when Maebashi City Hall building was damaged during World War II, Rinko-kaku was used as the interim city hall from 1945 to 1954.
The tea-ceremony house was also built in 1884. When Katori wanted to build the main building, local residents volunteered to help, both in tangible and intangible ways. Moved by their good intentions and generous contributions, Katori took the initiative to call for donations among the staff of prefectural government office and built it and then donated it to the City of Maebashi.
The annex was built in 1910 as a VIP Hall. On the upper floor of the two-story annex, there is a ballroom equipped with a stage as big as 150 tatami mats. Thirty tall cedar trees from Annaka were brought in to lift the large roof, and the trees still line up beautifully today just as they did 130 years ago.
The main building is designated as the prefectural important cultural property. The annex and the tea-ceremony house are designated as the Maebashi City important cultural property. Today, Rinko-kaku has the appearance of its long history after surviving the war and four different eras of Meiji, Taisho, Showa, and Heisei.
For your information, Rinko-kaku is available for use for cultural activities. Contact the Cultural Property Protection Section of the Maebashi City Hall at 027-280-6611 or FAX at 027-231-5792.
By the way, the 2016 TAIGA DRAMA lead role is Yukimura Sanada (1567-1570), who is very popular among Japanese people young and old alike. There were more than one Sanada Clan in the feudal age, and one of them had its territory in the Numata area of Gunma. So, you see a lot of SANADA banners already in the area.
Location: 15 3-chome, Ote-machi, Maebashi MAP
Closed on Mondays, Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday, and Dec. 29-Jan. 3
Please call for unscheduled holiday before your visit.