Tazaemon Yamamura House Ashiya, 1918
This summer villa for a well-to-do sake brewer, Tazaemon Yamamura, was not completed until six years after the initial designs. Yamamura's son-in-law was Niro Hoshijima, a former college classmate of Arata Endo's.
Arata assumed responsibility for the project on Wright's departure from Japan in 1922, the second time he shared design credit with his master.
Set into a hilltop in Ashiya, overlooking Kobe Port in western Japan, the villa demonstrates Wright's genius for spatial composition: although it has four levels, none is taller than two stories. By stepping the house into the hill, Wright took advantage of the extraordinary views the site afforded. The exterior evokes Wright's Los Angeles houses, but its decorative blocks are of oya tuff, not concrete.
After the Yodogawa Steel Works acquired the home in 1974, it became the first Taisho Era building in Japan to be named an Important Cultural Property. The Yodoko Guest House is open to the public on designated days. (KS)