Dairen 大連, or Japanese Dalian

Former Government Offices in the Japanese Era, sitting just off Zhongshan Square.  Today it is the Department of Transport.

Former Government Offices in the Japanese Era, sitting just off Zhongshan Square. Today it is the Department of Transport. Buildings with similar Imperial Japanese styles exist in Seoul and in Tokyo.

In the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese War in 1907, Russia surrendered the city of Dalny to the Japanese, who renamed it Dairen, and would rule it for the next 38 years.

The city of Dalian today still retains significant vestiges of its Japanese past, in terms of the urban planning of the city beyond Nicholas Square (today’s Zhongshan Square) and in terms of the hundreds of colonial-era buildings that still stand – many of these, particularly the more monumental ones, look ostensibly European in architectural style, but are actually examples of Imperial Japanese architecture.

Rather understandably, the Dalian authorities have gone to great lengths to emphasise the city’s Russian past over its Japanese one, even if the latter is still palpably present today. As such, I could find out very little about many of the buildings that are featured in this gallery.

This was true even of the most imposing monumental Government buildings standing on today People’s Square – the square and edifices were built by the Japanese as the centre of the colonial government in the city, as opposed to Nicholas Square, which remained its commercial heart.

That said, the city is remarkably pleasant to stroll in – by Chinese standards at least.

What is surprising is just how Japanese the city still looks!  Bits of the city remind one of suburbs in Kyoto or Fukuoka, with their streets lined with jacaranda trees, and their quaint little Japanese-style shopfronts and residences.  There are even two shinto temples that still remain near the city centre, albeit converted into theatres.

The architectural styles and urban planning principles would also be replicated in Keijo, the other showpiece city of Japanese Imperialism in Korea, more commonly known today as Seoul.

But to say more would be jumping the gun.

Today's Municipal Government building on People's Square was built in the 1930s by the Japanese.

Today’s Municipal Government building on People’s Square was built in the 1930s by the Japanese.

Today's Police Headquarters on People's Square was built by the Japanese too, in the 1930s.

Today’s Police Headquarters on People’s Square was built by the Japanese too, in the 1930s.

Japanese-style architecture on Government offices in the vicinity of People's Square.

Japanese-style architecture on Government offices in the vicinity of People’s Square.

More Japanese-era Government offices in the vicinity of People's Square.

More Japanese-era Government offices in the vicinity of People’s Square.

Dairen City Hall, on Nicholas Square is an iconic piece of Japanese architecture in the city.

Dairen City Hall, on Nicholas Square is an iconic piece of Japanese architecture in the city.

The bridge leading towards Russian Street channels Nihonbashi in Tokyo.

The bridge leading towards Russian Street channels Nihonbashi in Tokyo.

Zhongshan Hospital was also built in the Japanese era.

Zhongshan Hospital was also built in the Japanese era.

Commercial buildings erected in the Japanese era - these are off Zhongshan Square.

Commercial buildings erected in the Japanese era – these are off Zhongshan Square.

Commercial Building in the vicinity of the Dalian Train Station.

Commercial Building in the vicinity of the Dalian Train Station.

More Japanese-era commercial buildings.

More Japanese-era commercial buildings.

Commercial buildings.

Commercial buildings.

Commercial building.

Commercial building.

The Dairen Train Station was actually built in the Russian era in 1903.

The Dairen Train Station was actually built in the Russian era in 1903.

Small businesses, juxtaposed against towering skyscrapers.

Small businesses, juxtaposed against towering skyscrapers.

Japanese style shopfronts.

Japanese style shopfronts.

Japanese style shopfronts.

Japanese style shopfronts.

Commercial buildings

Commercial buildings

Commercial buildings

Commercial buildings

Commercial Buildings

Commercial Buildings

Dairen's former Shinto Temple is today's Dalian Peking opera Theatre.

Dairen’s former Shinto Temple is today’s Dalian Peking opera Theatre.

Another Shinto temple with a typical Japanese style pagoda.

Another Shinto temple with a typical Japanese style pagoda.

Japanese-style residence in the vicinity of the shinto shrines.

Japanese-style residence in the vicinity of the shinto shrines.

Japanese era boys' school campus.

Japanese era boys’ school campus.

A Japanese style turret, campus of the Boys School.

A Japanese style turret, campus of the Boys School.

The Dairen tram started operations in 1909 and is still going today.  These cars date from the 1930s.

The Dairen tram started operations in 1909 and is still going today. These cars date from the 1930s.

 

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About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, China, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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