Kobe Friendship Bell - Seattle, WA, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 47° 37.411 W 122° 21.129
10T E 548677 N 5274660
Quick Description: The Kobe Friendship Bell is located in a small temple pagoda near the Intiman Playhouse on the Seattle Center grounds in Seattle, Washington, USA. It was a gift to Seattle from the City of Kobe, Japan, for the 1962 World’s Fair.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 7/17/2010 8:27:46 AM
Waymark Code: WM996R
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
Views: 22

Long Description:
From the Seattle.gov website:

The Kobe Bell was given to Seattle in 1962 by its first sister city, Kobe, Japan, as a symbol of friendship between the two cities. In the mid-1950s, memories of the Second World War remained fresh, and a legacy of bitterness permeated relations between the United States and Japan. In the midst of this international climate, President Dwight D. Eisenhower urged the U.S. Information Service to promote people-to-people programs between America and the rest of the world, including recent enemies and traditional friends. Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton accepted the challenge and appointed a study committee in 1956, which included former Seattle Mayor William F. Devin. Devin had already established friendly ties with Dr. Chujiro Haraguchi, the mayor of Kobe, and knew the Japanese city to be a great seaport with a distinguished university. With backgrounds in education, shipping, and the arts, the committee members decided that Kobe was the logical choice for Seattle’s first sister city relationship. Mayor Haraguchi agreed, and on October 7, 1957, politicians from both cities establish formal ties, beginning more than forty years of gift exchanges, student exchanges, and business exchanges, such as trade fairs. However, it took several years before the citizens of Seattle and Kobe became better acquainted with each other. In Seattle, the Kobe-Seattle Sister City Affiliation Committee worked to foster greater friendship and understanding. To this end, the committee organized the gift of a totem pole carved on site near the Kobe City Hall by a Native American. When plans were announced for the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition, Kobe decided to reciprocate with a gift for the fair grounds. In late March of 1962, ground was broken on a site south of the Playhouse for a Japanese temple-bell tower. A one-ton Friendship Bell would be housed in a 15-foot-high building of Japanese cypress designed by Dr. Shusa Noji, an architecture professor at Kobe University. A week after the groundbreaking ceremony, the bell and the tower arrived aboard the Japanese freighter Yamaharu Maru, ready for installation upon the arrival of Hatsune Nakagawa, architect and chief of Kobe’s building and repair section. Plans called for the dedication of the bell, paid in part by donations from Kobe schoolchildren, on May 16, 1962, Kobe Day at the fair. When the appointed day arrived, the mayors of both cities took turns ringing the bell, which had been blessed and purified in a Japanese Shinto religious ceremony by the Reverend Fumio Matsui, pastor of the Konkoyo Church of Seattle. After the conclusion of the fair in October 1962, the bell remained as a symbol of the friendship and goodwill between the people of the United States and Japan, as inscribed on the bell. Since the selection of Kobe as the first Sister City in 1957, Seattle has established sister city relations with twenty other cities, making it the second largest sister city program in the United States. The Kobe Bell is significant for its design and for its associations with the city’s early efforts in international relations and with the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition.


Set on a concrete pad, this small temple pagoda is located in an attractively landscaped area south of the Intiman Playhouse on the Seattle Center grounds. The structure features a rectangular plan and a traditional wood frame. The round corner columns have square posts on either side, which are all connected by interlocking plates and sills. Horizontal braces at the midlevel provide additional support. The distinctive flared gable roof with bracketed eaves rests on interlocking wood beams. Carved drop pendants adorn the recessed gable ends, while a decorative copper piece lines the gable peak. The underside of the roof has recessed wooden panels. The recessed square at center contains the large hook supporting the cone-shaped bell with dragons around the base. Above this base, the upper panels have inscriptions in English and Japanese alternating with stylized figures playing instruments. The uppermost portion is covered with small knobs. Dated April 21, 1962, the inscription on the bell reads: "Presented by the People of Kobe to the People of Seattle as a Symbol of Friendship. May this Bell Ring Forever Signifying Friendship and Goodwill Between the Nations of the United States of America and Japan." This structure is well maintained with excellent physical integrity.

Original Name of Structure (during fair): Kobe Friendship Bell

Current Name of Structure: Kobe Friendship Bell

Architect/Designer: Dr. Shusa Noji

Fair Name: Century 21 Exposition

Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Year of Fair: 1962

Theme of Fair: Science

Website Proof: [Web Link]

Website Reference: Not listed

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