Former Wakimachi Community Centre


(Wakimachi = Waki Town)
Although no longer there, there used to be a building called Wakimachi Community Centre in Mima City, Tokushima Prefecture.
Google Street View shows its existence in 2014, but by 2021 there is no building and it is a parking lot.
(Street View, 2014)

According to the Mima Municipality’s newsletter, the community centre was closed in March 2017, so it was probably demolished during 2017.

One website states that the building was originally the office of the Japan Monopoly Corporation.
However, from my research, I don’t think the building belonged to the Monopoly Corporation.

This map is from the 'History of Wakimachi’ published in 1961.

It shows that the monopoly is located at the position indicated by the blue arrow. The building in the street view above is in the position indicated by the red arrow, so the location is different.

The 'History of Wakimachi’ also describes the government offices in the town. (names as of 1961).
The 'Monopoly Corporation’ written on the map was officially the 'Wakimachi Branch Office of Japan Monopoly Corporation’. The site was about 8,000 square meters and the main office building was a one-storey building with a floor space of 257 square meters. There was also a one-story warehouse of 33 square meters and apparently 10 other buildings.

The Wakimachi Branch Office was established in 1912. When it was first established, it was called the Wakimachi Temporary Leaf Tobacco Handling Office, belonging to the Ikeda Branch of Monopoly Corporation, and the building was in a different location.
In 1914, it was upgraded from a temporary handling office to a branch office.
Later, in 1928, a new building was constructed at the location indicated by the blue arrow on the map.
The old Wakimachi Community Centre is a two-story building, so the fact that the main building of the monopoly is a single-story building does not fit the story. I think that the Wakimachi Community Centre may not have been the former monopoly corporation after all.

The 'History of Wakimachi’ contains 40 pages of photographs at the beginning of the book. When I checked, I found a familiar building on the page. This is it. It is the building of the Wakimachi Community Centre.

The windows have been replaced with aluminium sashes, the porch columns and roof have been slightly altered and there is more pipework on the walls, but the rest of the building is almost exactly as it was. The front door does not appear to have been changed, and the handrail (?) on the second-floor window is the same. The window frame to the left of the front door is the same as it was in the past. 
The caption of the photo says the building is ' the annex of the prefectural office, including Mima Finance Office and others’.

The text says that in 1961 the building was called as the 'Annex of the Tokushima Prefectural Office’.
It seems to have housed eight offices, including the Mima Finance Office, Mima Welfare Office and Mima Forestry Office.
The building was originally completed in 1943 as the Mima Local Office Building.

So I think that, the Wakimachi Community Centre is not the former Japan Monopoly Corporation, but the 'former Mima Local Office’ is correct.

Please look at the map above again. The red arrow is marked (4) and the margin of the map (outside the image) shows that this is the 'Annex of the Prefectural Office’. This is consistent with the building in the photo and street view. 
This former Mima Local Office must have later become the Wakimachi Community Centre.

To add, in 1961, the community centre was located at position (5) on the map. That building was originally the building of the county office, built around 1887. Then it was used by the prefecture after the abolition of the county office, and became the local police station in 1948, but in 1951 the local police was abolished. Then the building was used as a community centre.

I couldn’t find out when the community centre moved to the former local office, but the community centre, which used the county office building, was extensively reconstructed in 1953. So I guess it was used as a community centre for a long time afterwards.

The photos of the community centre and monopoly corporation were also included in the 'History of Wakimachi’, so I will quote from these as well.

The place where the community centre was located in this photo seems to be vacant now, but from the aerial photo, it appears that the building was still there in 2009. However, it is not clear until whether it was in use or not.

The monopoly corporation building was demolished and sports facilities, such as a martial arts hall and tennis courts, appear to have been built on the site. In 2008, the Mima City Council discussed the use of the former monopoly corporation site.

Finally, the following is a summary of the history of the former Wakimachi Community Centre building, as far as can be ascertained, although some of the dates are not known.

1943: The building was constructed as the Mima Local Office.
1947: The office continued to exist as a local office after the war under the Local Autonomy Law.
1956: The prefectural assembly votes to abolish the local office, and from April the Mima Finance Office, Mima Welfare Office, Wakimachi Arable Land Office and Mima Forestry Office began operations as Tokushima Prefecture’s local government offices.
Until 1961, four more offices were started working.
    (History unknown thereafter).
?: Became Wakimachi Community Centre.
March 2017: Wakimachi Community Centre closed. The building was demolished afterwards. 

“Mima County Local History" (Edited by Ransui Kasai / Mima County Board of Education / 1957).
“History of Wakimachi" (Edited by Kasai Ransui / History of Wakimachi editorial committee / 1961).

Shikoku area

Posted by Sakyo K.