Total building expenditure was several hundred billion yen
The National Diet Building is one of only a few old building in Tokyo that survived the air raids of 1945. The building comprises some 15,000 tons of steel frame, 25,000 tons of granite, 24 kinds of timber, and 37 kinds of marble, all of which come from domestic sources. The total expenditure for construction was about 25 million yen, equivalent to several hundred billion yen in today’s money. The house of Representatives is in the left wing of the building and the House of Councilors in the right wing.
Japanese granite was used on the exterior walls
National Diet Building
The ferroconcrete building consists of a four-story central tower, with the House of Representatives on the left, and the House of Councilors on the right. Each wing of the building has three stories above ground and one story underground. Japanese granite was used on the exterior walls of the buldig.
The central entrance is not used except when a newly elected member goes to the Diet for the first time., or the emperor or a head of state from a foreign visit Diet.
The centrall hall is 32.62 meters high, so high that the Five-story Pagoda of Horyu-ji would fit. Three of the four corners of the hall have a bronze statue of a politician who contributed to the establishement of the Japanese parliamentary system: Hiobumi Ito, the first prime minister of Japan; Taisuke Itagaki, a leader in the movement for democratic rights; and Shigenobu Okuma, the first prime minister of the party Cabinet, which allows the leading party, rather than influential politicians , to choose the government ministers. It is not clear why one corner of the hall has no statue, although some say it is because it could not be decided whose statue should be there, while others say that the corner is reserved for a future great politician. The statues were erected in 1938 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution of the Great Imperial Japan(Meiji Constitution)
Questions from foreigners
Similar to the Parthenon
Q What is the inside the central tower of the National Diet Bulding ?
A In the 65-meter central tower there are rooms for the emperor, prime minister, and guests from foreign countries.
Q When was democracy introduced in Japan ?
A It was not until the Second World War that democracy with popular sovereignty was established in Japan. In the 1920s, a bill establishing elections and the party Cabinet system had been passed by the Diet, markng the beginning of the democracy in Japan. However, at that time female suffrage had not been established and sovereignty resided with the emperor. It was 1945 when women were given the vote.
Q Is it true that the design of the National Diet building is, in part, based on the Parthenon ?
A Yes, The columns at the front of the building were designed similar to those of the Parthenon as a reminder of the democratic ideals that have their roots in Greece.
Q Is it true that the National Diet Building was built using only Japanese materials?
A Yes . Until 1936, most modern buildings in Japan had been designed by Westerners and built using imported materials. By using materials for the building, the Japanese government intended to show that Japan had reched a high level of mordernization. But interestingly, thre are three things not made in Japan in the building: the stained glass windows made in England; and the mail boxes and doorknobsmade in the United States.
Q Why is the English term National Diet used when referring to the government building and governing body ?
A The English word Diet is derived from a Greek word referring to free food given to the members of parliament by the citizens of Athens. Diet, the English translation of the word used to mean parliament in nineteenth-century Germany (Prussia),was adopted by Japan in the Meiji era.
Q How many members are there in the Diet ?
A Japan has two houses in the Diet: The house of Representatives with 480 members and the House of Councilors with 242. The rate of representation in the Japanese Diet is about three times greater than in the Unted States.