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From Toyosato Station to Toyosato Elementary School, statues of a tortoise and hare adorn the sidewalk.
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Designed by William Merrell Vories, the old Toyosato Elementary School building was built in 1937. This picture was taken in 2007, before renovations. This is the front gate.
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Toyosato Elementary School after renovations in 2009. Nice new coat of paint makes the old school look almost brand new. MAP
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Toyosato Elementary School before renovations. During 1999-2002, Toyosato gained national attention when this old elementary school building was going to be torn down by the mayor in opposition to activists who wanted to preserve the building.
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Toyosato Elementary School after renovations. At a total cost of 650 million yen, the old building was repainted, reinforced against earthquakes, installed with an elevator, and preserved as much as possible.
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Toyosato Elementary School before renovations.
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Toyosato Elementary School after renovations. A ceremony was held on May 30, 2009 to mark the completion of the renovations.
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Anyone can now enter this old building and look around. Free admission. The school is Toyosato's symbol.
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Toyosato Elementary School name plate at the front gate.
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Weather vane on top of the main building.
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Statue of Furukawa Tetsujiro, the man who donated his own money to build the school in 1937. He donated 600,000 yen which is equivalent to today's value of a few billion yen.
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Entrance hall. You have to take off your shoes and wear house slippers.
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Little statue in the entrance hall.
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Map of the old school. The first floor has a public library, exhibition room, children's playroom, meeting rooms, and local board of education office.
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First-floor corridor.
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This exhibition room is what you first see when you enter the front entrance.
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On display are old photos of the school.
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Telephone booth
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Old telephone
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Scale model of old school.
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Exhibition panels explaining school's history.
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Old camera that was used to take the school pictures on display.
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First floor corridor and stairway. Notice the rabbit sculpture.
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Rabbit sculpture on the railing.
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This rabbit sculpture and turtle sculpture represents the famous Aesop's fable, the race between the turtle and hare.
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The turtle makes it way at its own, slow pace.
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As the rabbit sleeps.
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Second-floor corridor
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VIP room.
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VIP room.
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Children's playroom
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2nd floor corridor
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On the 2nd floor, this classroom has been reconstructed.
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On the 2nd floor, this classroom has been reconstructed to look like what it was before.
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This is one of two rooms in the building which has been reconstructed as a classroom for display purposes.1 comments
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This is one of two rooms in the building which has been reconstructed as a classroom for display purposes.
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Classroom door
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Classroom windows as seen from the outside.
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2nd floor corridor
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On the second floor, a mural depicting a train station.
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Another reconstructed classroom on the 2nd floor. This one was for homemaking.
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End stairway with wash basin.1 comments
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Stairway
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Stairway with turtle statue on railing.
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Cubby hole
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Looking toward the school auditorium.
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School auditorium.
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School auditorium.
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School auditorium entrance.
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Inside school auditorium.
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Inside school auditorium.
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The school auditorium also has an upper level.
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View from the podium in the school auditorium. It looks like that they still use this auditorium.1 comments
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On the opposite side of the auditorium is the old library.
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The old school library.
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The old school library.
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Name plate for the old school library.
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Old school library is now a K-ON gallery, event space, and cafe. Fans of the popular manga/anime called K-ON! gather here on weekends.
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This part is a cafe where K-ON! fans sit and gather. In the rear is a gallery space that is now a showcase of K-ON! memorabilia donated by fans.
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Inside the old library which also has a local tourist information counter.
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This old school library is most interesting architecturally.
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The old library checkout counter.
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Upper level of old school library.
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Spiral staircase
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Old gallery corner in old school library. This corner space is now filled with K-ON stuff.
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K-ON Gallery. Guitars, life-size cutouts, dolls, manga books, figurines, and all kinds of K-ON merchandise donated and left here by fans are displayed.
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K-ON stands for kei-ongaku (軽音楽) meaning light music or casual/informal music. The manga/anime is about a group of five junior high school girls in the Light Music Club.
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The K-ON! manga artist used Toyosato Elementary School as the artistic backdrop in K-ON!. However, the K-ON school's name and place are different.
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K-ON! fans have donated and dropped off numerous K-ON! merchandise like these figurines of the K-ON! characters.
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K-ON! dolls. Too bad they don't sell any K-ON! merchandise.
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Colorful and artistic K-ON! postcards written by fans.
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K-ON! fan's car.
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On the third floor is the music room where live bands play on weekends.
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Entrance to new public library.
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Inside public library which occupies former classrooms whose walls were removed.
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Public library in old Toyosato Elementary School. The renovations are very impressive.1 comments
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Study desks inside public library. They face a window with a view of the new Toyosato Elementary School building.1 comments
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The new Toyosato Elementary School building.1 comments
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Front entrance of the new Toyosato Elementary School building.
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What it looked like before the new school building was built.
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Before the new Toyosato Elementary School building was completed, the school held classes in this temporary structure in front of the old school building.
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In 2003, local citizens and former students staged protests against the destruction of the old school building.
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Protest signs.
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The local mayor Ono Wasaburo was forced to stop his plans to destroy the building. He was later ousted from office, but later re-elected.
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Rear view of the old Toyosato Elementary School before renovations.
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Rear view of the old Toyosato Elementary School before renovations.
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Partially destroyed building. This was stopped via a court order.
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Toyosato manhole, Shiga Pref.
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