• Kyodo

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Century-old houses in a Malaysian sleepy hollow will be shipped, brick by brick, to new homes in Japan, the Star daily reported Monday.

Old, dilapidated red brick houses in Papan, a small town in the northern state of Perak, have attracted the interest of a Japanese company. What the company wants are the bricks.

“In Japan, the bricks are considered to be antiques. They will be smoothed and then used for renovations in entertainment and commercial buildings. Japanese people feel that it is cooler to stay in a place built with old bricks,” Lee Kon Yin, a local state assemblyman, said.

According to Lee, the Japanese company, which was not identified, has paid a local contractor the equivalent of 9 cents per brick. Each of the two-story houses could supply about 30,000 bricks.

Bricks from one house found their way to Japan six month ago.

More than a century old, Papan was built by the tin mining industry, a sunset industry that has left the town nothing but a sleepy shell.

In the 1980s, the town gained international attention when residents took a Japanese-Malaysian joint venture company, Asian Rare Earth, to court for dumping radioactive waste in the area.

Recently, the town was visited by Hollywood. Several scenes from the movie “Anna and the King” were shot there.

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