Fate of Tokyo's famed Nakagin Capsule Tower to be decided soon


The fate of Tokyo’s famed Nakagin Capsule Tower is set to be decided as early as autumn, attracting attention from home and abroad on whether the building and its unique exterior will be kept or scrapped.

Currently, a foreign company is holding negotiations on acquiring the building, located in the upmarket Ginza district, and the talks are expected to conclude shortly.

The building, which was completed in 1972, is a 13-story complex made of 140 independent housing module capsules. It is one of masterpieces of the late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, known as one of the leaders of the postwar architectural movement called metabolism.

Last year, Nakagin Integration Inc. sold the title to the land used for the building to a real estate company, according to Tatsuyuki Maeda, 52, who owns some of the capsules and heads a preservation project for the tower.

The real estate company at one time considered reconstructing the building, which introduced the possibility of the tower being demolished.

Based on a proposal from Maeda, a foreign company started negotiations with the real estate firm on acquiring the land.

The building attracts visitors from across the world, with some 250 people attending tours held in English and Japanese each month.

Before the law on minpaku private lodging services took effect in the country in June 2018, rooms at the Nakagin Capsule Tower were popular among those offered by lodging service broker Airbnb Inc.

With no application having been made under the minpaku lodging service system, however, the tower is not an authorized lodging facility. But some of the capsules are available for rent under monthly contracts.

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