Old Nippon Kangyo Bank (Land Bank)
Old Nippon Kangyo Bank
The old Tainan branch of the Nippon Kangyo Bank is proof that when the Japanese tried to implement modernization in Taiwan, they looked heavily to the Western World. Using Neoclassical architecture for banks was typical in the 19th and early 20th century in the US and throughout Europe. The rows of grand columns used in the Kangyo Bank were no doubt inspired by this. What’s unique about this architecture is that it incorporates the enclosed sidewalks that are typical in Taiwan. Instead of a sidewalk running in front of a colonnade, the pedestrian path is within it. It is also interesting that the entrance into the colonnade is on the corner of the building, to allow passage to the intersection, and not adjacent to the entrance to the bank. While this style is unique, it can also be seen in Taipei in the almost identical Taipei branch of the Nippon Kangyo Bank.
The Tainan branch dates from 1928, built five years after the Taipei branch. It sits across from Old Lin’s Department Store on what was one of the grandest intersections of the city at the time. This was a favored area of the city elites then, and the Japanese were pushing heavily to develop Zhongzheng Road into the city’s first modern boulevard. Much of that modern development has been replaced over the years, but the Kangyo Bank – now the Land Bank – still remains and functions in its original intent. In 1983, the entire west arcade of the building was torn down due to the widening of the road. Authentic restoration was a major project and the result was very successful.
The Nippon Kangyo Bank was founded in Japan in 1897. After the end of World War II, the Taiwan government used the remnants of Taiwan’s Kangyo Bank to form Land Bank of Taiwan. This bank was a government owned institution, and was responsible for handling land policies planned by the government. It became a public company in 2004 and remains a real-estate specialist to this day.
Location: No.28 Zhongzheng Road (Jhongjheng Rd. 中正路), West Central District, Tainan City