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by Bob Kerstetter
From his headquarters office in Tokyo, General Douglas MacArthur oversaw the occupation and reconstruction of Japan. He located his office on the sixth floor of the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company building.
From street-level you see the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace from the angle of the Dai-ichi Life Insurance building in Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan. His office gave General MacArthur a view across the moat and over the walls into the Imperial Palace grounds. While controversial, MacArthur solicited and gained the assistance of Emperor Shōwa in his work to rebuild Japan following the Pacific War of World War II, known in Japan as the Greater East Asia War.
For almost six years General MacArthur oversaw the occupation and restoration of Japan from his office on the sixth floor of the Dai Chi Life Insurance Company building. The building sits along Hibiya Dori—Hibiya Street.
The Dai-ichi building across the street from the Imperial Palace survived the bombing of Tokyo during the war. MacArthur used the building for several years. When Dai-ichi moved back in, the insurance company preserved the office space MacArthur occupied.
Artwork decorates the lobby of the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Building. Only two security guards and two curious Americans populate the lobby on this Easter Sunday afternoon.
A sign announces the closure of the MacArthur office to public visitors. While the office normally remains closed, it opens for special occasions. General closure occurred following the increase of terrorist attacks worldwide.
The next three maps show the locations of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace and the building housing MacArthur’s office.
Japans sits off the coast of the Asian Contenient. It is part of Asia, yet separated physically and symbolically by the Sea of Japan. The four largest islands stretch out like a dragon. Tokyo sits where the dragon body bends from vertical to horizontal.
The green area in the middle of the map—labeled Chiyoda—marks the Imperial Grounds.
This map shows the Imperial Grounds. The purple pin marks the building with General MacArthur’s office.