By Bruce Rutledge,
From 1934 to the mid-1980s, Seward Park was home to a handsome 24-foot torii gate designed by architect Kichio Allen Arai. But eventually, that torii had to be taken down
due to decay. On October 14, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new 20-foot torii gate to be made with basalt columns and a timber crossbeam. Jerry Arai, son of the original architect, was on hand along with committee members and donors who followed Scott Murase, architect of the new gate, on a tour of the site.
The pillars, which are each single pieces of basalt, will be tapered from top to bottom via a special lathing machine, creating color changes. The horizontal support will be made from an oldgrowth cedar from northern Vancouver Island. They had to fell several cedar
trees to find a suitable section, then barged it down to Vashon, where it was shaped.
The original torii had special meaning to the Japanese American community, and committee members say they hope to unveil the new torii gate at a celebration timed to next year’s cherry blossom season.
For more on the project, check out the Friends of Seward Park website.