Tuesday, 7 August 2012

American Hatoba (Pier), Kobe

American Hatoba (Pier), for many years the main pier in Kobe. Until 1922, large ships couldn’t dock in the harbor, so the hooting launches maneuvered continuously through the multitudes of junks and other small vessels to shuttle passengers and their luggage between anchored ships and the pier. As the harbor developed, American Hatoba lost its importance as place of entry and in 1987 the pier finally vanished as it was incorporated into Meriken Park, Meriken being the local pronunciation of American.

Lowry refers to the pier during Dana'a drift around the red light district of Dairen in his novel Ultramarine - while Dana is waiting for a film to start adverts appear on the screen; "The American Hatoba, the Oriental Hotel, and the Kyo-Bashi...Oh these infernal advertisments on the screen!" ( Pg.98). It is not impossible that adverts for the Japanese mainland may have been advertised in Japanese occupied Manchuria. Or it might be Lowry simply transposing Kobe into Dairen.

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