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Hattori Clinic


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Tucked away on the outskirts of a tiny country village in Tochigi sits this two story doctors house and clinic.  The old dilapidated wooden building has all the characteristics of a Hollywood silver screen haunted house.   The doctor (who I'm assuming has long since passed), left behind a collection of amazing WW 2 items including a room full of beautiful black and white photographs that, sadly, have been left on the floor and forgotten.  


Placed along a narrow side road with a neighbouring house sitting close by, I snuck in through an open back door.   One end of the house was full of light while the other end sat in complete darkness (so I used a torch to check out the darker end first).   I found the doctors lounge room filled with trinkets and knick knacks...this little traditional washitsu room had heaps of character and looked very 'lived in'.   I took a few snaps and entered another room behind me.  Shining my light over the walls I found pictures of the doctor along with his college graduation certificates.  


After taking a few snaps I headed towards the lighter end of the house.  Due to years of abandonment combined with no structural maintenance, this place was falling to pieces. The floorboards in the hallway were  heavily waterlogged so I walked with each foot along the skirting boards, finally reaching a large room with a bookcase containing old medicine bottles along with some dusty books on tuberculosis.  I entered another room and found a framed photo of a bunch of surgeons performing some kind of cranial surgery and a camera contraption sticking out of the wall (some kind of X ray thing).   I also found a small room which appeared to be a pharmacy with a few small bottles of medicine and pills still sitting on shelves.  I wanted to check out the upstairs area but the staircase had collapsed and was rotting away.   After attempting a few climbs, I realised that the rotting wood was way too unstable and I didn't want to cause any damage to the I decided to leave and return a few months later.


So....5 months later, I returned.   It was summer and the wood on the broken stairs was dry, so I attempted another climb and made it.   I found a room full of beautiful old photographs scattered all over the floor (I took photographs of the photos).  Also found was an old WW2 army uniform, soldiers caps, his army satchel and a few other bits and pieces from the war.   But it was the black and white photos that totally captivated me...they were so beautifully shot and didn't deserve to be strewn all over the room like this.  I studied every photo closely and decided to take a few shots of some of the images (which I've attached in the gallery above).


After doing a little research, I discovered that the original owners/builders of the house were the Hattori Family.  They wanted to begin a small town in the area however it never came to fruition and the people never came (hence the clinic closing down).   I have no idea where the doctor went or what happened to him.  


Rarely have I ever had the opportunity to take an intimate glimpse into the Japanese side of World War 2 (and without going into the politics of the time, aesthetically these photos are beautifully shot and full of rich imagery of a now hidden time in Japans past).  


This was a beautiful place (and maybe a little haunted - even for a sceptic like me)






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