PHILADELPHIA — The following message is from the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (フィラデルフィア日米協会), a 501(c)3 nonprofit that administers site operations at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park.
We are deeply saddened by the recent act of vandalism that occurred at Shofuso on the evening of Wednesday, June 15, 2022 that resulted in damages to the Hiroshi Senju murals and house exterior. Although the total figure of damages is still unknown to us pending a formal quote from the artist’s conservation team, we anticipate the total repairs to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Shofuso was given as a gift by Japan to the people of the United States less than eight years after the end of hostilities in World War II. The structure was designed and built in Japan, disassembled, and shipped in its entirety to the US, where it was lovingly reassembled here by hand.
The house and garden are internationally renowned, and one of the strongest enduring symbols of friendship between U.S.-Japan. We as a city have the obligation to collectively ensure that it remains safe for future generations to admire.
As stewards of the historical house and garden, JASGP is deeply committed to ensuring that further damage does not occur to the site. To this end, we have invested in additional security measures aimed to safeguard the house, the garden, and works of art housed within.
However, as a community-based nonprofit organization funded primarily by donations and membership, we have limited resources at our disposal to cover these unexpected costs.
While we hope the City of Philadelphia will step in to shoulder some of this burden, there is no guarantee to date; therefore JASGP is launching a public fundraising appeal to help us restore and maintain the site.
Thank you to all of the individuals and organizations who have reached out to us with concern, and we greatly appreciate any support that can be provided.