For 50 years the entrance to Seward Park was distinguished by a 26-foot tall torii, or Japanese gate. Now community members are designing a replacement for the former neighborhood icon, which was removed in the mid-1980's due to aging and decay.
What's the plan?
With a planning grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, the Friends of Seward Park hired landscape architectural firm Murase Associates, working with Takumi Company, to gather community input on the design of the torii. Community participants chose a design that honors the original Seward Park torii, addresses concerns about long-term maintenance, and reflects current community values and the wilderness character of the park. The columns (hashira) of the torii will be made of granite. The lintel (kasagi) will be made of a single minimally worked piece of wood covered with copper flashing to help protect it from water and to inhibit fungi. The crosspiece (nuki) will be a worked piece of wood that contrasts with the kasagi.
Like the original Seward Park torii, this design takes inspiration from the famous 'floating' torii of Itsukushima shrine at Miyajima, Japan. The hashira are tapered upward like the camphor trees that form the hashira at Miyajima. The hashira will have stone texturing influenced by the stonework of Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who created the sculpture Black Sun in Volunteer Park.
The torii will be located close to the site of its predecessor on the north side of the Seward Park Entrance Circle. Certain details of the setting are still under discussion with the Parks Department.
The Friends will seek additional grants and raise funds to rebuild the torii. Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Project grants are offered yearly, and we can apply next year. Meanwhile we must raise matching funds from the community.
How can I help?
Donate to the Friends of Seward Park, or contact us about buying a torii etching, T-shirt, or our book Cherries, Lanterns, and Gates about the torii and other Japanese cultural items in Seattle's Parks (see donation page).
Tell everyone you know about the project and encourage them to donate.
Join our torii committee.
Share your fundraising ideas with us.
How can I learn more?
Click the links on the left for the story of the Seward Park torii, torii slide show, torii FAQ, and all about torii (from Wikipedia).
Return here often to learn more as we update this site with new information and our progress.
Friends of Seward Park
Original Seward Park Torii, 1935-c. 1986
Photograph: Seward Park, 1935
Architect: Kichio Allen Arai, 1901-1966
Carpenter: Kichisaburo Ishimitsu
T-shirt Design Contest Winners
Adult T-shirt winning design
Kid's Winning Design
(for use on kids' T-shirts)
Haiku Contest Winners
Adult Winner: David Berger
some walk Seward Park clockwise
some the other way
Youth Winner: Emily Goodman and Ryanne L Jones
no matter what season
the sun glistens sometime
the sun is always there
Nihongo Winner: Atsumi Yamakoshi
nodokasaya pa-kuno kohan no oto
pastoral view of the park
the sound of waves
lapping the shoreline
For more haiku, with commentary by haiku judge Michael Dylan Welch of Haiku Northwest, choose "Haiku and T-Shirt Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions" from the menu on the left side of this page.
City Living: Iconic Japanese torii to be restored
Northwest Asian Weekly: Community to restore iconic Japanese gate in Seward Park
Rainier Valley Post:: Community to restore iconic Japanese gate
For more information about Seward Park of Seattle, visit www.sewardpark.org