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Kobe Bell Meditation Garden

Bagley Wright Theatre near the south wall of Cornish Playhouse

Housed within a small, traditional temple pagoda, the cylindrical Kobe Bell hangs on the Seattle Center grounds. The bell is a tribute to the goodwill and friendship fostered by Seattle's sister-city partnership with Kobe, Japan. The partnership was formed in the decades immediately following World War II, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called upon governments at a municipal level to reach out to cities around the world in order to develop ties with both traditional friends and recent enemies. Seattle's Mayor Gordon Clinton and a committee of citizens chose to extend an invitation to the city of Kobe, Japan based on its rich history as a seaport and historical commitment to the arts. In 1957, Kobe's Mayor Haraguchi accepted, forming Seattle's first sister-city relationship.

In 1962, Seattle hosted the World's Fair on the Seattle Center grounds. Kobe sent the wooden structure and cast bronze bell as a commemorative gift. Unlike traditional western-style bells, the Kobe Bell has no clapper inside. Instead a large log suspended at a right angle strikes the metal exterior, ringing the bell from the outside. The bell is also richly ornamented with bands punctuated by rosettes partitioning its surface. Bronze studs and a curled dragon decorate the upper portion, while bas-relief designs of drum- and flute-playing Japanese gods adorn the lower portions. The middle section contains a dedication written in both Japanese and English: "Presented by the People of Kobe to the People of Seattle as a Symbol of Friendship. May this bell ring forever signifying friendship between the nations of the United States and Japan."

Kobe Bell was a gift to the city of Seattle from the city of Kobe, Japan.

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Seattle Center Seattle Center creates exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. City of Seattle
Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor, City of Seattle
Director Robert Nellams, Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109