The saga of the Imperial Hotel exemplifies post-war growth in Tokyo as well as all of Japan.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, construction began in 1917 and was completed in 1922. The hotel endured the 1923 earthquake, which destroyed much of Tokyo, and the bombings of World War II; but it was unable to survive progress.

The property on which it stood demanded more profitable use. The hotel was too small and in need of many repairs. It closed its doors on November 15, 1967 and was demolished in 1968. This was a sad occasion for me. I'd been a frequent guest starting in 1939, and the press conference for our opening at Takashimaya was held there in 1962.

But, Tokyo was growing and the cost of real estate soaring. While difficult to believe, authorities claim the value of the property under the nearby Imperial Palace is worth more than all of the land in Canada. Some even add California.

The building that replaced it has seven hundred and seventy guest rooms instead of two hundred seventy. Including the adjacent tower, the Imperial Hotel has now over one thousand guest rooms. Such is progress.