The U.S. government started offering Consular services in Fukuoka from an office in Daimyo-machi, Fukuoka City in August 1950. In March, 1952, the Consular office was moved to a famous white building called ‘Fukuoka White House’ in Tenjin, Fukuoka City. On April 28, 1952, when the Peace Treaty took effect, the Consular office became the U.S. Consulate, Fukuoka, under Principal Officer Owen J. Zurhellen, assisted by two other consuls and 15 staff members.
Principal Officer Zurhellen with staff in 1952
The Consulate was co-located with the Fukuoka American Cultural Center, which began operations as part of the State Department on May 6, 1952, but became part of the new U.S. Information Agency the following year.
In October 1960, the Consulate moved to its current location in Ohori, Fukuoka City. The Consulate building was designed by Architects Associated, a firm based in San Francisco, California, with architects Harvey Parke Clark, John Frederick Beuttler and George T. Rockrise. The Consuls’ residences, located within the current grounds of the Consulate, were designed by the architectural firm of Unthank Seder Poticha Architects and built in 1982.
U.S. Consulate Fukuoka building immediately after moving to Ohori (1960)
After the Consulate moved out to Ohori, Fukuoka American Cultural Center used the entire three-story building of the ‘Fukuoka White House.’ On April 25, 1972, the Fukuoka American Cultural Center was renamed the Fukuoka American Center. At the end of December 1992, the Fukuoka American Center moved out of the “Fukuoka White House” (the building was demolished afterwards), and re-opened on January 29, 1993, at a new location in Otemon, Fukuoka City. In 1997, the Fukuoka American Center was relocated again to its current location atop the Solaria Parkside building in Tenjin, Fukuoka City.
The famous “White House” in Tenjin (1952)
In 1999, the U.S. Information Agency, under which the Fukuoka American Center operated, merged into the U.S. Department of State, and the Fukuoka American Center became the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate, Fukuoka. Through 2020, 25 officers of the U.S. State Department have served as Consul and Principal Officer of the American Consulate in Fukuoka. The current Principal Officer is John Taylor. There are three other American officers.
“Record of Fees,” August 1, 1950-June 25, 1953. U.S. Consulate Fukuoka.
The Japan-American Society of Fukuoka 50th Anniversary Book, Fukuoka: The Japan-America Society of Fukuoka, 2008.
Fukuoka no Rekishi: Shisei Kyujusshu-nen Kinen, Fukuoka: Fukuoka-shi, 1979.
Fukuoka-ken Hyakka Jiten, Fukuoka: Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, 1982, vol. 1.
“Junbi Totonotta Beikoku Fukuoka Ryojikan,” Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, March 27, 1952
“Gaikoku Kokan Kakuchi de Kaisetsu Junbi,” Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, April 28, 1952.
“Fukuoka America Bunka Center 11-gatsu-chujun ni Shinso Kaikan,” Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, November 2, 1960.
Fukuoka Amerikan Center 40-nen, Fukuoka: Fukuoka Nichibei Kyokai, Fukuoka Amerikan Center 40-nenten Jikko Iinkai, 1993.