Tokyo Q&A: Why does Tokyo have a Statue of Liberty?

By Kirsty Bouwers

Shocking to most Americans, Tokyo’s small Statue of Liberty has little to do with the U S of A. NYC’s Lady Liberty was given to the city by France way back in 1886, while Tokyo’s own version was temporarily moved from its home at Paris’ Île aux Cygnes to Odaiba in 1998 to commemorate Franco-Japanese ties for a year.

It turned out to be so popular that they decided to erect a new replica on Odaiba in 2000. Combined with the backdrop of the Rainbow Bridge, it has been the ultimate photo spot ever since.

Its positioning also makes it a perfect optical illusion: many people think the Tokyo version is just as large as NYC's, but get up close and things will suddenly seem a whole lot smaller. Our Lady stands a mere 12.25m tall, compared to New York's 93m (46m for the copper bits alone). 

What's more, this statue isn't Japan’s only one. At least two more exist (one in Shimoda, one in Osaka), though neither command views as impressive as those afforded Tokyo’s lucky Lady. 

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