Syonan Renga Kogyo 南方煉瓦

Each and every brick found in Bukit Brown tells a story. Here is the story of one : 南方煉瓦

Alexandra Brickworks is one of the earliest brick making factory incorporated in Singapore in 1899, majority owned by The Borneo Co.

Its bricks are used in many of Singapore iconic buildings at that time : General Post Office, Muncipal Building, St James Power Station and MacDonald's House

When Singapore fell in 1942, the Japanese took over the administration of this brick factory and rename it Syonan Renga Kogyo

Syonan Renga Kogyo = 昭南煉瓦工場 
Syonan = Name of Singapore during occupation time = Shining South
Renga = English translation of 煉瓦, Japanese kanji for Brick
Kojo/Kozyo/Kogyo =  Factory = 工場

Syonan Renga Kogyo was likely managed by staff from Kurosaki Yogoyo 黒崎窯業, a famous Japanese brick factory founded in 1918 known for making firebricks.

(Seen from this 1944 Syonan Times advertisement)

Page 2 Advertisements Column 1
Syonan Shimbun, 22 August 1944, Page 2

Chinese Clerk (age not over 35 years old).  Apply personally with copies of testimonials to Mr  T Okazaki, Kurosaki Yogyo K K (former Alexandra Brickworks) Pasir Panjang

A no of bricks found in Bukit Brown was imprinted with very specific Japanese Kanji for Bricks 煉瓦  (Renga)

南方煉瓦 would mean Southern Bricks

However the imprint of  this brick and Alexandra Bricks is not identical ,  so we are still ascertaining whether  bricks made during Occupation times and imprinted with this Japanese Kanji is made from Alexandra Brickworks or not as the bricks are found only in a handful of tombs in Bukit Brown

Raymond Goh

Bricks found in Bukit Brown