|Thomas James Waters|
July 17, 1842|
Birr, County Offaly, Ireland
Denver, Colorado, USA
Waters was born in Birr, County Offaly, in Ireland in 1842, as the eldest son of the local surgeon. In his mid-20s, he received a commission to design the buildings for the Royal Mint in Hong Kong, and while in Hong Kong, came into contact with representatives of Thomas Blake Glover, a noted British merchant resident in Nagasaki. Glover arranged for Waters to be employed by Satsuma Domain in Kagoshima to design western-style buildings, and arrived in Japan in 1864. After the Meiji Restoration of 1867, Waters was hired by the new Meiji government and commissioned to build the new Imperial Japanese Mint in Osaka in 1868.
After successfully completing this commission, he was invited to Tokyo and officially accepted as an foreign advisor by the government. He built a branch of the Japanese Mint in the Ginza area of Tokyo, the headquarters building for the Imperial Japanese Army and a number of bridges around Tokyo. However, his largest commission came after a devastating by fire in 1872 destroyed the Ginza district. Waters rebuilt the Ginza area with a broad central thoroughfare, lined with a series of two- and three-story Georgian brick buildings there. The district was henceforth known as Bricktown (Rengagai), and came to be regarded as a symbol of modernity and westernization in Japan. 
However, Waters soon faced increasing competition from foreign architects and his contract was not renewed in 1877.
After his departure from Japan, he worked briefly in Shanghai, China before immigrating to the United States and working in a silver mine in Colorado. He died in 1898 at the age of 56, and his grave is located at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.