History & Culture

Building Memories - The History of Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Part 6

2017.12.06

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Welcome to the final part of our history of the Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store. As we saw in the previous entry, the advent of the Showa era (1926-1989) brought us the Main Store building that still stands today, but there was still a flurry of change waiting to take place. Starting from Showa 31 (1956) the Main Store building became the core of a rapidly expanding structure that eventually would cover the lion's share of the block where the original store once stood, culminating in the building of the Annex in Heisei 16 (2004) which overlooks the Nihombashi bridge.

184_02.jpgThe magnificent Magokoro statue installed in Showa 35 (1960) that remains the centerpiece of the Central Hall to the present day.

Although its Important Cultural Property status now means that elements of the store and its fittings are protected against any change, the Nihombashi Mitsukoshi store's story is far from over, and only time will tell where it takes us next. Beyond the structure and architecture of the building it is worth remembering that even some of the fittings are protected as Important Cultural Properties. Perhaps the most prominent, and one that never fails to take visitor's breath away is the Magokoro statue in the Main Hall. Installed in Showa 35 (1960), the statue is a masterpiece by carver Gengen Sato (1888-1963) who spent over ten years on the piece working in 500 year old cypress tree wood and symbolises "sincerity", a founding principal of Mitsukoshi.

184_03.jpgMitsukoshi's iconic Hana-hiraku as it appeared in Showa 29 (1954)

Also of note are features that aren't protected by the government ordained status, but rather the intangible traditions that the store itself preserves. The mid-Showa period also saw the storewide use of Genichiro Inokuma's iconic "Hana-Hiraku" print on its wrapping paper in Showa 26 (1951) that is still in use today. These and so many more features all build to the store as it is today, a lineage that you too are invited to be a part of.

Top photo: Neon signage promoting Mitsukoshi makes an appearance in Showa 29 (1954)


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