The Street of Kyobashi, c. 1920.

1920sArchitectureHistoric DistrictNotable Landmark
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The Street of Kyobashi, c. 1920.The tall building on the right is the Dai-ichi Insurance Co. (Dai-ichi Sogo) building; on the left, with the rounded tower, is Maruzen, the famous Ginza book seller and haberdasher. Raincoats, imported by Maruzen from Great Britain, were big sellers in 1914. Keyboard calculators, from the US, were first sold in Japan in 1918, also at Maruzen.

“It had been a dark day for me, because it was the day after summer vacation ended. For most students it was a day full of enthusiasm for the resumption of school. Not for me. It was also the day of the ceremony opening the second term, an event I always found disgusting.

“When the convocation ended, I set out for Maruzen, Japan’s largest foreign bookstore, in the downtown Kyobashi district. My oldest sister had asked me to pick up a Western-language book for her. But when I got there, the store hadn’t yet opened. More disgusted than ever, I headed for home again, intending to try once more in the afternoon.

“Two hours later the Maruzen building would be destroyed and the horrifying photograph of the ruins sent around the world to show the devastation wrought by the Great Kanto Earthquake.”

Something Like An Autobiography, by Akira Kurosawa, 2011

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