Mitsukoshi Department Store, Nihonbashi, c. 1903-1923.
Roof Garden, Mitsukoshi Department Store, Tokyo, c. 1930.
“Mitsukoshi had its roots as a dry goods store, or drapery, and even after the store expanded its line of products in 1905 it mainly continued to carry textiles for sewing into Japanese-style dress. However, at the turn of the century the store’s upper-class women customers were not purchasing the same styles of textiles they might have even a few years prior.
“Mitsukoshi’s managing director, Takahashi Yoshio, decided in 1895 that women’s textiles for special occasions should reflect the style of the times. Toward that goal, Mitsukoshi established an in-house design department that produced new textile designs with motifs and colors as directed by the company.
“The designs of these textiles and the motifs they incorporated, as published on the pages of Mitsukoshi’s catalog, the magazine The Mitsukoshi Times, and advertising postcards evoked national essence and renovationist nationalism through their associated meanings.”