“A beer hall designed in the manner of Frank Lloyd Wright occupies the ground floor of this building in the middle of Ginza, first opened in 1933, with a mosaic mural produced under the guidance of artist Koada Saburosuke and other.
“At the [Wright-designed] Imperial Hotel, the elite of Japanese society hobnobbed, but here a place at a table could be had for the price of a biru [beer]. It may not be exactly Wright but, now that the Imperial’s gone, it’s what’s left.”
– The Architecture of Tokyo, Watanabe Hiroshi, 2001
Nippon Beer (Sapporo Beer), c. 1950
Yebisu Beer, Tokio Brewey No. 1, Meguro, c. 1900
From the wiki: “The competition between Sapporo and Japan Beer, as well as competition with the Osaka (now Asahi) and Kirin breweries led to a 1906 merger of Sapporo, Japan, and Osaka breweries into the Dai-Nippon Beer Company, Ltd., which formed a near monopoly on the Japanese market until after World War II.
“After 1949, Dai-Nippon was split into Nippon and Asahi breweries, with the Nippon Breweries resuming production of Sapporo beer in 1956 and renaming itself to the present name, Sapporo Breweries.”
“New technologies [in the postwar years], especially television, offered powerful new marketing tools, and Nippon Beer led the way by launching its first radio commercial in 1951, followed by its first ad on NTV in 1953. Demand for ‘Nippon Beer’ fell briefly during the Korean War, however, due to rapidly intensifying marketplace competition, which forced its directors to take different approaches toward strengthening its brand. The Nippon Beer Company therefore prioritized newspaper, magazine, and poster ads that showcased the work of young artists and writers, so as to appeal to younger consumers.
“… In 1954 it moved in truly novel directions by creating a new illustrated character called the Beer King (Biiru osama). Until that point, Japanese beer ads were generally one-time phenomena, but the Beer King was a serial effort linked with special events, such as drinking contests. Nippon staged competitions to see who could recognize the ‘Nippon Beer’ brand when blindfolded, or drink the most beer, or drink it the fastest (nomippuri). Naturally, the winners were crowned Beer King and featured in Nippon’s next Beer King advertisement. Thus by 1954, beer marketers were already cultivating the social acceptability of drinking to excess, which was clearly equated with power and masculinity.”
– Brewed in Japan: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry, Jeffrey W. Alexander, 2013
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