Imatake-designed Takashimaya advertising postcards, 1947.
“The first Takashimaya store was opened in Kyoto in 1831 as a sole proprietorship owned by Shinshichi Iida, a merchant from present-day Fukui Prefecture. The original store in Kyoto was only 3.6 square meters in area and specialized in selling gofuku [formal kimono]. In 1855 the store was expanded to include more cotton goods and a wider range of traditional formal wear accessories.
“A second Kyoto location opened in 1893, followed by a Tokyo store in 1897 and an Osaka store in 1898. In 1926, the company first opened ten-sen kinitsu markets, translated as ‘Everything for 10-sen’ (sen being a unit of a yen). The markets, selling simple household goods, were opened in existing Takashimaya stores and were highly successful.
“A second Tokyo store, on Ginza at Kyobashi, opened in 1933 and became the Takashimaya flagship. The Kyobashi store was damaged by the firebombings of Tokyo in 1945 but was not destroyed. After the war, the Ginza store served as a warehouse and logistics center for the Allies during the Occupation of Japan (1945-1952) before being returned to Japanese management, reopening as a department store in 1953.
“In 2009, Takashimaya Ginza was designated as an Important Cultural Property [jūyō bunkazai], becoming the first department store building to be so recognized. (The Meiji Mutual Life Insurance Co. building is another so-designated cultural property.)”
“The first department store in Japan to be completely air-conditioned, Takashimaya’s Tokyo store was designed by Takashi Teitaro and Kataoka Yashushi. Renaissance-revival in style, the eight-story building with a steel-framed reinforced concrete structure also has a number of Japanese-style features inside such as the coiffured ceiling over the ground floor.”
– The Architecture of Tokyo, by Hiroshi Watanabe, 2001
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