Teikoku Hakuhinkan (Imperial Esteemed Goods Hall), Shimbashi, c. 1905.

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“Shinbashi”, Tokyo, c. 1910. The Teikoku Hakuhinkan, at center, was located on the northwest corner of Shimbashi Bridge.

See also:
Shimbashi District, 1900-1950
Shimbashi Station (Shiodome), 1872-1909

“The name of Hakuhinkan has been popular on Ginza from the Meiji period to the present day, beginning with ‘Teikoku Hakuhinkan Kankoba’. In 1899, Hakuhinkan was opened at Ginza 8-chome as the seventh kankoba [’emporium, bazaar’], a former style of department store, in the district.

“While other kankoba were all located in two-story buildings, Hakuhinkan was a Renaissance style three-story building made of bricks with a clock tower on the roof. The large (120cm/4-foot diameter) clock with an illuminated dial and music box entertained the people in Ginza very much at that time. The stairs of Hakuhinkan was not regular but a novel structure, where people walked around a loose spiral passage.

“Hakuhinkan rapidly became popular, recording the best sales in Ginza. The total number of the tenants reached 70 shops, including clothing shops, kimono shops, cosmetics and accessory shops, lacquarware and parquet stores, toy shops etc.

“The kankoba era in Ginza came to the peak in 1902, but began to decline from the following year. But, Hakuhinkan, the sole kankoba still existing, remained operating into the Taisho era. It was closed temporarily in 1920, for renovation from a three-story building into a four-story building, and [would be] equipped with a first among Ginza’s stores – an elevator.

Ginza Hakuhinkan: The Name Represents the History of Ginza’s Trends, by Yoshifumi Ito (Chairperson of Hakuhinkan Co., Ltd.), 2018

Teikoku Hakuhinkan (left), and a celebratory streetcar following the military victory of Japan over Russia crossing Shimbashi Bridge, c. 1905. The celebrated Teikoku Hakuhinkan was established in 1899, featuring a variety of shops inside. It is generally considered to be the first Japanese “department store” (vs. “dry goods store” a la Mitsukoshi department store.

“Near the Shimbashi Bridge there is a large bazaar called the Hakuhinkan [Esteemed Goods Hall], in whose three-story building more than seventy large and small shops open and sell foreign goods, toys, pictures and photos, fancy goods, toilet articles, stationaries, and porcelain wares.

“When it comes near the end of the year, here the great sale of the bazaar is carried on, and various prizes are distributed among purchasers by drawing lots. The great sale is called Nenmatsu Fukubiki Ouridashi, which means ‘The Great Sale by the Distribution of Lot Prizes at the End of the Year.’

“Customers to the Ginza shops are proud of what they have purchased here, and all the goods and articles of Ginza being believed to be of the first rank they don’t care of higher prices.”

The Nightside of Japan, by T. Fujimoto, 1910

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