Looking north-east towards Ginza not too far from the spot where the current Shinbashi subway station is located.
Two electrified streetcars, first introduced in 1903 (Meiji 36), are in the front, others can be seen in the far background. The empty space in front of the building with the tower is Shinbashi Bridge. The building itself is the celebrated Teikoku Hakuhinkan Kankoba (帝国博品館勧工場, current Ginza Hakuhinkan), established in October 1899 (Meiji 32). The building featured a large variety of shops and was similar to our modern shopping center. It is generally considered to be the origin of the Japanese department store.
In 1921 (Taisho 10), a modern building consisting of 4 floors was constructed. It was the first shop on Ginza using an elevator, which made it extremely popular. It also signified the first time that the Japanese word for department store (百貨店, hyakaten), was used. The word consists of the characters for hundred, treasure and shops, and was at the time widely talked about.
The English word department store written in katakana as depaatomento sutooa (デパートメントストーア) was already in use at the time. Photos of the 1910s, show it being used on the wall of Tenkado (天下堂), a store in a four-story modern building just a few buildings removed from Hakuhinkan. It is the large white building visible behind Hakuhinkan.
After the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (Taisho 12), Hakuhinkan stopped functioning as a department store. In 1978 (Showa 53), on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the company’s establishment, a new 10-story building was built on this location, called Hakuhinkan Toy Park.1 It is now an extremely popular toy store always featuring in guidebooks about Tokyo. The Lonely Planet describes it as follows2:
For more information, and a view of this corner of Ginza during the 1890s, see Tokyo 1890s • Shinbashi Bridge, Ginza.
1 博品館。博品館の歩み。Retrieved on 2008-10-08.
2 Lonely Planet. Hakuhinkan Toy Park. Retrieved on 2021-08-01.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). Tokyo 1910s: Ginza, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on January 20, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/430/ginza
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