Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Woman in Atrium.
12020-04-30T18:05:36-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f352三越、三越 十月の御案内 (10月 1935).plain2020-09-16T20:56:25-04:0035.6856, 139.77341Tokyo.1935.Mitsukoshi , Mitsukoshi Jūgatsu no goannai (October 1935).1935.Mitsukoshi.Public domain.Noriko AsoMitsukoshi Department Store (Tokyo).image/jpegNA-0290Still ImageKandra Polatis4decfc04157f6073c75cc53dcab9d25e87c02133
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12020-04-30T18:05:35-04:00Gateway to Western Wonders16Mitsukoshi; Customer agency; Crowd control; Social class; Social science.plain2021-10-08T15:50:58-04:0035.6856, 139.77341Tōkyō1904-1935Noriko AsoMitsukoshi Department Store
In 1904, the Mitsukoshi dry goods store proclaimed its transformation into a modern department store. This was presented as a new kind of participatory space for (consumer) freedom, but also as a hub for knowledge regarding Western innovations, and at the same time an archive for traditional taste. In 1914, this commitment was fulfilled in the remodeled Nihombashi site, billed as a new wonder for the Tokyo metropolis. Its architecture evoked the European Renaissance, with elegant windows and even a cupola to lighten its impressive height and mass (Miyano 2002).
A few steps in, a customer would find him- or herself at the base of an atrium that soared to the top of the five retail floors. Beauty vied with practicality in this choice of structure: the nineteenth century was a period of experimentation in Europe and the United States for architectural crowd control. Allowing a member of the crowd to observe others, while maintaining awareness of being observed, had been proven well worth the lost retail area in discouraging such poor behavior as shoplifting and prompting a sense of high class decorum.
A new level of customer service was highlighted throughout: the first floor provided a smoking room, an information desk, and a pickup station for purchases. The second floor offered a pattern room and consultations for weddings and other such major events. On the third floor were fitting rooms for Western clothing, watch repair, and more. On the fourth floor hosted a dining hall, a more private dining room, a library, and a “child research” room.
The fifth and final retail floor featured areas for telephone sales, branch services, and the like. Every floor had bathrooms with the latest in plumbing, and all but the fifth provided elegant rest areas variously styled as Secession, Jacobean, Adam, or Louis XVI. Mitsukoshi’s flagship store was explicitly configured to provide its customers with a Western, modern, spectacular, public experience. There were no barriers to prevent customers from idly wandering from floor to floor; indeed, a sense of shopping as entertainment was positively encouraged. Nevertheless, at the same time, sorting by class was also carried out by the structure of the building. The basement was for food stuffs to be purchased by maids, and the higher one climbed, the more rarefied the goods and atmosphere.