Mitsukoshi began publishing its own magazines from 1899, which from early on were conceived of as more than mere catalogs. Instead, they were to be prestige publications, guided by the principle Executive Director Hibi Ōsuke (1860-1931) called “scholar-commoner collaboration” (gaku-zoku kyōdō) (Jinno 1994, 141-72).
The first venture into the field, Hanagoromo, or “Holiday Best,” ran to almost four hundred image-filled pages. The journal included various articles and fiction along with presentation of the store's wares, and was warmly reviewed for its high quality production values in newspapers and journals of the day.
In 1903, the retailer began publishing the monthly Jikō, or “Vogue,” again filled with fiction and essays on such topics as literature, art, performance, and travel by prominent intellectuals.
In 1908, a new series entitled Mitsukoshi Taimusu (Mitsukoshi times) supplemented, then absorbed Jikō, and in 1911, the store finally settled on Mitsukoshi as the name for its flagship journal. Regular publication ceased in 1933 as a “self-restraint” (jishuku) measure in response to troubled economic times, although occasional issues still appeared and Osaka Mitsukoshi continued through to 1943.
In this and the following pathway, we will explore various types of spaces and places that appear in the pages of Mitsukoshi.
In the course of presenting the store, the city, the country, and the empire to its readers, the journal's two-dimensionality can be seen to open up into three dimensionality when we take the nature of and relationships among these sites seriously.