As someone who doesn't visit department stores very often, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that there used to be a department store in every prefecture in Japan, until January 2020, when the venerable Onuma Department Store went bankrupt and Yamagata Prefecture became the first prefecture in Japan to have no department stores. For a while, the department store was the form of business that existed in all of Japan.
To begin with, the history of department stores in Japan is not that long. It is generally believed that the "Department Store Declaration" issued by Mitsukoshi Gofukuten to its customers in 1904 marked the beginning of department stores in Japan, which is only a little over 100 years old.
In other words, 100 years ago, most of Japan was a "department store blank prefecture," but before long, every prefecture had a department store, and just recently, a prefecture without a department store appeared again. The disappearance of department stores in Yamagata Prefecture was widely reported in the news, but none of the news reports mentioned when the department stores came to exist in all prefectures. If we look at it this way, it seems that department stores have not existed for very long in Japan.
In any case, it is a fact that the number of people shopping at department stores is decreasing, and the closing of department stores is often talked about as a part of the decline of the Japanese economy. I thought that department stores would be deserted, but the front of Isetan Shinjuku was very busy. There were traffic officers standing, watching out for the cars coming one after another. Looking at this place alone, it would be hard to believe that the department store business is on the decline.
|Jan 2022 PEOPLE TOKYO|
|DEPARTMENT STORE FLAG SHINJUKU|
January 21, 2022
August 16, 2023
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