People

Yasuharu Mizuhara×Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.2

Yasuharu Mizuhara×Chisako Takashima

2011.11.01

Dialogue series between violinist Chisako Takashima and people from Ginza. Takashima is emotionally connected to Ginza in both her personal and professional life. Takashima asks her guests deep questions about various topics related to Ginza. Today’s guest is Yasuharu Mizuhara, the 4th generation Representative Director of the Seigetsudo main shop.

Long-standing Japanese style confectionery in business for 104 years over 4 generations.

Takashima
I love all things sweet. Wagashi (Japanese style sweets) have a texture that is not found in Western style sweets.
Mizuhara
Do you often shop at Japanese confectioneries?
Takashima
Yes. After turning 40, I started bringing wagashi as gifts when visiting people. When I bring wagashi, I look like a capable woman. If I say something like, “Here is one of my favorites,” my score goes up (laughs).
Mizuhara
Do you buy seasonal wagashi?
Takashima
I don’t know which wagashi fit the season, and when I brought whatever I felt like giving without thinking about it, my mother gave me an earful (laughs). Adults know more about these things, and she gave me advice about what type of sweets to give to each type of person. Your shop opened in 1907. How long does that mean you’ve been open this year?
Mizuhara
104 years. The founder studied Kyoto-style wagashi, so many of our products have a tinge of Kyoto in them. I am the 4th generation director, and I learned about the history of this area from my father.
Takashima
Do you have a standby product from the day the shop was founded?
Mizuhara
They aren’t the same, but the 1st generation specialized in ‘luxury unbaked’ jo-namagashi, the 2nd generation in ‘half-wet’ han-namagashi, the 3rd generation in otoshibumi, which were the most popular products. It’s about time for us to think of a specialty product for the 4th generation.

Growth supported by Japanese restaurants and the world of the geisha.

Takashima
Are your customers typical Ginza people?
Mizuhara
We receive visitors from Japanese restaurants and tea ceremony masters. There used to be this famous confectionery in a Japanese restaurant. As the story goes, when we first opened, our hard work was acknowledged by the proprietress of Shinkiraku that is still open in Tsukuji, who told many patrons about us, and our business picked up as a result.
Takashima
Do you receive many customers who practice tea ceremony?
Mizuhara
Our strictest customers are tea ceremony masters. Sweets for large tea ceremonies must usually be completely original. For each ceremony, we make 10 different types of sweets and let them choose. Do you practice tea ceremony?
Takashima
I have the equipment, but I’m no good at it because I can’t sit still (laughs).
Has the shop always been in its current location?
Mizuhara
Yes. At the time it produced water from a well. I heard that they chose this location because lots of water is needed to make anko (sweet bean paste). There were lots of Japanese restaurants in the area, and we sold sweets for tea ceremonies.
Takashima
What was the area like?
Mizuhara
Now it’s called Ginza 7-chome, but at the time of its founding, it was called Kyobashi-ku Kobiki-cho. The area was supposedly full of residents who sawed logs to build Edo Castle for a living. There were lots of waterways and bridges before the Olympics. The moon was associated with bridges, hence the name ‘Seigetsudo’ (brisk moon), given by the shop’s founder.
Takashima
That’s very enchanting. Was there a thriving geisha society?
Mizuhara
Yes. There were many government offices here before the Great Kanto Earthquake. There was said to be a thriving Shinbashi geisha society during the glamorous Meiji era. The presence of Japanese restaurants in this area is probably a remnant of that time.
Takashima
What is the area like now?
Mizuhara
There are a few more apartment buildings in the area now. This shop used to be a 3-story wood building that we used to live in. Now when you cross Showa Dori you can find some streets in Ginza with residents.

All List

(株)天賞堂/三井住友銀行 銀座支店/みずほ銀行 銀座通支店/
GINZA西銀座駐車場/マロニエゲート銀座
銀座 らん月/銀座千疋屋/三笠会館本店/
Hatsukoギンザのサヱグサ/

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