People

Mami Nagai × Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.33

Mami Nagai × Chisako Takashima

2014.06.05

A talk series with the violinist Chisako Takashima and the Ginza people. Ginza holds many personal and professional memories for Takashima. In this talk series, she thoroughly explores various aspects of the Ginza culture with her guests. Today’s guest is Mami Nagai of Ginza Echigoya, a veteran kimono shop that has been around since 1755.

The routine joke of Ginza Echigoya founded 259 years ago

Takashima
You often hear ‘Echigoya’ in samurai dramas. What is the origin of the shop name?
Nagai
The founder was from Niigata Prefecture, so the shop name comes from Niigata’s previous name of ‘Echigo Province.’ Although our shop has nothing to do with samurai dramas, my friend often teases me, calling me a villain, and I always respond with the line, “Onushi mo waru yo no*” (laughs). It is a great joke.
Takashima
That’s excellent! (laughs) The shop was founded in 1775, so it has quite a long history.
Nagai
Thanks to everyone’s support, it will celebrate its 260 years next year.
Takashima
Has it always been a kimono shop, since the beginning?
Nagai
Yes. The founder went to Edo for an apprenticeship and started a kimono shop as a franchise. The second president set up a shop in the current location, and we have been selling our goods from here since then. We will continue creating unique kimonos to make Echigoya synonymous with kimonos in Ginza.

Kimonos have a special quality that makes you feel extraordinary

Takashima
Do you usually wear kimonos?
Nagai
No I don’t work in the shop front, so I do not wear them every day, but when I do, I feel very sophisticated. It gives you a refreshing feeling. Kimonos have a special quality that makes you feel extraordinary.
Takashima
Actually, I was asked to wear a kimono for the taping of the next program, and I am very worried about it. I have to think about how I will look on TV.
Nagai
Yes, that is difficult. You also have to consider the balance with the others.
Takashima
And you have to think about pattern and other seasonal aspects.
Nagai
Yes, just like the pattern, the material is also important. In June, you wear an unlined kimono, and at the height of summer in July and August, you wear semi-transparent materials like ‘ro’ or ‘sha’ types of gauze. It’s nice to casually give off a sense of the season with the pattern or fabric.
Takashima
If I wear a kimono carelessly without knowing the rules, those who know more will talk about me behind my back. Can I learn about these things if I go to Echigoya?
Nagai
Certainly, we will explain it to you very carefully.
Takashima
Do kimonos have trends?
Nagai
Trends are irrelevant when it comes to formal colored kimonos, and all that matters after that is whether the pattern is to the liking of the wearer.
Takashima
So, aside from personal preferences, there are no real trends?
Nagai
Contemporary patterns may be affected by trends, but we deal more in comparatively classic patterns that can be worn over the generations.
Takashima
I’m still not sure about it! If I try to dabble in it without thinking about it too much, I might become too obsessed with it. Kimonos make me nervous (laughs).

All List

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

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