People

Yoshifumi Itoh×Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.10

Yoshifumi Itoh×Chisako Takashima

2012.07.02

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 Yoshifumi Itoh, President of Hakuhinkan Toy Park that made the Guinness World Records for being the largest toy store in Japan.

Drew attention for being the first to use the term department store.

Takashima
Hakuhinkan is a very familiar place to me. I have two kids, so we come here about once a week.
Itoh
Thank you.
Takashima
How long has it been since the company was founded?
Itoh
It began in 1899 as the Teikoku (=Imperial) Hakuhinkan Kankoba. A “kankoba” is like what we call department store today, and it held a number of tenants. Apparently, it drew attention for being the first to use the term “department store.” It shut down temporarily after the Great Kanto Earthquake, and switched businesses numerous times after that. It took on its current form as a toy shop 30 years ago.
Takashima
The elevator at Hakuhinkan is quite famous.
Itoh
Yes, it’s a hydraulic elevator. It’s classical technology remaining in its original form. It uses pipes called cylinders to move it up and down with hydraulic pressure. The only problem is that it’s a hydraulic elevator, so it gives off a slight odor of oil. We often receive complaints from customers (laughs).

I sometimes produce shows myself.

Takashima
Not only do you sell toys, but you also have restaurants and a theater.
Itoh
That’s right. The restaurants are tenants, but the theater shows self-produced performances, collaboration and sometimes even shows I’ve produced myself.
Takashima
No kidding! Who have you had perform?
Itoh
As for recent shows, there will be the musical Tap Gigolo featuring HIDEBOH that will be shown this fall.
Takashima
I have also performed with him once. He became instantly famous with Zatoichi directed by Beat Takeshi.
Your theater seats the audience very close to the stage, which I think is great. You can even see how the performers are breathing.
Itoh
Because the theater is small, it’s much better suited to acts like tap dancing and magic shows that have a realistic sensation than elaborate productions. This year end we will hold the 5th live New Year’s World Rock Festival concert with entertainers like Mr. Maric and Yuya Uchida. I hope you can come out for it this year too.
Takashima
Thank you. Whenever I come here, however, I feel like I just need to dance (laughs).

Hakuhinkan Theater

All List

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

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