People

Kunihiko Miwa×Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.11

Kunihiko Miwa×Chisako Takashima

2012.08.01

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 Mr. Kunihiko Miwa, the president of Jeweler Miwa, a jewelry shop that was the first to introduce diamond engagement rings to Japan.

Jeweler Miwa was the first to introduce diamond engagement rings to Japan.

Takashima
How many years has the shop been open?
Miwa
It’s been about 100 years since we first opened the shop in 1915, and I’m going on my 55th year as president. The shop moved to its current location in Ginza just before the Tokyo Olympics (in 1964).
Takashima
Were you a specialty jeweler from the very beginning?
Miwa
Yes. At the time, precious stones could not be officially imported to Japan. We were finally allowed to officially import them at around the end of the Olympics, but most gem vendors were watch shops or glasses shops. It was extremely rare for a store to specialize only in gems from the start. We also began pearl aquaculture business in 1954, and it was even rarer for a shop to specialize in both gems and pearls.
Takashima
That’s amazing. When I got married, I received an engagement ring. I heard that this custom was started in Japan by Miwa.
Miwa
I thought it would be a good idea to try the custom of giving engagement rings, that was originally commonplace overseas, in Japan as well. Miwa was the first shop to introduce diamond engagement rings to Japan.

I want people to love their gems and treasure them forever.

Takashima
Did you experience any particularly memorable episodes when buying gems?
Miwa
One of our VIP customers was extremely fond of precious stones, and I once had the opportunity to go with her to countries of origin as a connoisseur.
Takashima
No kidding! I would love to go.
Miwa
Yes, but it was sometimes dangerous. I was told to fear for my life when I left the hotel to buy gems. I was also pick pocketed.
Takashima
It sounds like a tough trade. I get the feeling that most women want diamonds, but are there trends for precious stones as well?
Miwa
Not at the moment. It is more that people are choosing gems that they have a personal liking for.
Takashima
I understand the feeling. As a violinist, of course I pick violins with great sound, but I’m also the type of person who strongly focuses on my first impression. When I was looking for an engagement ring, I was recommended a high-grade diamond, but it did not impress me at all.
Gems seem to have mysterious connections.
Miwa
Yes, they certainly do. You can feel something is there in them. For example, legend has it that blue diamonds bring bad luck to those who get one. Or the opposite — some people say good things have happened to them by holding a precious stone. Perhaps it’s all in the mind, but I think it’s the mystery of the stones. I want people to love their gems and treasure them forever.

Exterior of the main branch of Jeweler Miwa in Ginza

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Hatsuko西銀座駐車場/マロニエゲート銀座
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みずほ銀行 銀座通支店/ギンザのサヱグサ/三井住友銀行 銀座支店/
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