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Echigoya

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  • Founded: 1673
  • Japanese: 越後屋 (Echigo-ya)

The Echigo-ya was a major Nihonbashi retail store, focusing chiefly on the sale of kimono. In the Meiji period, the company changed its name to Mitsukoshi, and remains one of the most prominent Japanese department stores today.

Originally founded in 1673, the Echigo-ya was perhaps the first prominent merchant operation to sell clothes ready-to-wear, at their store, directly for cash. Prior to this, it was standard for kimono merchants to visit patrons at their homes. Other stores such as Shirokiya and Daimaru quickly adopted Echigo-ya's model, and by the 1690s, popularly published guides listed more than fifteen major retail clothiers in the city of Edo.

References

  • Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility, Cambridge University Press (2005), 272.
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