LONG-STANDING COMPANIES IN SUGINAMI
There are a number of long-standing shops and companies in Suginami that have survived great difficulties, including wars and recessions. Among those long-standing shops and companies, here we introduce four of them. Through their history, you can see the effort it took for their businesses to survive so long.
Chikuseido (bamboo craft workshop)
Founded in 1907
Address : 3 Chome-1-2 Shimo-Takaido, Suginami, Tokyo
At one time when fields spread through Suginami, there used to be lots of artisans who made bamboo baskets to carry agricultural products, mainly vegetables. Chikuseido has been a bamboo craft workshop for 114 years. At present the third and the fourth generation owners run the shop. Around 1955, bamboo baskets fell out of use when containers made from chemical materials such as plastics and styrene foam arrived on the market, and the bamboo business suffered. They placed a decoration of a swan made of bamboo on their shop roof, and soon they began to receive lots of orders for billboards and displays, changing the their business direction. Nowadays they put emphasis on making daily utensils like cake plates or lamp shades. Inside their shop, various kinds of bamboo works are exhibited, and you can enjoy looking at those works. Chikuseido is an excellent example of a business adapting to the times to survive and prosper.
Izumi Craft Shop
Founded in 1947
Address : 5 Chome-26-7 Ogikubo, Suginami, Tokyo (*irregular business hours)
Izumi Craft Shop deals in “mingeihin,” practical handicrafts created for everyday life. Right after the Second World War, the shop started its business in Ogikubo. When Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku, which had been confiscated by the Occupation Army, began to resume their business, they opened their branch shop in the department. In particular, their “hana goza,” a bulrush-woven carpet, was so popular that it was sold out as soon as it was delivered. Today the branch shop is no longer in Isetan, however, handicrafts collected from every part of Japan are exhibited in the shop in Ogikubo. Once in a while, foreign customers who have found the shop online make a visit there, and the owner hopes many customers will enjoying using their handicrafts.
Marumiya Shokuhin Kogyo Co., Ltd. (food products)
Founded in 1951
Address : 1 Chome-5-18 Shoan, Suginami, Tokyo
Marumiya’s “Noritama” is a brand of furikake, dried powdery food that is sprinkled over cooked rice, and is loved by many Japanese people. “Noritama” is made of eggs, dried sea weed and spices. Noritama has been always the top share of furikake. Mr. Suekichi Abe founded the company when people were suffering from food shortage after defeat in the war. After his earnest trials, he created “Noritama.” Noritama was an explosive hit thanks to TV commercials and free promotional items like stickers.
Nowadays Marumiya continues to produce many kinds of furikake and ready made packaged food that goes well with cooked rice.
Iwatsu Electric Co., Ltd. (telecommunications)
Founded in August, 1938
Address : 1 Chome-7-41 Kugayama, Suginami, Tokyo
Iwatsu is a big corporation whose share is quite large in producing communication devices for institutional use as well as oscilloscopes. Mr. Seiichi Iwasaki, founder of the company, expanded his business to Tokyo in 1933. First, he noticed good possibilities in developing telephones to be used in railroad and mining. When the company was ordered to develop a radar by the army, he established its headquarters and factory in the vast field of Kugayama, Suginami. After the war the company shifted its gears from military industry to peace industry. For the first time in Japan, the company developed innovative business phones which no longer needed telephone operators. The street from Kugayama Station to the company is named “Iwatsu Street” in recognition of the companies great achievements.
The shops around you may have an interesting history. In Suginami there are many long-standing shops that were founded many decades ago. It may be interesting to look into the history of shops around you and ask shops or restaurants you visit, “How many years ago was this shop founded?” When you get the answer, you may be able to see the history of the shop that you have never thought of.