Mitsukoshi's History


The history of Mitsukoshi began in 1673, when Takatoshi Mitsui, a kimono fabric merchant, founded Echigoya, in Edo Honcho (present day Tokyo). This innovative businessman introduced the sales at labeled prices concept to merchandising and sold fabric at whatever lengths his buyers desired. This made Echigoya very popular among its customers and the envy of its competition. From this humble beginning, Mitsukoshi has used this innovative approach to giving its customers the very best, and today, the history of the Company represents the accumulation of its efforts over more than three centuries to nurture a 'customer first' corporate philosophy, always searching for new and imaginative ways to meet the evolving needs of consumers over time.

1673 : Echigoya, a kimono fabrics merchandising company, was founded at Edo Honcho (present day Tokyo) by Takatoshi Mitsui.
Echigoya print/1673

Mitsui Takatoshi/1673

Nihombashi Main Store/1900

Hibi Osuke/1904

Letter of greeting/1904

New building featuring Renaissance-style/1914

Statue of an angel/1960
1683 : The store moved to Surugacho (the site of our present Main Store) and also conducted business as a money exchanger.
1691 : Established another store dealing in kimono fabrics and money Exchange, at Koraibashi, Osaka.
1893 : Echigoya was incorporated and became Mitsui Gofukuten.
1895 : Yoshio Takahashi became manager and started full-fledged reorganization of Mitsui Gofukuten.
1904 : The name was changed from the Mitsui family's Echigoya to Mitsui Gofukuten Co., Ltd. Osuke Hibi became its first senior managing director and went on to establish the company as Japan's first department store.
1907 : Opened the first restaurant inside the store and established the Fine Arts Department.
1914 : Completed the new building to house the Main Store at Nihombashi. This new structure brought the concept of the department store into a new age. The now famous massive lion statues that flank the store's entrance, soon became a landmark for shoppers as did Japan's first escalator inside its main entrance.
1923 : The Nihombashi Main Store burned to the ground during the Great Kanto Earthquake.
1925 : The Main Store was rebuilt and reopened. When the store reopened, the custom of collecting customers' shoes at the entrance was discontinued.
1927 : Opened Mitsukoshi Hall (presently Mitsukoshi Theater) at the Nihombashi Main Store. Held Japan's first fashion show.
1928 : The corporate name was changed from Mitsui Gofukuten Co., Ltd. to Mitsui, Ltd.
1929 : The Shinjuku Store was opened.
1930 : Opened the Ginza Store. The Nihombashi Main Store began serving lunches especially for children, at its restaurant.
1931 : The Takamatsu Store was opened.
1932 : The subway station, Mitsukoshi-mae was opened and connected to the basement floor of the Nihombashi Main Store. The Sapporo Store was opened.
1933 : The Sendai Store was opened.
1946 : The Matsuyama Store was opened, making it the first store opened following WWII.
1947 : Established Mitsukoshi Clinic, presently Mitsukoshi Welfare Corporation.
1951 : Began using floral wrapping paper designed by Genichiro Inokuma in all its stores.
1957 : The Ikebukuro Store was opened.
1960 : Displayed a statue of an angel, which is intended to represent representing sincerity, in the central hall of the Nihombashi Main Store.
1971 : Opened the first overseas store, Paris Mitsukoshi.
1973 : The Hiroshima and Yokohama stores were opened.
1980 : The Kurashiki Store was opened.
1982 : The Board of Directors' meeting dismissed Mr. Okada from offices President and Representative Director.
1982 : Opened the Disney World Store in Florida.
1986 : Prince Charles and Princess Diana, visited the Nihombashi Main Store.
1991 : Opened the first Shinko Mitsukoshi Store in Taipei.
1992 : Opened Mitsukoshi Etoile Store, in Paris.
1994 : Opened the Ebisu Store as the core of the Ebisu Garden Place.
1996 : Opened a new building in the Osaka Store to replace the one damaged in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.
Inaugurated the Mitsukoshi Credit Card System.
Launched Mitsukoshi's website on the Internet.
1997 : The Fukuoka Store was opened.
2000 : The Tama Center Store was opened.
2001 : The Kichijoji Store was opened, (but closed in 2006).
2003 : New Mitsukoshi, Ltd. was established by merging the five main stores at Nihombashi's Main Store with stores in Nagoya, Chiba, Kagoshima and Fukuoka.
2004 : Celebrated 100th anniversary of Mitsukoshi, Ltd. Opened the new Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store upon completion of a new building.
2005 : Opened Lachic as specialty store, in Nagoya.
Reorganized business operations at the Shinjuku Store under the new name, Alcot.
Awarded the Grand Prize at the Mecenat Awards 2005.
Closed the Osaka, Hirakata, Kurashiki and Yokohama stores as part of a 5-year medium-term reorganization plan.
Formulated and promoted our New Mitsukoshi Model for enhancing the value of Mitsukoshi brand merchandise.
2006 : Opened the Musashi Murayama Store for the first time as a `suburban store,' at the Diamond City mu (presently Aeon Mall Musashimurayama mu) shopping center.
Held the Brasilie Exhibition and the Kabuki Kimono Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi Etoile, in Paris.
2007 : Formulated and publicized our Mitsukoshi Brand Renaissance Six-Year Plan. Opened the Natori Store at the Diamond City airy (presently Aeon Mall Natori airy) shopping center, in Miyagi Prefecture.
Celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Fine Arts Department.
Celebrated the 280th anniversary of the founding of the Mitsukoshi Theater.
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