Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Japanese bookstore that sells a single book

Morioka Shoten Ginza is a Tokyo bookstore that displays and sells only one book. True, the book it sells changes every week, so in a year it will have displayed and sold 52 different books. but if
The bookstore with one book, or 一冊、一室
you miss this week's book, you're going to have to try elsewhere.

According to the English-language website, "Yoshiyuki Morioka, the owner of Morioka Shoten Co., Ltd. Ginza had worked as a bookstore clerk for eight years in Kanda, a quarter known as Tokyo’s center of second-hand bookstores. Morioka then went independent, opened his own store and ran a number of exhibitions. This experience eventually led him to an idea of 'a bookstore with a single book.' He believed that a single book will offer deeper understanding, closer relationship with the reader and essential pleasure of book reading."

As the website states, the store is on the ground floor of the Suzuki Building, a building that is designated as historical architecture in Tokyo. It used to be the office of Nippon Kobo, an editorial production company led by renowned photographer Yonosuke Natori and others who were pioneers of Japanese graphic design. They were at the forefront in promoting graphic design as an essential factor of modern society, through running a photo and design magazine Nippon. The magazine was a state-directed propaganda organ, the first of its kind in Japan, reflecting political and financial circles. With photography and graphic design being Morioka Shoten's core, choosing the Suzuki Building was an appropriate choice.

While visitors who do not read Japanese may find the store's single offering to be of little value, a visit to the shop may stimulate valuable thoughts about art, design, books, retailing, consumerism, and more.

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