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Apr. 27, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on May 17, 2012

Department Stores

The first department store appeared in Japan about 110 years ago. It evolved from a kimono shop. With their world-class goods, department stores soon became popular as centers of culture and of the latest trends. They also began featuring family-friendly attractions like large dining halls and rooftop amusement parks. The signature feature of a Japanese department store today is a group of restaurants on an upper floor coupled with an area in the basement where food is sold. These top and bottom culinary areas draw customers up and down through the rest of the floors. From concierges to personal stylists, Japanese department stores have always worked to meet the customer's every need. A few stores still even employ old-fashioned elevator operators.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is department stores. We'll see how they became closely linked with Japanese lifestyles and delve into their unique appeal.