Take a stroll through the Ginza Itoya Flagship Store in Japan

The Ginza Itoya flagship store  has been well-known for presenting high-end stationery ever since ITO-YA LTD was founded by Katsutaro Ito in June of 1904. Katsutaro Ito and his successors have continuously discovered and offered ideas and tools that bring ease to one’s life, aiding especially in the creative areas of life. In the 20th century, Japan effectively adopted the culture of the rest of the world. Ito travelled to various countries in Europe and America on the lookout for excellent stationery products, home accessories and miscellaneous goods from each country. He wanted to contribute to the development of Japan, and his idea was to place his new discoveries from all around the world in the front of the store.

The founder’s strong will has been carried on by each of the company’s successive directors who have run the business. This is also evident in the demeanour of 5th generation President Akira Ito, who explains his management policy as such: "We believe that stationery can be the tool that produces culture and provides us with time for creativity. For that to be true, the company behind those tools must constantly maintain its aspirations and curiosity, while also supporting national intellectual development."

 

Ginza Itoya’s purchasing department scouts markets all around the world on the lookout for high-end stationery products. The company targets corporate and private consumers through its stores, both domestic in Japan and overseas, while simultaneously marketing via the internet.

For the store’s post Covid-19 marketing management, President Akira Ito announced: “I would like to embrace our customers’ change of mind accurately and will make our stores into places in which one does not simply spend money, but into places of comfort filled with a cheerful atmosphere.”

Recently, Itoya has been further developing its own, original stationery and personal products. It offers them in the ten domestic Itoya stores in big cities in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, one Topdrawer store and ten stores in North America. In addition, Itoya also has affiliate stores: two concept stores and three collaboration stores with other leading manufacturers’ brands.

Yoshio Kambayashi, Senior Vice President of the Strategic Buying Division, explains the store’s recent management policy as follows: "The COVID-19 crisis has had many effects on our customer base. It has especially led to a decrease in the number of visitors from overseas. However, we served a great number of private customers, especially among people living in big cities. Furthermore, the online side of our business has grown rapidly, and we have felt the swift change to people’s lifestyles. To cope with these changes, swift adjustments were necessary, which we managed to implement successfully.”

Company Profile of ITO-YA LTD

 

Headquarters: 2-7-15, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Established: 16 June 1904
Founder: Katsutaro Ito
President: Akira Ito, 5th generation 
Stores: Japan – 10 Itoya, 1 Topdrawer stores
                                            2 Concept stores, 3 Collaboration stores
              USA  –  10 Topdrawer stores
Customers: 7,800,000 store visitors in 2019
Employees: 595
Website: www.ito-ya.co.jp

About the author

Makoto Fukuchi is Publisher & President of Nichima, Inc. in Tokyo, Japan. He was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1935, graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University at the Dept. of Administrative Management and joined Nichima, Inc. In 1960 he was nominated for Chief Editor of the monthly Industry journal Bungu to Jimuki (Stationery & Business Machines Japan) which has served the stationery industry of Japan since 1923. He became Publisher and President of Nichima, Inc in 1969. Makoto Fukuchi was one of three proposers for ISPA (International Stationery Press Association) in 1978 (Mr. George Tice USA, Monsieur Andre Durrieu France, Mr. Makoto Fukuchi Japan) and he worked as president of this organization voted by general opinion for 18 years.

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