With the re-enactment of the Department Store Law in 1956, Komatsu Store was categorized as a mid-sized retailer, so to make a new start befitting its status, a decision was made to revamp the main store building, which had been in operation for ten years. A year of major construction work ensued as a result.
During this large-scale construction on the main store, an unexpected event caused a major stir, namely the news that koban (feudal-era gold coins) had been unearthed from the site. The happy news that koban had been unearthed from a Ginza construction site became headline news that swept the country.
One could hardly ask for a better omen than to find gold while rebuilding. What a bonanza! To have koban—gold coins—coming out of the ground you’re building on. That’s a great sign for the future success of the business.
The amount of gold found was considerable. In all, 208 Keicho koban and Kyoho koban coins were excavated. And, in addition to the oval koban, 60 smaller coins of a unit of money known as ichibu-kin were discovered. The person who found the coins while working at the site must have been completely astonished.
Komatsu Store quickly relinquished its right to ownership of the discovered treasure and, declaring it to be buried cultural property belonging to the nation, not private property, donated it to the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park, where it remains to this day. The decision to interpret these gold artifacts as part of the country’s cultural heritage rather than the company’s private fortune is true to the character of Komatsu Store, which is a company that values culture.
This incident of the unearthing of the koban, which occurred while the store was closed and the building under construction, was another case of Komatsu Store providing people with dreams, albeit in a different way than usual. In a sense, you could say things turned out the way they did precisely because of the fact that Komatsu Store has providing people with dreams as one of its core principles.
Construction continued smoothly after this stroke of luck. The completed new building was a large structure, eight stories above ground and two below, that was unrecognizable from its former self. It had a novel design for the time that situated the escalator near the entrance.
At the opening, the store held an exhibition of the koban that were excavated as well as a special sale to commemorate their discovery. The store would go on to continue launching a series of sales promotion strategies named after the koban, including a unique one called “Koban Ticket,” which was the kind of point card system that is well-kown today. Although adopted by all kinds of stores today, at the time, it was a new service, and the point card was made to look like a koban. And so it was that Komatsu Store had forged ahead into a new era.