Today, Komatsu Store is run facing the fashionable and elegant Ginza district, but when it was founded it was getting its start in a Ginza that would be unrecognizable to most people today. Komatsu Store was established shortly after World War II, at a time that was still full of uncertainty and plagued by shortages. Of course, Ginza was no exception. And so it was that Komatsu Store got its start in a more austere Ginza during a darker time.
Watching one restaurant after another open, the Kosaka family, which had been restaurant proprietors before the war, decided to try their luck at getting into a new line of business. Thinking that success could not be found in the restaurant business, surrounded as they were by clubs and restaurants, they decided to change business models. The new business model was Komatsu Store, the brainchild of the company founder, Takeo Kosaka, who conceived of a small-scale department store where “we’ll sell anything and everything that’s available.” The small department store became a reality. Komatsu Store was born.
The concept was to be as grand as possible. Believing that dreams for the future should be depicted as grandly as possible, even if initially only on a small scale, the founder, Takeo Kosaka, opened Komatsu Store as a store that sold dreams. The time was April, 20, 1946.
In his book, A New Kind of Merchant, Takeo Kosaka writes, “It may seem presumptuous, but we believe we are providing customers with dreams and new cultural lifestyles.” True to his words, Komatsu Store embarked on the challenge of running a small department store that provided its customers with dreams and culture.
Some examples of typical ways this was achieved include new lifestyle ideas in the form of Christmas season products, a novelty at the time, and point cards offering special discounts, something that people had never seen before. Komatsu Store provided many customers with things that were very novel and fashionable at the time, presenting them as new services, culture, and as new dreams. Over the years, Komatsu Store has varied the form and methods used in keeping with changes in the times, continually finding new ways to sell goods and provide new services. Despite the changes from generation to generation and year to year, this aspect of Komatsu Store has remained true to the founding spirit of the company. It has been passed down to us unchanged as one of the company’s core principles, although the exact way in which it has been presented to the customer has taken many different forms.
“Providing customers with dreams and new cultural lifestyles” may sound to some like hyperbole. Nevertheless, if you look at the approach Komatsu Store has taken since its foundation you’ll see that’s exactly what we’ve done—provided customers with dreams and shown the way towards new cultural lifestyles. We embrace this core belief to this day and will hold fast to it so that we may continue providing people who visit our store with dreams and new cultural lifestyles. It is our wish that customers visiting Ginza Komatsu sense Takeo Kosaka’s desire that they dream big.