The History and Traditions of the Mitsukoshi Corporation

Nearly 3½ centuries perfecting the customer experience

In 1673, Mitsukoshi established Echigo-ya, a traditional Japanese dress shop known as a gofuku store in Tokyo. This was the first retail location in the company’s long history. After more than two centuries in operation, Echigo-ya merged with the Mitsui Business Group in 1893, forming the Mitsui Gofuku store as a partnership.

Japan’s first westernized department store

In 1904, Mitsui Gofuku expanded its retail operations from a partnership to a publicly traded corporation, establishing the Mitsukoshi Gofuku Company, Ltd. The company publicly declared itself a “department store” under a modern corporate business structure and became the first westernized department store in the Japanese retail market.


Celebrating “Service with Sincerity”

By 1950, Mitsukoshi was approaching 300 years in continuous operation. To celebrate, the company commissioned the famous Japanese artist Gengen Sato to create a sculpture that symbolized the company’s motto, “Service with Sincerity,” for their flagship store in Tokyo. On April 14, 1960, after nine years of dedicated effort, “The Goddess of Sincerity” was unveiled in the store’s main lobby, where it continues to welcome guests to this day.

Mitsukoshi in the 21st Century

Throughout the company’s history, their success has been based on the uniquely Japanese tradition of omotenashi, defined as a complete dedication to perfecting the customer experience through courtesy and attentiveness. Today, Mitsukoshi is recognized as one of the world’s most exclusive retail brands. The company’s privileged position as a retail leader in Japan and throughout the world is based on its time-honored foundation of tradition that exists in complete harmony with the elegance and energy of our modern society.


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