Lade Inhalt...

Arcade as Japanese Traditional Shopping and Business Culture

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz 2014 10 Seiten

Soziologie - Kultur, Technik und Völker




Arcades in Japan
1. Origin of the Arcade in Japan
2. Purpose of the Construction of Shopping Arcades

Arcade as a Space for Developing Positive Human Relationships

Risks Faced by Shopping Arcades and the Process of Removal




This paper will examine the roles and meanings of arcades in Japan. The so-called arcade, to some extent resembles the roofed galleries (騎廊) and shophouses (騎楼)that exist in East Asia and Southeast Asia. In Taiwan, roofed galleries are characterized by a continuous pavement and are known as Tingtsuzao (亭仔脚). In Japan, there are not any shophouses, however there are roofed galleries in which European style store fronts (passages) are a common feature. The style that covered a shopping street with an arcade has been usual for a business revitalization in Japan. That is, Japanese arcades were developed with the intention of revitalizing the economy. Such arcades also, happily, facilitate easy human relationships between merchants, sales personnel and customers. The paper considers the revitalizations and its realities of the shopping streets in Japanese inner-city, through showing the realities of many Japan's shopping arcades.

Roofed galleries and Shophouses

Roofed galleries exist in the Philippines, Vietnam as well as Taiwan. Tingtsuzao in Taiwan were initially introduced as a way of urban renewals by Japanese colonial administrators. In the 1910s, cholera, typhoid, and the plague spread in Taiwan. Streets were narrow and street drains polluted the cities. After 1912, urban renewal projects were carried out in order to widen streets and build sewerage systems. Tingtsuzao were set, instead, because the front areas of buildings were removed (Aoi 2005 211).

Roofed galleries in the Philippines' were founded in Bacold and Sillay, Negros Island. Roofed galleries designed in a distinct Spanish style construction are located in Sillay, although one of the two is newer as it was built in 1908: a typical opulent house characteristic of those seen at the turn of the 20th century. Also, in Vietnam, roofed galleries exist in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In Ho Chi Minh City, the roofed gallery area of the national department store in Nguyen Hue Street has been cleaned, however, motorbikes and goods can be found under the roofed galleries around Ben Tanh Market. Also, the Hotel Continental Saigon has a roofed gallery, and the history of the roofed gallery is surprisingly long as the French style hotel was constructed in 1880. In Hanoi, Trang Tien street is also the location of roofed galleries. In particular, there is the roofed gallery of Trang Tien Plaza which extends along the street.

In Singapore and Malaysia, shophouses can be found in many places. I observed shophouses in Ipoh, Penang, Johor Bahru and Mersing in Malaysia, in addition to Little India, Chinatown, Arab Street and Singapore riverside in Singapore. Most of the shophouses in Trader Markets located along the Singapore riverside were constructed before the mid-1880s. The shophouse styles were adopted from southern China. David G. Kohl states, “Villages in rural Kwangtung are often walled, and houses within the community share common party walls. Corridor-type villages are arranged with terrace houses built in two or more parallel rows, separated by narrow lanes between the rows of houses. A third type of village arrangement places houses in rows along roadways. In all cases, the houses are connected with a shared party wall, which bears the weight of the purlins and the single or double-tiled roof.” (Kohl 1984: 172) In addition to the description of villages as outlined by Kohl, I would add that the construction design ideas originated from the corridors of Chinese temples and furthermore, the eaves or tents of shops.

In Singapore, Stamford Raffles (1922) instructed that all houses built with brick or tile should have a uniform type of front, and "each house should have a verandah of a certain depth open at all times as a continued and covered passage on each side of the street” (Kohl 1984: 157, Yeoh 1996: 245). This design format was introduced in 5 foot ways in the roofed galleries in Singapore and the Strait Settlements.

Arcades in Japan

1. Origin of the Arcade in Japan

In 2009, the number of shopping streets covered entirely with an arcade in Japan totalled over 573. The city of Osaka, with a total of 70, has the highest number of arcades in Japan. The second highest number of arcades can be found in the 23 wards of Tokyo with the number totalling 34. The third is Kobe City with the number of arcades numbered at 29. Osaka has the longest arcade in Japan: Tenjinbashi Suji, which is 2.6 kilometers in length. The shopping arcade regarded as the oldest is named Uomachi Ginten Gai, Kokura, Kita Kyushu and dates back to 1951. However, the Takegawara Koji Arcade located in Beppu may in fact be the oldest Japanese arcade as it was already constructed in 1921. The arcade was constructed in order to prevent Beppu Spa's guests from getting their yukatas wet when it rained. The overhead of Takegawara Koji Arcade was covered with glass and resembled a street in Canton as described by Kohl. However, the overhead construction of the street in Canton featured bamboo slats for protection from the sun (Kohl 1984: 174).

The history of roofed galleries in Japan is older than the European style arcades seen in Japan. In Kuroishi City, Aormori Prefecture, merchant houses constructed with Komise (roofed galleries) during the Edo period (1716-1735) were designed to provide shelter from the snow. In Niigata, roofed galleries developed from Gangi, were designed in order to provide shelter from the snow, and can be seen on both sides of the mainstreet.

2. Purpose of the Construction of Shopping Arcades

An arcade is constructed for the purpose of increasing the number of customers to an area through creating a lively shopping street atmosphere. Prior to the 1990s, arcades functioned to provide shelter from the rain or snow, for protection from the sun, and for closing the area to cars. In addition, arcades contribute to maintaining the quality of goods. For example, in Kawasaki Ginryugai, an arcade that was constructed with stained glass was established in 1980. The arcade construction was carried out at a total cost of 450 million yen and was designed to create a deluxe shopping street where customers could enjoy shopping. During the summer season every year, Ginryugai celebrates tanabata matsuri (the star festival). In 2009, premium gift certificates were sold to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of the establishment of the arcade. Furthermore, Tanabata matsuri is famous in Sendai with Chuo Dori Shotengai the main street where the festival is conducted. The street, measuring 800 meters in length, is a wide, modernized and fashionable area. On rainy days, the arcade brings customers into the shopping street (Takahashi 2007: 24).

by author

In order to upgrade the amenities for customers, Kohama Shotengai, Osaka, renewed the old arcade and the colored paved street from 1999-2000. Subsequently, Kohama Shotengai was selected as “Ganbaru Shotengai 77”(Best effort for a shopping street out of 77 areas) by the Japanese Small and Medium Enterprises Agency. Kohama Shotengai is situated at the approach to Sumiyoshi Taisha (shrine): in the New Year of 2009, visitors numbered 2.35 million, and on the first Dragon day (based on the twelve horary signs) in every month visitors number 10 thousand. The shopping street has achieved success by means of holding a fair on the first Dragon day. In this type of way, Japanese arcades have contributed to revitalizing the local economy.

Arcade as a Space for Developing Positive Human Relationships

The construction of an arcade involves an enormous financial cost as can be seen in the case of Kawasaki Ginryugai. Therefore, many storekeeper's associations have relied on government funds. For example, in recent years the Japanese Government has offered subsidies in order to support the revitalization of central urban districts. The storekeeper's associations have used these loans in order to modernize or upgrade shopping streets. The use and return of loans by storekeeper's associations require power, strong will, business ability and cohesion. Generally though, there is a degree of rivalry and jealousy that exists between shops, and this results in the decrease in cohesion within a storekeeper's association and a shopping street. So, it is important that a storekeeper's association and a shopping street work together to strengthen their cohesion and cooperation. It follows that the arcade functions as a venue for the development of human relationships between storekeepers.



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
503 KB
arcade japanese traditional shopping business culture



Titel: Arcade as Japanese Traditional Shopping and Business Culture