Release | Takako Chiba
“Old Nagano Shoten”, a major merchants family in Ishikari
There were many rich merchants family from Edo Period to Meiji Period in Ishikari, where prospered from salmon fishing, such as Murayama Family who was the basho ukeoi* of Ishikari. “Nagano Shoten” is one of them.
*basho ukeoi is a system existed in Hokkaido where contractors run the industry in the area for the feudal lord instead of sending rice for land tax like other areas in Japan. This is because it was difficult to produce rice in Hokkaido at that time.
“Old Nagano Shoten” is the oldest wooden frame stone building in Ishikari CityNagano Shoten is a shop established in 1874 by Tokutaro Nagano who was from Echigo (Niigata Prefecture). They sold clothes, textiles, rice, salt, etc., and was like a department store today. They also brewed Japanese sake.
▲“Old Nagano Shoten” is the Ishikari Cultural Property. The left side is the store, and the white building on the right is a stone warehouse.
The building uses approximately 920 Sapporo freestones (81centimeter length, 30 centimeters height and 17 centimeters thickness) in the store and the stone warehouse. We can assume that they were extremely wealthy to hire such labor force to carry 920 stones from Sapporo at the beginning of Meiji when roads were not built enough.
▲Re-created signs of Old Nagano Shoten. We can assume that it prospered during Kaitakushi Period (Hokkaido foundation period) because signs have red star logos.
There are signs of products which Nagano Shoten sold in front of the store. To tell the truth, these signs were not re-created from the ruins; it was created from a picture at that time.
▲They reproduced the contents and fonts faithfully from this one picture.
▲He is the manager of Ishikari Board of Education Lifetime Study Department Cultural Property Team and Ishikari Sakyu No Kaze Museum, Yoshie Kudo.
According to Mr. Kudo, they reproduced details faithfully such as the size of signs and fonts, but there were things they could not find from the picture. For those parts, they imagined how it would be at that time according to historical facts.
▲This big sign in front of the store is also a faithful reproduction. It says “Chitose” but it’s not a local sake from Sapporo, it’s a sake brewery in Osaka.
Old Nagano Shoten is so much to see, but you can’t miss the warehouse in the next, tooNagano Shoten closed in 1955, and the building was donated to Ishikari-Cho at that time in 1988. Then designated as the cultural property of Ishikari-Cho in 1994. It used to be in Shinfune-Cho 7, but was relocated in 2007 due to the widening of the Hokkaido National Road.
▲Inside of the Old Nagano Shoten. They display products used to sell at the store such as textiles and alcohols. People can visit the stone warehouse next to the store from the exit in the back.
They changed few pillars and beams which were too old during restoration, but they did not add designs to make it look old. They use the new wood as it is. Because by doing that, people can notice which pieces are old and as time passes, those new wood will grow old and look good.
▲Signs printed on woods are Nagano Shoten’s logo. We read it “Kaku-Ni”.
You can visit the stone warehouse from the store. There are exhibitions about the history of Nagano Shoten and chests and supplies Nagano Family were using.
▲Inside of the stone warehouse.
▲The chest brought by the wife when she got married to Nagano Family.
▲The lacquerware also brought by the wife. It looks as if it were a brand new bowl. These are displayed inside the chest, and you can touch.
I found something interesting. It’s a paper saying “Introduction of people in business in Ishikari”, and you can find Nagano Shoten near the center of the second row. And above right of Nagano Shoten is Murayama Family who was said to be one of the greatest merchants in Japan at that time. If you see around their names, you will notice letters of “Fishing” everywhere. Ishikari was most prospered from salmon fishing around that period, and we can notice that there were many influential fishermen in Ishikari.
▲Introduction of people in business in Ishikari. It is like a business card advertising today. Of course, if people are wealthier, the spaces are bigger.
And another thing is the wrapping paper of Nagano Shoten. It prints the products they sold at the shop; the logo of “Hinode Masamune”, the sake brewed in Nagano Shoten, Japanese clothes, rice, fancy goods, Western clothes, and oil dealer shop. They also had their phone number “3279”. The wrapping paper was an advertisement for them.
▲The wrapping paper of Nagano Shoten. There are no other beautifully preserved paper like this.
In Meiji Period when salmon fishing prospered, giving and getting presents wrapped in this paper might have represented a certain status in Ishikari.
“Old Nagano Shoten” is built next to “Ishikari Sakyu No Kaze Museum” and you can visit the house with a ticket from the museum.
Related Link- Ishikari Sakyu No Kaze Museum
Hokkaido Likers writer Takako Chiba
Photo: Tomoya Suwa
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