Queue formed for 90th opening anniversary event at Fukuya Hatchobori Main Store: A-bombed outer wall exhibit also opens

(by Mayuko Matsumoto, Staff Writer)

On October 1, Fukuya, a department store in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, celebrated its 90th anniversary with throngs of guests lining the street in support of the store’s long history. To honor the day, the front entrance of Fukuya’s Hatchobori Main Store was decorated with a large number of carnations—the store’s representative flower—and Japanese confectionary was provided as a small anniversary memento to the roughly 500 patrons who stood in line for the store’s opening at 10:00 a.m. that morning. The store also prepared paper bags printed with carnation patterns for its customers.

On a wall next to an escalator, the store displayed a number of photos that showed the changes to the city center these last ninety years. Images included those of the restored Fukuya Hatchobori Main Store nine years after the atomic bombing. In the bookstore on the building’s 6th floor, staff members stamped customers’ shrine seal book with a gold stamp adorned with Fukuya’s Inari Shrine image. The shrine is located on the 9th floor of the building.

At the east entrance of the first floor of the building, the store is featuring an exhibit of A-bombed exterior wall tiles—open to the public for the first time.

Mayumi Hatamoto, 65, a housewife and resident of Saeki Ward, said, “Fukuya is the symbol of peace in Hiroshima. I hope the world will be peaceful enough so I may return to Fukuya again with my family for the store’s 100th anniversary day.” Ms. Hatamoto’s parents were exposed to the atomic bomb near Funairi-cho, Naka Ward. She would often visit the store with her parents since childhood.

Fukuya Department Store opened in 1929 to the north of the present-day Hatchobori Main Store building, and was the first department store in Hiroshima. In 1938, a new building was erected at the department store’s current location. Thirty-one employees were killed as a result of the bombing—the building itself was destroyed by fire. In February 1946, the store was partially reopened, commencing operations thereafter. In December 1954, the entire building was restored.

(Originally published on October 2, 2019)