Vintage Japanese matchbox label, c1920s-1930s

    Newer Older

    If anyone knows what the Japanese writing says, please let me know. I would love to find out.

    crazymotherof4, ThePinkGypsyMermaid, and 6 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. gwashley 49 months ago | reply

      ad for a bistro,

      "カフエー パリー" = "Cafe Paris"

      "大森町" = Omorimachi, a district in Tokyo

      "鬼タピ通り" = name of a street in Tokyo

      The large kanji are a bit stylized, but I'm guessing they are "開店", the opening of a new shop, so maybe this was to commenorate the opening of the cafe?

    2. Rob Ketcherside 44 months ago | reply

      +1, what gwashley said. I've got a correction on the street name and some more context:

      - This is in the 谷戸 = Yato neighborhood of Oomorimachi. FYI, it's all backwards, so 戸谷・町森大 is really 大森町・谷戸, or Oomorimachi-Yato.
      - Oomorimachi = Oomori Town.
      - The street name is actually 鬼タビ通り. That's "bi", not "pi". Normally the street is written 鬼足袋通り = Onitabidoori = Onitabi Street ~~ Demon Boot Street. FWIW, it was named after a tabi company that used to have a factory here.

      Here's the modern street on Google Maps.

      This is currently part of Oota Ward (大田区) in Tokyo Prefecture. Yato isn't on the map anymore, but the original shrine is still there and the local police box is still called Yato. "Oomorimachi - Yato" was an official address through Showa 7, or 1932. Up until that point it was part of Ebara County (荏原郡); after 1932 it became part of the city of Tokyo, and combined with other towns to become Oomori Ward.

      Another name that has changed is the street. If you look at the map you'll notice that Toho University is on the east side of Onitabi Street. Well, the Onitabi factory disappeared a long time ago (70s?), and now the street has been renamed (probably not an official name anyways?) after the university, 東邦医大通り = Toho Idai Doori = Toho Medical University Street. Both names are still used, partly because the bus line down the street is called Onitabi Line.

      So 1932 is your latest date. And I'm betting that it dates from after 1923 and the Great Hanshin Earthquake. This area was rice paddies until after the earthquake, when people fled the burnt rubble of central Tokyo to build a new life. The university opened in 1925. The cafe could have easily been built to serve the wealthy students. My guess would be late 20s to 1932.

      Another interesting point... according to the Wikipedia kafee article, Cafe Printemps was the first cafe in Tokyo, in 1911 in Ginza. I'm not sure how quickly it spread around Tokyo, but the switch from rice paddies to cafes shows the rapid urbanization of Oomorimachi. According to that article and the Showa Modern article, Tokyo cafes were a bit different from western counterparts: they had waitresses instead of waiters, and the customers were almost entirely male.

    3. crackdog 44 months ago | reply

      Thank you for all this info. This is really cool. I'm glad to finally be finding out more about these labels.

    4. Rob Ketcherside 44 months ago | reply

      Thank you for posting the images. I love research through objects. That last one I was looking at is astounding. A matchbook cover from occupied Russia! I took a deep look at Japanese addresses when I was working on a mapping product in Japan. This was a cool find.

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts