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Books Kinokuniya (紀伊國屋書店, Kinokuniya Shoten) is a Japanese bookstore chain operated by Kinokuniya Company Ltd. (株式会社紀伊國屋書店, Kabushiki-gaisha Kinokuniya Shoten), founded in 1927, with its first store located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It means "Bookstore of Kii Province". The company has its headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo.
One of the company's goals has been to cater to the interests of not only local Japanese clients, but to a wider, more diverse clientele. This is why its international bookstores have focused on supplying a wide range of both Japanese and English books.
Kinokuniya was originally a lumber and charcoal dealer in Yotsuya; and after the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the business was moved westward to a new location in Shinjuku, where it was refashioned into a book store by former president Moichi Tanabe, opening with a staff of five in January 1927. He named it after Kii Province, given that his ancestor was a servant of the Kii-Tokugawa family; they are not related to the Edo Period merchant Kinokuniya Bunzaemon. On the second floor was an art gallery.
The building burnt down in May 1945 during an air raid, but reopened in December 1945. Over the next few years, more Kinokuniya shops opened around Japan. In 1964, headquarters was established in Shinjuku (the current Shinjuku Main Store Building). The bookstore was nine stories and had two underground floors.
In 2016, a document revealed discriminatory hiring practices by the company in the 1980s surfaced when it was published by trade unions.
Kinokuniya is the largest bookstore chain in Japan, with 56 shops around the country, in cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Sapporo. Overall, it has more than 80 stores in Japan and overseas.
Its first overseas store opened in San Francisco in 1969. Several other bookstores have since opened in the United States, in cities including Los Angeles and New York. It then ventured into the Asia-Pacific market, opening its first store in Singapore (Liang Court Store) in 1983. Shops in Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand followed suit. In 1996, Kinokuniya launched the first outlet in Australia, located in Sydney's Neutral Bay. It later moved to its present location in George Street in the Central Business District.
Since 2000, Kinokuniya in the US has capitalised on the growing popularity of Japanese TV / anime by stocking both English- and Japanese-language books and manga, as well as other Japanese TV / anime-related paraphernalia. The New York City branch in Rockefeller Center was the best-known, encompassing, lengthwise, an entire city block. A new store has recently opened on Avenue of the Americas, near Bryant Park, replacing the old store, which closed at the end of 2007. The bookstore located at 1073 Sixth Ave includes three floors. Along with manga and anime, the top floor has an in-store cafe with products from nearby Cafe Zaiya, where customers are offered a range of bubble teas, cakes and bento boxes. The middle floor concentrates on books in both Japanese and English while the downstairs area with a wide variety of art supplies and cards.
Books Kinokuniya is known for the immense size of its bookshops. For more than 10 years in its store in Ngee Ann City, Singapore, was the largest bookshop in South East Asia, until the opening of the new Gramedia flagship store in Jakarta in 2007.
Fellow international bookstore chain Page One (headquartered in Singapore) began as the magazine agent for Kinokuniya but later became independent.
In March 2019, Kinokuniya's Singaporean branch announced that the Liang Court store will be closed on April 21, 2019.
Overseas, there are 29 stores in total. They are located in:
- United States
- Arlington Heights, Illinois
- New York City, New York
- Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California
- Japantown, San Francisco, California
- San Jose, California
- Santa Monica, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Beaverton, Oregon
- Edgewater, New Jersey
- Carrollton, Texas
- Plano, Texas
- Austin, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Katy, Texas
- United Arab Emirates
- "Headquarters & Main Contacts Archived 2011-08-03 at the Wayback Machine." Books Kinokuniya. Retrieved July 25, 2011. "Dept.General Affairs Dept. 3-7-10 Shimomeguro Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8504"
- Seidensticker, Edward. (1990). Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-54360-2
- 紀伊國屋書店の強烈な黒歴史 暴露された差別的な「マル秘文書」 – ライブドアニュース. ライブドアニュース (in Japanese). Retrieved August 6, 2018.
- "Cafe Zaiya homepage". Cafe Zaiya.
- "Otaku oasis of anime and manga discovered in the Dubai Mall 【Photos】". SoraNews24. August 11, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
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