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. It means "Bookstore of Kii Province". The company has its headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo.
Kinokuniya was originally a lumber and charcoal dealer in Yotsuya; and after the 1923 Great Kanto 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. 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.
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 /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.
Books Kinokuniya is known for the immense size of its bookshops. For 10 years 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.
Overseas, there are 27 stores in total. They are located in:
- United States
- United Arab Emirates
- "Headquarters & Main Contacts." Books Kinokuniya. Retrieved July 25, 2011. "Dept.General Affairs Dept. 3-7-10 Shimomeguro Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8504"
- Sidensticker, Edward. (1990). Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake, p. 50.
3. Seidensticker, Edward. (1990). Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-54360-2
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