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Books Kinokuniya

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Headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo
Books Kinokuniya Company in Shibuya, Tokyo
Shinjuku Branch of Books Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, Tokyo

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. Its name translates to "Bookstore of Kii Province". The company has its headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo.[1]

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.[2]


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.[3] 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 revealing discriminatory hiring practices by the company in the 1980s surfaced when it was published by trade unions.[4]

The company owns the Kinokuniya building of San Francisco's Japan Center mall and has drawn criticism for continuing to charge tenants full rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting businesses in San Francisco's historic Japantown at risk.[5]


Kinokuniya is the largest bookstore chain in Japan, with 56 shops around the country, in cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. 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 capitalized 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,[6] where customers are offered a range of bubble teas, cakes, sandwiches and bento boxes.[2] The middle floor concentrates on English books of all types, while the basement level houses Japanese books and magazines, as well as a wide variety of stationery.

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.

On September 22, 2017, Kinokuniya opened its first branch in Vietnam via Hanoi.[citation needed]

In March 2019, Kinokuniya's Singaporean branch announced that the Liang Court store will be closed on April 21, 2019,[7] while the Plaza Senayan outlet of Kinokuniya's Indonesian branch closed in April 1, 2021.[8]

Overseas stores[edit]

Books Kinokuniya store located in Breeze Center, Taipei
Books Kinokuniya store located in Siam Paragon, Bangkok
Books Kinokuniya store located in The Galeries Victoria, Sydney
Books Kinokuniya store located in Ngee Ann City, Orchard Road, Singapore

Overseas, there are 30 stores in total. They are located in:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Headquarters & Main Contacts". Kinokuniya. July 15, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2023. General Affairs Dept. 3-7-10 Shimomeguro Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8504
  2. ^ a b Kravitz, Melissa (January 14, 2019). "How Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya has evolved into a 'destination'". Amny.com. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  3. ^ Seidensticker, Edward. (1990). Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-54360-2
  4. ^ 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. News.livedoor.com (in Japanese). Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  5. ^ Tsai, Luke (October 20, 2020). "Japan Center Restaurants Grapple With an Uncertain Future". Sf.eater.com. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "Cafe Zaiya homepage". Cafe Zaiya.
  7. ^ Toh, Wen Li (March 18, 2019). "Kinokuniya at Liang Court to close after 36 years of operation". The Straits Times. ISSN 0585-3923. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  8. ^ "Jakarta bibliophiles mourn imminent closure of Kinokuniya store in Plaza Senayan | Coconuts Jakarta". Coconuts.co. March 29, 2021. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  9. ^ "Top 13 Bookstores & Libraries in Phnom Penh". Indochina.tours. February 20, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  10. ^ "Kinokuniya at Central World is still open, I miss you! Want to see it, come and find it!". Facebook.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  11. ^ "Otaku oasis of anime and manga discovered in the Dubai Mall 【Photos】". SoraNews24. August 11, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Geli, Bianca (November 18, 2022). "Japanese store Books Kinokuniya is now in the Philippines". GMA Network. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  13. ^ Agus, Ianna Gayle (December 16, 2023). "Fully Booked opens 2nd store in collab with Japan's Kinokuniya". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved February 2, 2024.

External links[edit]