Contributed Article

"Showa Neon Takamura Kanban Museum" From Preparation to Opening
by Toru Takamura, Representative Director of Showa Neon Co., Ltd.


We are pleased to announce the opening of the gShowa Neon Takamura Kanban(Signboard) Museumh on March 17, 2006. on the second floor of our Shinagawa Headquarters. I would like to express my appreciation for everyonefs support for this accomplishment. On the opening day, a reception was held and was attended by many people from our industry.

At the museum about 180 advertising boards are displayed, most of which are antique ranging from the Edo-period to early Showa. Most of these signboards were collected by Goro Takamura, my father and the former president of our company. My father started collecting signboards in 1977 when he was involved in the compilation/editing of gJapanese Neon Signsh, a project of the All Japan Neon-sign Association. He wanted to include photos of old neon signs in a book depicting neon signs from each era. Unfortunately, he couldnft obtain photos since the old neon signs had been destroyed and replaced with new ones.

It was quite regrettable not to find any of the work done by craftsmen who put everything they had into creating outstanding signs. He decided to collect old signboards since neon signs were destroyed when they were no longer in use. These old signboards are considered to be gthe rootsh of our company which was started as Takamura Kanban Ten in 1921. My father who passed away three years ago always wanted to have a display space for these signboards so that everyone could see them. I was able to realize his dream and opened the museum after a short preparation period with the support of our interior decorator and advertising agency. Also, many of our employees helped me carry and exhibit the signboards since many wood signboards had deteriorated from the weather and termites and needed special attention.

We asked Mr. Kenichi Segawa, Chairman of the Japan Art Appraisal Association to research the period of each signboard. All signboards on our exhibition floor are grouped into epharmacyf, esake retailerf, egeneral merchandizef, estationary shopf, eBuddhist Altar fitting shopf, efootwear shopf and so on. Mr. Segawa was impressed with the volume and variety of our signboards and said gIt is quite rare to see so many signboards at one place and it is quite impressive.h

Since the opening, many people have visited the Showa Neon Takamura Kanban Museum. Also, we received a lot of information with regard to privately owned antique art signboards. It is my desire to add attractive signboards to our collection in the future, and exhibit as many of them as space permits. We hope to see the younger generation such as grade- and middle-school students come to our exhibit and have an interest and understanding of outdoor advertising through antique art signboards. We also hope to see many of you stop by when you walk around the Shinagawa station of the old Tohkaido road.


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