A 122-year old jewelry store in Nagasaki will be demolished this month after the owner has decided to sell off the land. The Ezaki Bekko Store was founded in 1709 and, until this month, was Japan’s oldest tortoiseshell specialty store.

The two-story wooden shop was built in 1898 and has a total building size of 403 sqm (4,336 sq.ft). The workshop is located at the rear, with the shop located on the street side. The exterior design is a mixture of European and traditional Japanese styles. The store was highly regarded, having a royal warrant of appointment to the Imperial Household to provide fine pieces for Japan’s royal family. The Washington Convention in 1993 banned the import and export of tortoiseshell, making it difficult to source materials, limiting the future of these traditional crafts.

The building was registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property in 1998, but the heritage listing has recently been removed by the property owner.

The city had considered purchasing the building and land from the owner but could not reach an agreement on price.  After demolition, the owner will search for someone to buy the 1,400 sqm vacant lot. 

Update: The building was demolished and replaced with an 18-story apartment tower.


7-11 Tonomachi, Nagasaki City

The Nagasaki Shimbun, June 5, 2020.
NBC Nagasaki Hoso, June 4, 2020.