Products from Quake-Hit Hokuriku Popular at Dept. Stores

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Events at Japanese department stores to sell products from the country’s Hokuriku central region, hit hard by the Jan. 1 powerful earthquake, are attracting a flurry of shoppers.

Many people are visiting the events to support reconstruction, as part of the sales revenue will be delivered to areas affected by the 7.6-magnitude temblor, which measured up to 7, the highest level on Japan’s seismic intensity scale.

Keio Department Store Co.’s outlet in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district held a sales event for products from Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures, both in Hokuriku, for six days through last Monday.

The event was planned last year to celebrate the opening of a new section on the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line, slated for March this year. Four business operators from the Noto region in Ishikawa, including a shop selling famous “Wajima-nuri” lacquerware, canceled their participation in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Still, the number of visitors was “more than expected,” a public relations official at Keio Department Store said.

Taiga Chida, 28, who sold “shishigashira” wooden lion masks at the event, said, “At a time when people related to Wajima-nuri are in a difficult situation, I want to help them as a fellow traditional craftsman.”

Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores Inc.’s flagship Hankyu Umeda store in the western city of Osaka held an annual event featuring products from Ishikawa from Jan. 11.

The store considered the possibility of canceling the event in the wake of the disaster, but eventually opted to hold it as scheduled, an official indicated.

“Customers cheered us up,” an official of a participating shop said.

Takashimaya Co.’s outlet in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, has decided hurriedly to sell traditional Japanese sweets using the “Notodainagon” red bean from the Noto region at a Valentine’s Day event from Thursday.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.’s Isetan store in Shinjuku will launch an event from Feb. 21 to sell Wajima-nuri products that escaped damage from the earthquake.

“I hope this event will be a first step for reconstruction,” said Haruhiko Daiku, 36, who will participate in the event. “I want many people to see the lacquerware that survived the disaster.”