The owner of a historic shop in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo announced plans to demolish the building and sell the land after having difficulty in maintaining the 150 year old property. Local residents have formed a group to oppose demolition and held a public symposium on December 17th to call for urgent action to protect the property.
The former Iseya Pawnshop, located alongside the Hongo-Kikuzaka slope, operated from 1860 to 1982. The property consists of three buildings including a 2-storey warehouse, shop and a 1-storey tatami room. The traditional warehouse dates from the Bakumatsu era, or the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate (1850s ~ 1860s) and was relocated from Shikihama in Adachi-ku to its current location in 1887. The tatami room was built in 1890 and the shophouse was built in 1907.
Ichiyo Higuchi, a prominent author of the Meiji period who is featured on the 5,000 Yen banknote, mentioned the store in her writing as she lived in the neighbourhood for several years.