If your concept of a great bookstore is shelves upon shelves laden with hundreds of titles, this tiny, innovative bookshop in Japan might knock you down with a feather. It sells only ONE book at a time!
Located in a lane off the upscale Ginza area of Tokyo, the Morioka Shoten is the brainchild of book-enthusiast Yoshiyuki Morioka, who began his career as a clerk in a bookstore in the Kanda area of Tokyo, which houses many second-hand bookshops. In his years of experience, Morioka observed that avid readers and regular clients usually came in looking for just a single title. This gave him a creative idea for setting up his own business.
With financial resources at his disposal, Morioka decided to set up a unique store that would offer only one, single book for sale at a time, with multiple copies in stock, of course.
In May 2015, Morioka set up his bookstore in collaboration with Smiles Co. Ltd and Japanese branding agency Takram Design Engineering. The store was advertised as being based on the philosophy of ‘Issatu Issatu’, roughly translated as ‘A Single Room, A Single Book’.
The decor of Morioka Shoten is, like its merchandise, extremely minimalist. White walls and ceilings, an uncovered concrete floor, and a display table with a single book, changed weekly, that stands at the centre of the shop, making it look like an artwork to passers-by glancing in. An antique chest of drawers serves as a counter and desk for Morioka.
There’s often a small book-inspired art exhibition on the walls, and the store, like the traditional Japanese tea-rooms, often becomes the venue of intellectual reader-author exchanges when well-curated events take place here, attended by discerning, or just curious, clients from all over the world.