Samurai Shokai

(c. 1894 - 1950)

Founded by Japanese businessman Yozo Nomura (1870 - 1965), Samurai Shokai was one of the most famous luxury shops in Japan during the early 20th century.

After abandoning his university studies and traveling to America and Europe, Yozo Namura moved back to Yokohama, near Tokyo where he opened a small luxury shop selling not only silver but also jades, lacquerware, silks and porcelain.

The company quickly grew and, to satisfy his international clientele, Nomura became a pioneer in offering a mail order service.

Sources of the time reported: “English is spoken in all the departments. Prices are marked in plain figures, and there are no misrepresentations. Purveyors to the Imperial Japanese Household, and to the chief Museums of the world. Wholesale and retail. Manufacturers and exporters. Mail orders a specialty. Recommended.” (T. Phillip Terry, Terry’s Japanese Empire, 1914)

Samurai Shokai exhibited in London at the Anglo-Japanese fair in 1910 gaining further popularity in Europe.

Due to the great Kanto earthquake in 1923, Nomura and his family had to flee Yokohama and were forced to close the business. Nevertheless he managed to quickly rebuild his business and also became the owner of the new Grand Hotel in Yokohama.

Yozo Nomura died in 1965.