The Christian Science Monitor

In Tokyo rice shop, loyalty to a sacred staple

Loyalty to rice, loyalty to customer.

These are the driving motivations behind Koichi Ogawa’s tenacity as a Tokyo shopkeeper. “I’d be very sad if I had to close – I’ve grown up with this store,” Mr. Ogawa says of the Kinsei Ogawa rice shop, a trade that’s been in his family since the 1940s.

Located down a tiny street in bustling Shinjuku, Kinsei Ogawa has seen it all: The bubble economy of the 1980s whose deflation caused corporations to fail, but spared the mom-and-pop vendors supplying staples of everyday life. The 2011 earthquake whose tsunami washed away rice farms, driving up wholesale prices and forcing him

‘Rice as Self’            Loyalty to quality

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