Showa Resurgence: Exploring the Allure of Japan’s Nostalgic Past

The Showa era, spanning from 1926 to 1989, is often referred to as Japan’s Golden Age. This period, encompassing the entire reign of Emperor Hirohito, witnessed profound cultural and societal transformations. Showa Retro, a term reflecting the nostalgia and charm of this bygone era, has experienced a resurgence in recent years, captivating contemporary audiences. This trend highlights various aspects of Japanese life, from fashion and design to culinary arts and entertainment, offering a rich cultural tapestry that continues to inspire.

What is Showa Retro?

Showa Retro encapsulates the atmosphere and phenomena of the Showa era, characterized by a blend of simplicity and vibrancy in design. This aesthetic is evident in fashion, architecture, and everyday objects, reflecting the period’s mix of traditional and modern influences. The appeal lies in its nostalgic charm, evoking a sense of longing for a time when life was perceived as more straightforward and community focused. Historical Context and Evolution

The Showa era was a time of significant transformation for Japan. It saw the lead-up to WWII, the devastation and hardships of the war, followed by a dramatic period of economic growth and modernization in the post-war years. This period, particularly from the 1950s to the 1970s, is often the focus of the Showa Retro revival. During these years, Japan experienced a burst of technological advancement and prosperity, leading to a lifestyle marked by modern luxuries and convenience.

Despite the challenges, the era was also marked by a sense of community spirit and resilience. As Japan transitioned into the digital age, the everyday items and cultural artifacts from this time gradually faded. However, the recent resurgence in interest highlights a collective desire to reconnect with the tangible simplicity and craftsmanship of the past.

Showa Revival in Popular Culture

Over the last decade, there has been a steady growth in interest in the Showa period. What was once considered tacky(dasai) is now embraced as retro chic. This wave of nostalgia has permeated every aspect of modern culture, from fashion and media to travel. The 2005 movie “Always: Sunset on Third Street” and its sequel captured the romanticized essence of the Showa era, resonating deeply with audiences. More recently, NHK’s morning drama “Toto Nee Chan” evoked a similar sentiment, highlighting the era’s sense of possibility and drive.

Businesses Capitalizing on Showa Nostalgia

Businesses have capitalized on this nostalgic interest with Showa-themed parks and shops. In Odaiba and Shibamata, Showa 30s theme parks draw visitors eager to experience the past. Showa-styled sweet shops in Ikebukuro and Yokohama, as well as retro bars and cafes, offer authentic tastes of the era. Regional areas like Atami and Ome have benefited from promoting their Showa heritage, attracting tourists with their preserved cultural landmarks and nostalgic atmosphere.

 The Contemporary Appeal of Showa Retro

The resurgence of Showa Retro can be seen as a reaction to the fast-paced, technology-driven modern world. It offers a sense of stability and familiarity, providing an escape to a time perceived as simpler and more community-oriented. Younger generations, facing economic stagnation and uncertain futures, find solace in looking back at a time of optimism and collective effort. This trend resonates with those who yearn for the tactile and tangible in an increasingly digital age.

Comparative Retrospectives: Taisho Romance and Heisei Retro

Showa Retro is part of a broader trend of exploring Japan’s past through different eras. Taisho Romance, which covers the Taisho period (1912-1926), is noted for its fusion of Western and Japanese aesthetics, reflecting a time of cultural experimentation and romanticism. The era’s desaturated color palette and intricate designs offer a nostalgic yet sophisticated charm.

Heisei Retro, on the other hand, focuses on the period from 1989 to 2019. This era saw significant technological advancements and cultural shifts. Comparavle to the widening popularity of “y2k” styles and fashion in the west, Heisei Retro celebrates the cultural trends and technological innovations that defined this time, such as Harajuku Girls, gyaru, and visual kei, providing a recent yet distinct retrospective on Japan’s rapid evolution. Together, these genres offer a rich tapestry of Japan’s cultural landscape, each with its unique flavor and significance.

Showa Retro serves as a bridge to Japan’s past, offering a nostalgic yet vibrant window into a bygone era. Its growing popularity underscores a collective yearning for the simplicity and authenticity of earlier times. By embracing the aesthetics and values of the Showa era, contemporary society can find inspiration and solace, reconnecting with a cultural heritage that continues to influence and enchant. This revival not only celebrates Japan’s rich history but also provides a meaningful counterbalance to the complexities of modern life.

Indulge with Luxury Handmade Aroma Candles from LA, Crafted in Japan

What is a Rose Quartz Infused Aroma Massage Candle?

Rose quartz is a pink-colored quartz, known in Japanese as “kōsui-shō,” “kōsekiei,” or “bara-sekiei.” It is the birthstone for October, symbolizing beauty and love. In Western countries, it is often called the “love stone” and is popular as a power stone, believed to foster love and serve as a charm for romantic success.

It is also said to enhance affectionate relationships and good interpersonal connections, which can lead to improved communication in the workplace and, consequently, better career prospects. The rose quartz is ground to a fine powder and blended with organic oils and waxes. This blend can be enjoyed as an aroma candle or used as a massage oil. Wearing semi-precious stones directly on your skin and enjoying the rich fragrance and flickering flames can become an irreplaceable experience and a special ritual. Another characteristic is that, unlike general aromas that contain alcohol or water, these candles use 100% natural essential oils.

Currently, the lineup includes combinations such as rose-based essential oils with rose quartz, lavender-based essential oils with moonstone, and mandarin (citrus) based essential oils with fluorite power stones. Among these, the rose combination discussed in this article is the most popular.

The glimmer of glass, which reflects the flame in a kaleidoscope of light, and the octagram (eight-pointed star) motif of the inner lid create an enchanting interplay of light and shadow that is captivating enough to make you lose track of time.

※ The octagram, an eight-sided figure, symbolizes completeness, regeneration, and infinite cycles, and is believed to bring good fortune.

Enhancing Your Space to Create a True “Sanctuary”

The role of interior design in our daily lives is significant, whether during work or leisure. By incorporating highly aesthetic elements like the aroma candles introduced here into the inherent functionality of interior design, which enhances efficiency and provides a sense of security, a space can truly transform into a “sanctuary.”


GARDE Official Website:
GARDE Design Magazine:

GARDE Celebrates the Grand Re-Opening of Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store

The Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store is scheduled to undergo a grand reopening in the summer of 2025. Seibu Ikebukuro, known for always being at the forefront of trends, will introduce a new design with a wide range of products in both the women’s and men’s categories under the theme of “INCLUSION,” reflecting the diverse and flexible nature of the modern era.

The store will depart from the traditional department store format, where women’s and men’s floors are separated, to create a free, open, and unified space. This redesign will allow various customers, including friends, couples, and families, to enjoy shopping together seamlessly.

GARDE is responsible for the concept design, including both interior and exterior elements, for this complete renovation project. The entire Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store, along with each individual floor, will be designed with the architectural concept of “Maison” (“House” in French), creating spaces that embody three key elements: “class,” “sophistication,” and “art.”

For more information on the reopening, please visit the following link:

Facility Overview

Name: Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store
Location: 1-28-1 Minami Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Scheduled Opening: In stages from January 2025
Sales Floor Area: Approximately 48,000 m²
Number of Stores: Approximately 380 stores planned

Upcoming Schedule

B1, B2, 3F (Basement deli section and cosmetics): Target January 2025
1F, 2F, 4F, 5F, 6F (Fragrances, jewelry, watches, and luxury items): Spring 2025
7F, 8F (Fashion, miscellaneous goods, event space, and art salon): Summer to Autumn 2025

GARDE for ‘CREVIA Ogikubo’ Offers a Retro-Modern Common Space Where the Present and the Past Harmonize

Ogikubo is a lively area with large commercial facilities and eight shopping streets in front of the station, offering a wide variety of items from fashion to gourmet food. Located a four-minute walk from Ogikubo Station, which is directly connected to the city center by four train lines, CREVIA Ogikubo was constructed in March 2024. The development aims to accommodate a variety of lifestyles in this unique location where the bustle of the station front meets the tranquility of a residential area.

GARDE oversaw the concept design, schematic design, design development, FF&E coordination, and art coordination of the common space, focusing on the harmony between the present and the past.

Design Concept: ‘Ogikubo Modern’

Ogikubo is a town nurtured by the accumulation of history and the creation of new culture. The area around Ogikubo Station, now 130 years old, retains an atmosphere that has remained unchanged from the past while incorporating new elements according to trends, the location, and the residents. This coexistence of nostalgia and newness has shaped Ogikubo into what it is today.

Many cultural figures, such as Osamu Dazai and Akiko Yosano, moved to this area, which was once called “Kamakura in the west and Ogikubo in the east” as a vacation spot in the suburbs of Tokyo. Today, it is still known as a high-class residential area with mansions.

These two contrasting aspects—the bustling city and the tranquil mansions—are expressed in the design concept known as “Ogikubo Modern.”

Design Highlight #1: Windbreak Room

The windbreak room features a continuous floor and ceiling finish extending from the building’s approach, creating a sense of unity. Upon passing through the automatic door, wall-mounted artwork imparts a sense of class. The symmetrical design of the mail corner allows for the integration of design elements that would typically be concealed by functionality.

Design Highlight #2: Lounge Space

The common space leading from the entrance is designed as a lounge area where you can spend your time leisurely, whether talking with friends or reading a book by yourself. Stepping into the lounge area, you can enjoy the luxury of spending your time as you wish, away from the hustle and bustle of Ogikubo Station.

Among the common spaces, the towering columns immediately at the entrance are complemented by benches placed along them, blending seamlessly with the design. Additionally, incorporating the L-shaped design used in architectural gate structures creates a seamless transition, embodying both the essence of the city and the tranquility of a mansion.

The wall construction, resembling thinly cut granite arranged in rows, is designed as a unique art piece where massiveness and detail coexist. The asymmetry of the design creates a hotel-like space that is both formal and casual.

Design Highlight #3: Art

To incorporate a contrast between the city and residential elements, we proposed a metal artwork with glossy and flexible lines that complements the stone wall while providing a striking contrast. The L-shaped design motif mentioned above was used to create a series of regular shapes expressed both horizontally and vertically. These large formations symbolize the building’s organic strength and the residents’ leap toward the future.

Ogikubo has long supported people’s daily lives with its elegant townscape and abundant greenery passed down through generations, alongside a bustling shopping district and commercial area that have evolved with the times.

The common space of “CREVIA Ogikubo” reflects the town’s unique characteristics with a retro-modern atmosphere where the present and the past harmonize. We hope that residents will enjoy using this space, which offers a sense of dignity and luxury amidst nostalgia, in ways that suit their lifestyles.

Designer Profile

Anna Nishigori
Design Division, Large-scale Facility Design Department, Designer
After studying interior architecture in the UK and obtaining her MA, Anna Nishigori joined GARDE in 2017. She was involved in the concept planning, schematic design, and construction documentation for the Kyoto Candeo Hotel and a new hotel in Osaka. Utilizing the interior architecture techniques she learned in the UK, she has been involved in various projects both in Japan and overseas, with a focus on hospitality design.

Facility Overview

Name: CREVIA Ogikubo
Location: 2-4-6, Amanuma, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Completion Date: March 2024
Owner: ITOCHU Property Development Co.
CREVIA Ogikubo official website:

Previous work by GARDE can be found at the following link:

Exploring Art in the Diverse City: A Tour at Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya

Discovering the Added Charm of the Facility Through “Art Appreciation “

Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya, the first entry of Hyatt’s hotel brand “Hyatt House” in Tokyo, opened its doors in February 2024 within the “Shibuya Sakura Stage,” one of the key facilities in the redevelopment project of the Shibuya Station area, often referred to as a once-in-a-century project. GARDE has been responsible for the overall planning, basic design, detailed design, design supervision, art coordination, procurement and installation, as well as the sign basic plan for the hotel, starting from the shared spaces to the guest rooms.

With a total of 125 rooms, each equipped with a kitchen, oven microwave, tableware, cutlery, and a washer-dryer, the hotel offers guests the opportunity to live as if in a residence, complemented by art inspired by the diversity of Shibuya’s streets, all within the latest facilities.

In this article, we will primarily showcase the art displayed in the common areas such as the entrance, inviting guests to experience a creative and enriching time akin to visiting an art museum.

First up is “Into Time 14 06 06” by Raphael Rosenthal, located in the entrance area on the third floor. This lenticular artwork (a sheet with a special lens processing that gives different appearances depending on the viewing angle, often creating a 3D effect) has been a series since its debut in New York in 2013. Showing changes according to the viewer’s movement, it is an ideal piece for the bustling entrance area where people come and go.

Continuing towards the elevator hall on the right-hand side, you’ll find a series of photographic artworks by Fumiko Imano, who has gained attention for her collaboration with the luxury brand “Loewe”, adorning the walls of the hallway. These artworks feature a series of photo montages where the artist herself appears as if she has a twin, created by cutting and pasting self-portraits taken with a 35mm camera. While it may be difficult to see in the image below, please enjoy her charming and fashionable artworks during your stay at the facility.

Upon arriving at the elevator hall from the entrance area on the second floor, you’ll encounter the mixed-media artwork “TRACE-SKY-Floating Clouds 08” by the sibling duo “SHIMURAbros”. This piece replicates the “sky” depicted in the movie “Floating Clouds” using Google Maps’ street view images as its source material, visualizing distortions such as power lines and seams between panoramic images. It’s captivating, so please be mindful not to miss your elevator stop while admiring it.

Upon arriving at the lobby floor on the 16th floor and descending from the elevator, you will be greeted by two pieces of Yukihiro Fujimoto’s organ works; V.-6-GREEN” and “V.-9-GREEN,” displayed side by side in the multi-functional room. On the right side, there are nine music boxes, each playing a single note, while on the left side, six music boxes, including one that plays “Wish Upon a Star,” are installed. Visitors can enjoy creating original melodies of serendipity by simultaneously winding each of the music boxes and playing them.

As you proceed towards the front side of the lobby floor, you’ll notice artwork by Dave Muller, an artist based in Los Angeles, on your left. Inspired by designs from old records owned by the artist, his works meticulously reproduce everything from price tags to labels of discontinued records, each with a unique flavor. The fact that the collection isn’t solely comprised of Japanese artists allows visitors to sense the international diversity characteristic of Shibuya.

Looking to the opposite side of Dave Muller’s work, two ceramic works by Kimiyo Mishima—a trend that is on the rise again—are placed on the front counter, as if blending into the landscape. In the foreground, Box Coca Cola Zero 22-3, a ceramic work in the shape of a Coca Cola Zero in a cardboard box, and Newspaper 20-6, a silk-screened transfer of a newspaper onto ceramic material, are elegantly and humorously natural, providing exquisite yet playful artistic entertainment perceivable to only the most discerning of guests.

Moving further in, in the interior of the main dining room, is MOSS CROSS TOKYO. The embroidered works by Mexico-based Gabriel Rico are detailed and bold, with a gentle sophistication that evokes a sense of folkloric nostalgia.

On each elevator hall of the floor where the accommodation rooms are located, a series of artworks by Fumiko Ishiba titled “2.5” is exhibited, featuring photographs of objects with lines drawn directly on their surfaces using a water-based pen. These works allow for the enjoyment of the unique presence of the objects by enclosing three-dimensional subjects with two-dimensional lines before photographing them.

While this area is not freely accessible to those other than users of the respective floor, it serves as a clever device that enhances the service with the uniqueness of art. It can be enjoyed as a recurring delight for those who use the floor multiple times and also acts as a subtle reminder of one’s floor when disembarking from the elevator.

The “2.5” series by Fumiko Ishiba also evokes fascination with its peculiar sensation between two and three dimensions, and the illusion of distance created by the advancing orange color as a background.

A personalized, culturally rich experience that transcends just staying, dining, and shopping.

The allure of Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya lies in guests integrating with the city, becoming intertwined with its culture encompassing art, music, fashion, and more. While this article has focused primarily on art, we aim to introduce other unique attractions in the future.

■Hyatt House
■Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya
■Official link for GARDE

Scroll to Top