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Plaza House History

Plaza House History



Seventy years ago, a small island in the south of Japan was at the forefront of fashion

Rycom (former Koza), post-war occupied Okinawa.Under the subtropical sun, the scents of the world blend with the island.Here and now, it exudes exotic allure.

It all began with an aspiration.
Modernism with the heft of history

On 4 July 1954, US Independence Day, Hong Kong-born Charlie C. Shaun, who ran a restaurant and tailor shop on a US military base, opened Plaza House, which sold imported goods, and Getsuen Restaurant, the first Cantonese restaurant in Okinawa. On 31 December, Roger C. Williams relocated his brand Roger’s, which sold cosmetics, prêt-à-porter and a variety of luxury brands, from Shibatamura, Tokyo. Japan’s first shopping center, Plaza House, opened in Koza, Okinawa. Plaza House, designed by Danish architect Jørgen Schierbeck, features low, deep eaves that provide shelter from the intense Okinawan sun,a large car park and zigzag shop fronts that allow for dynamic circulation. It has become a symbol of fashion and affluence, with branches of Japan Airlines and other airline companies lining the street.In 1972, when Okinawa returned to Japan, Plaza House was designated as an approved duty-free shop and became a pioneer in Okinawan tourism;offering a range of folk crafts as well as luxury foreign brand watches, liquor and perfume. Roger’s fashion became the go-to for the well-off Okinawan madam.In 1975, the International Ocean Exposition was held, marking the golden age of Plaza House. In 1986, A&W Okinawa Inc. took over management and the current chairman, Yukio Taira, was appointed president and representative director.

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Our countless memories, lodestars to the future.

In 1997, the Plaza House Fair Mall was added, with three floors above ground and two below, nestled by the single-story building.In 2009, Yoshino Taira was appointed president, the fifth in the company’s hallowed history. Over the years, the company has faced a number of headwinds,including the abolition of the tourist tax system, the opening of DFS Okinawa and the departure of major tenant Okinawa Mitsukoshi from Okinawa. Nevertheless, in 2014, on the company’s 60th anniversary year,”Gateway to Ryukyu”, a gallery and antenna shop with a midcentury theme and photo exhibitions of Ryukyu-American culture were established. Not only did this set Plaza House apart from other shopping centers, it galvanized Okinawa. In 2019, undismayed by vacancies and in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Industry (METI), Plaza House opened Roger’s Food Market and Cinema Plaza House 1954. Beacons of the revival Koza Culture, they serve as centers of art, cuisine and finery in the community.As we celebrate our 70th anniversary in 2024, Plaza House is pondering on the question of what well-being means in an age where people live to the age of 100.We strive to learn the key elements of a long and happy life. In doing so, we hope to build unique and meaningful relationships between ourselves and our dear customers, between the shop and the town, and between the community and the world. Unbound by old strictures and basking in the warmth of freedom. May Okinawa in the Blue Zone, become a symbol of well-being. Let us, in this age of longevity, shine bright with love and kindness.

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