Amita Co. artists: Minai, Torahiko Kanamori, Takeshi

G. Ikoma [生駒時計店] (1870 ~ today)

Gonshichi Ikoma.

Gonshichi Ikoma (生駒権七) was born in 1850. In 1870 a shop under the name of "Daigondo" (大権堂) is opened at Yodoyabashi-suji (Koraibashi 4-chome), Chuo-ku, Osaka. The store's name was derived from the names of its founders: Gonshichi Ikoma (生駒権七) and Gonshichi Osakaya (大坂屋権七). In 1872 the shop manufactured and sold various accessories and souvenirs such as smoke pipes, hairpins, obidome (ornamental trims worn by Japanese women with their kimono attire), silverware, and crafts. In 1873 Daigondo began to import and sell watches. In 1882 six workers were employed by the shop. In 1897 the store was moved to Koraibashi 5-chome.
Gonshichi Ikoma was a honest, modest businessman and had a passion for literature. He lived a frugal life but at the same time used a lot of money for the good of the society and the country. In 1914, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Kurozumi sect of Shinto (Kurozumi-kyo, 黒住教) founding Gonshichi donated the cult a sum of 300 yen (~$5000 today).

The Daigondo store in 1870s (top) and its signboard (bottom).

Gonshichi Ikoma died in 1922. His grandson Rinnosuke (生駒林之助) replaced him as a manager of the company.
In 1923, the G. Ikoma Shoten Ltd. (株式会社生駒商店) was officially established. It became a joint-stock company, handling jewelry and domestic and foreign arts and crafts, and publishing product catalogs. The company was one of the first to start utilizing the postage services to deliver its orders to the customers.
From the end of the Edo period to the Taisho period, many people still lived in simple houses made of wood. During the Great Kanto Earthquake, that struck Japan in September 1923, all these buildings collapsed or were destroyed by fire. Reinforced concrete construction became the mainstream of construction in search of higher earthquake resistance performance. In 1926, a branch store construction begins at the intersection of Sakaisuji, which was the main street of Osaka at the time, and Hiranomachi, and is the present-day location of the G. Ikoma headquarters (the "Ikoma Building"). In 1928, while the construction of the Ikoma Building continues, the store at Koraibashi 5-chome is evacuated due to Midosuji street expansion works. Company suffers from a financial crisis.

The Ikoma Building in 1930: outside (left) and inside (right).

The construction of the Ikoma Building at Sakaisuji was completed in 1930 as a building with excellent fire resistance, with fire shutters on all windows and iron doors at the entrances. It was designed by Heizo So (宗兵蔵) from the So Architectural Office (宗建築事務所), who also designed Naniwa Bridge (Sakai-suji) and Kunijima Purification Plant. The building featured a rooftop clock tower, bay and round windows designed after a clock pendulum, and seven sculptures of eagles above the entrance (two locations) and on the show windows (five locations).

The G. Ikoma branch store in 1960s.

In 1939, nine years after the building was completed, World War II broke out. In order to make up for the shortage of metal resources the country enforces the Metal Collection Ordinance. Ikoma Shoten complied with the law and donated almost all the metal items found in the building, including the heating radiators and the stairs' brass parts. It is recorded that only the bell of the clock tower, which had been forgotten in the chaos during the war, remained. From 1944 to 1946 the Ikoma Building served for military industry purposes. The company's business in the building was resumed in December 1946.

The Ikoma building today.

In 1954 the company was renamed to Ikoma Clock Shop (生駒時計店) and is known under this name around the world till today.
In 1975 Kazuo Ikoma (生駒一夫) is appointed as president of the company. In 1982-1983 the Ikoma Building has been repaired and renovated.
In 1997, the Ikoma Building was designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
The G. Ikoma company is still active nowadays. It produces and sells watches, precious metal products, various crafts such as silverware, cloisonne, glassware, pottery, cups, trophies, medals and various souvenirs. It is the main supplier of Seiko, Citizen, Ohashi Metal Craft and other well-known companies. Nobuo Ikoma (生駒伸夫), a descendant of Gonshichi Ikoma, the company's founder, serves as CEO from 2002.

Addresses and locations
Examples (from the web)