Amita Co. artists: Minai, Torahiko Kanamori, Takeshi

Murakami Yoko [村上洋行] (1916 ~ 1945)

Murakami Toyo (村上豊候, in Chinese sources also 村上丰候) began his career as an art dealer by joining the Shanghai branch of the famous Kuhn & Komor company in March 1907, when he arrived to China from Japan. Working as an assistant, Murakami acquired necessary experience to open his own firm. After 10 years of work Murakami left Kuhn & Komor and in 1916 founded Murakami Yoko (村上洋行). "Yoko" in Chinese means "foreign company". Murakami was selling a variety of goods, importing them from Kobe (Japan) to Shanghai. The shop was located at the Palace Hotel on Nanking (today Nanjing) Road.

Example of a satsuma vase, imported by Murakami from Japan and sold in Shanghai.
Leftovers of the Murakami's sticker are still on the bottom of the vase.

Murakami Toyo imported and sold all kinds of metalwork, porcelains, lacquerware, pearls, turtle shell products, gemstones, ivory, paintings, prints, textiles, silk kimonos, gold and silverware. Usually Murakami imported already produced goods off-the-shelf, placing stickers with his trade mark on them and selling in Shanghai, but there were items that he made on order as well. Those are marked (through engraving or inlaying directly on the item) by "村上洋行" (Murakami Yoko).
In 1926 Murakami advertised his store as a successor of Kuhn & Komor, while Kuhn & Komor was still in business. Moreover, the trade mark of Murakami Yoko firm was extremely similar to the one of Kuhn & Komor.

Trade marks of Murakami Yoko (left) and Kuhn & Komor (right).

In 1926 Murakami's store moved from the Palace Hotel to the corner of Kiangse and Ezra Roads in Shanghai. In 1927 Murakami opens a shirt department in his store, which quickly becomes the main sales source of the company. An article from December, 1929 of The China Weekly Review says:
Another landmark on the shopper's route in Shanghai is the gift shop of Toyo Murakami, which perhaps has a finer selection of Japanese goods than can be found anywhere in the city. A wide range of curios forms the background for a generous display of tapestries, bronzes, lacquerware, cloisonne, articles of tortoise shell, objects in jade and ivory, damascene work done with the flawless perfection of Japanese artistry: these are but the fringes of the discoveries one can make in peerless array at Murakami's. During 1930's Murakami focused even more on selling clothes. In the kimono and shirts department of the store 15 employees were working by then, while in the arts and curios department only two, including Murakami Toyo himself. In May 1934 an exhibition of Japanese water-color paintings was organized by Murakami, displayed at the company's store. In mid-1930s company's capital reached 100,000 yuan.
In January 1943 Murakami organized an Ancient and Modern Woodblock Exhibition which lasted for a week and took place in his store at 270 Kiangse Road, Shanghai. In 1944, while managed by Murakami Toyo (村上丰候) and Murakami Hiroshi (村上弘主) the company's capital reached 200,000 yuan.

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