Four hundred years ago, Sukiyabashi was a bridge crossing the outermost moat of Edo Castle, which separating nobles and samurai from ordinary townsfolk. Post-war, it became one of the two main intersections in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza shopping district. In 1964, it was a dazzling hub of neon lights and advertising. On the left, Pekochan, the mascot of the Fujiya confectionery and restaurant chain appears imposingly over Harumi Street as a Nissan Cedric taxi await to cross. Wait, but what’s that over Pekochan’s right shoulder?
It’s a Toyota Crown suspended nine stories above Sukiyabashi Crossing, that’s what! The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed due to the coronavirus, but this Toyopet dealership ad promoted the second-generation sedan alongside the Tokyo Summer Olympics, pegging this image at early 1964. Meanwhile, the streets are filled with Toyota Crowns, Nissan Cedrics, Prince Glorias, and streetcars that have long since been replaced with subways.
As it happens, the large globe on the right was advertising for rival candy maker Morinaga. Behind it, just a few blocks away, the cylindrical San-ai Dream Center posts Mitsubishi’s triple diamond beacon at Ginza 4-chome Crossing, the intersection where Nissan’s Ginza Gallery stands. This is what the same view looks like today. Fujiya still maintains a presence at the same corner 56 years later, but there’s no Crown advertising for the 2020 — uh, 2021 — Olympics.