Okinawa Tourism Information:RycomAnthropology(OkinawaCity)Alocallandmarkremindspeopleofthemid-century

Rycom Anthropology (Okinawa City) A local landmark reminds people of the mid-century

post : 2016.10.20 09:00

Do you know where the first shopping center in Japan is located? The answer is PLAZA HOUSE SHOPPING CENTER opened in 1954 in Okinawa. After 62 years, the shopping  center is still sending messages all over the world through fashion, art and food.


Today, I would like to introduce “Rycom Anthroplogy.” The center's owner decided to open this shop to showcase memories of 60-year life of the shopping center. Rycom stands for 'Ryukyu Command headquarters' and was established in 1948. Back then, PLAZA HOUSE SHOPPING CENTER was servicing people who worked at headquarters and their families. The name Rycom is part of the history of the shopping center and the people of Okinawa.


Many pictures of Okinawa in 1950s are the work of Jitsuo Tsuha’s, the owner of KEYSTONE photo studio. Back then, Okinawan life was influenced by America. Ryubei Bunka (Ryukyu-American Culture) can still be seen in many ways in the central area of the island after 60 years. You can still feel the 'base town' atmosphere in Koza and enjoy the blend of cultures. Rycom Anthropology will introduce you to how to enjoy the fascinating days of old in five exhibits.

Photos provided by Rycom Anthropology

“PEOPLE” – Strong-minded survivors from right after the Battle of Okinawa

“DESIGN” – New designs for industrial products from the U.S.

“AMERICAN BRAND IN OKINAWA” – The takeover the American businesses such as A&W and Blue Seal ice cream by locals

“CULTURE” – Okinawan life including traditional culture that influences Americans living in Okinawa

“ARCHITECT”- introducing art works with geometric pattern. Okinawan art was called a mid-century modern jewelry box. Beautiful design blends of straight and curved lines are noticeable.


Photo exhibits show how people lived in the1950’s. Looking at the black and white pictures will take you back to a old Okinawa.



Other than pictures of Ryubei Bunka, there are books from overseas, like ASSOULINE from France for sale. Enjoy mid-century modern beauty with nicely displayed sofa and lights?


An old typewriter used for oversea business, clock, motorcycle, personal photos are also displayed. All items are worth a look.

Photo provided by Rycom Anthropology 


Not only just displaying old items, Rycom Anthropology provides cultural events from time to time. The events are not limited local culture.


Sapeur refers to “fashionistas” from the Republic of Congo. Even if they may not have enough money to buy new clothes, the Sapeurs are fashion fanatics who sport very expensive outfits. They are entertainers who encourage people. The true aim for the Sapeurs is peace. “Enjoy fashion and elegance; not fighting!” it is said. Paul Smith was impressed with the movement and used these unique ideas in his collection.

When people care about fashion and being elegant, the world is peaceful. The takeaway message from Rycom Anthropology may be a hope for peace through showing the history of Okinawa.  These photos  of PLAZA HOUSE SHOPPING CENTER may tell a story of peace.

Staff: Yoshino Matsuda (right), Yuta Namihira (left)


Please consider visiting the unique town of Koza and Japan's first shopping center, PLAZA HOUSE SHOPPING CENTER. This historical town welcomes you.



Rycom Anthropology


3-1-12 Kubota, Okinawa City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-933-1142

Admission: Free

Hours: 11:00 – 19:00, daily

Open Daily





Okinawa CLIP Photo writer: Noriya Fukuda