HomeWhat are Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Store?Voices of Supporter Stores OverseasShin & Furoshiki Store : Conveying Japan's "iki-style" to Brazil through the five senses

Interview of Supporter Stores Shin & Furoshiki Store

Symbolizes Japanese culture and conveys Japan’s "iki-style" to Brazil through the five senses of taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch

Sao Paulo / Brazil

Located in the Japan House, the center for disseminating Japanese culture

Japan House opened in 2017 on Paulista Avenue, the main street of Sao Paulo. It was established by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of its efforts to strengthen strategic external communications. It has now become one of the city's major cultural facilities, with two million visitors through February 2020 before the pandemic began. Japan House offers a wide range of information on Japan targeting not only pro-Japanese communities but for others, aiming to promoting Japanese culture. There are restaurants, cafes and shops inside the Japan House, and the Shin & Furoshiki Store is one of them, with a selection of attractive local products. The owner, Sandra Fukada, a third generation Japanese-Brazilian, is the godmother of the store and her policy is to offer products that are “truly Japan.” ”Shin” means truth in Japanese. Although the product range is small, the owner is particular about quality and design. The main products are beverages (including alcoholic beverages), tableware, books, furoshiki (wrapping cloths), and dish towels. Sake, shochu, ume (plum) wine, Japanese whiskey and tea are displayed on the shelves.

Always select items with a fresh feeling

“Sake is booming in Brazil. Many sake brands are being imported and more and more people are researching sake brewers before purchasing. Since young people are looking for sake with a Japanese taste, with a focus on plum and yuzu sake, we want to continue our research and sell new items,” says Fukada. She visits Japan to do research on trendy items and reflects opinions of her collaborators living in Japan to keep the selection of the store fresh and attract and retain the interests of the visitors. The store is located just past the Japan House exhibition space, set in a liberating environment adjacent to the coffee counter and the reading corner of the library. It is truly the space for enjoying free expression designed by architect Kengo Kuma. The store staff greets customers in Japanese fashion-conscious attire. “The goal is not to sell the products. Everything begins with letting customers hold, touch, and feel the products with their hands.” Fukada educates her staff about the products and creating the store environment.

Impact of COVID-19

Shin & Furoshiki Store opened on December 5, 2017, the same year the Japan House opened. Five years have passed, but the store was closed for a year from March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, under the declaration of enhanced countermeasures. Even during the following year, the number of visitors to the Japan House was limited and the number of customers declined sharply. During that time, the shop began online sales via SNS and served as a hub for external communications, and it was finally able to return to normal operations in late 2022. Most of the customers are the visitors of the exhibitions and other events of the Japan House who are the fans of Japanese culture. Since admission to Japan House is free, visitors can come in the store casually. The most popular product is sake, which accounts for 30% of sales, followed by green tea (matcha, sencha, etc.). Fukada says the most important thing in product promotion and marketing is human contact. “The key is to let customers touch and feel the products with their hands,” Fukada explains. This is an ideal way in line with the store's motto, "Introducing Japan through the five senses.”  

Challenges in handling Japanese products; passion for the promotion in the future

One of the problems in handling Japanese products in Brazil is the time required for import customs clearance. The Brazilian government is making various efforts to speed up the procedures by introducing an electronic import customs clearance system and decentralizing operations. However, in reality, “Even after the goods arrive at the port, they are stopped for a long time in the warehouse until they are inspected, and even after passing the inspection, it takes even longer for the goods to reach the stores,” says the store owner. ”The inspection of alcoholic beverages, in particular, is very strict,” she laments. Fukada wants a full-scale survey of products that Brazilian consumers want, share the results among Japanese sake brewers and exporters, Brazilian importers and distributors, and retailers (including online sales operators), and strengthen their tie-ups. Even if there are delays in customs clearance, the quality and design of the Japanese products on the shelves of the store are unparalleled. “Japanese products preserve tradition and history. They are similar to crafts and art,” says Fukada.

The store’s new plan for 2023 is to exhibit and sell local folk crafts from each of Japan's 47 prefectures. “We want Brazilians to know about the Japanese style and richness of folk culture,” says Fukada.  

List of shops

Shin & Furoshiki Store
Avenida Paulista, 52 1º andar São Paulo SP Brazil
Tel: +55 11 94779 4177
https://www.japanhousesp.com.br/lojas/ External site: a new window will open.
https://www.instagram.com/furoshikistore/External site: a new window will open.