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Akihabara's original mom-and-pop electronics store is closing after 64 years

Radio Store set the stage in 1949 for the world's best place to buy electronics

Akihabara, commonly nicknamed Denki-gai or "Electric Town," has long been Tokyo's go-to location for all things electronic, with countless stores big and small dotting the streets since the end of World War II. A strip of tiny shops known as Radio Store was instrumental in establishing Akihabara's role in the city — the Allied occupants cracked down on black-market trading, and in 1949 a group of merchants decided to come together and sell their electronic wares in the same location. Radio Store has continued to operate ever since as a pioneer of the district.

But after 64 years of business, Radio Store and its nine current occupants will close down tomorrow, Saturday, November 30th. It's a casualty of Akihabara's shifting role in Tokyo, and the decreasing need for DIY electronics among most consumers. A message posted on the Radio Store website reads "Akihabara continues to transform itself, and through our desire for future development, we have decided to end our role from another era."

Most of the shopkeepers will continue business elsewhere in the area, but Radio Store's atmosphere will be hard to recreate — it remained a unique relic of Japan's Showa period, almost untouched by Akihabara's more recent drive towards anime and other goods aimed at the otaku. I went along to capture its last days.


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