Hakubundo has imported an array of merchandise for more than 30 years
Aug 27, 2015
Finding Your Niche: Japanese Bookstore Hakubundo
Nestled in the heart of the shops at Ward Village stands Hakubundo, a colorful gift boutique and bookstore that prides itself on curating the hardest-to-find Japanese stationery, magazines and anime.
As you step foot inside the storefront, if feels as if you've been transported out of sunny Honolulu and into the beating heart of a small book and gift shop in Tokyo. All around, customers and employees converse in Japanese. The level of service at Hakubundo is unrivaled and it's not uncommon for visiting Japanese and staff members to bid their adieus with a bow. The space itself, which is filled to the brim with the inventory, is awash in a spectrum of color as each piece of merchandise jockeys for your eyes' attention. There truly is no other store quite like Hakubundo.
While the Hakubundo as we know it today has been selling an eclectic mix of Japanese stationary and comic books since the 1980s, the original Hakubundo was an import company founded in 1910.
We take a lot of pride in finding the most unique items from Japan and bringing them to our customers in Hawai'i. In Hawai'i, many people want authentic Japanese things. And it can be very hard to find that here. So every Wednesday, we get a new shipment in from our parent company in Japan to ensure that our store is always full of something new.
"We take a lot of pride in finding the most unique items from Japan and bringing them to our customers in Hawai'i." says Aki Ohashi, the store's general manager, with a proud smile. "In Hawai'i, many people want authentic Japanese things. And it can be very hard to find that here. So every Wednesday, we get a new shipment in from our parent company in Japan to ensure that our store is always full of something new."
From Ohashi's point of view, it's true that the price of importing all of these specialty items from Japan on a weekly basis does add up, but the company is committed to consistently providing its customers with something new. "Yes, it can get a little expensive constantly bringing in new merchandise from Japan, but that's what makes our store so special. We take a lot of pride in our inventory and pleasing our customers…that's what makes us Hakubundo. Our customers really appreciate that we go that extra mile for them."
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