A joint venture by Yushodo Co. and Michael Steinbach
Is there a place in the world apart from the international book fairs where book lovers find rare and beautiful books, manuscripts, autographs, atlases and prints from all parts of the world and offered by some of the world’s best booksellers? Is there an antiquarian bookshop somewhere in the world where you can browse the shelves filled with modern firsts from the United States, incunabula from Europe, woodcut books from Asia, and children’s books, first editions, illustrated books, precious bindings, colour-plates and rare travel accounts from Australia, the United Kingdom, the Americas, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Austria and the Netherlands? Yes, there is such a place - in Tokyo.
The World Antiquarian Book Plaza is located in Tokyo’s city centre, only five minutes away from the central station and from the famous Ginza. The elegant rooms of this very special book shop on the third floor of Maruzen is open to visitors 364 days a year from 10 am to 8 pm. The Plaza is a joint venture of Yushodo Ltd. and Michael Steinbach Rare Books. Two years ago Mitsuo Nitta of Yushodo had the idea of establishing a place in Tokyo where antiquarian book dealers from all over the world could offer highlights from their stock. He laid the organization into the hands of Michael Steinbach, who is well-known as a rare book dealer on all continents.
22 dealers from 11 countries now participate in this project which crosses all borders, among them colleagues from the US, Australia and Europe. The items for sale cover all subjects and all periods of book and art history, including, for example, a rare Mercator atlas with over 140 woodcuts, an early edition of the Gart der Gesundheit with beautifully coloured woodcut illustrations, autograph manuscripts by Franz Schubert and an early edition of Andreas Vesalius’ groundbreaking work on anatomy. These are only some of the highlights in the Plaza’s showcases at the moment. “You can be sure”, says managing director Michael Steinbach, “that we will be presenting other gems of book printing within the upcoming months. The items for sale change every three or four months so that visitors always see something different in our shop.”
In November 2011 the World Antiquarian Book Plaza celebrated its grand opening with over 300 guests. The response was overwhelming from the beginning. “Visitors drop in every day”, says Michael Steinbach. “They appreciate our efforts to establish this World Antiquarian Book Plaza, which combines Western and Asian arts, culture and history through the cooperation of antiquarian booksellers from all parts of the world. It’s a kind of paradise for book lovers, right in the centre of one of the world’s most fascinating cities.”
World Antiquarian Book Plaza
Nihonbashi 2-3-10, Chuo-ku
10 am - 8 pm (open 364 days per year, closed on 1st January)