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Kunaisho Goyotashi, signifying a beni-ya and purveyor to the Imperial Household Department, Isehan-honten

Isehan-Honten Museum of Beni

Isehan-Honten Museum of Beni

Kunaisho Goyotashi, a purveyor to the Imperial Household Department (the predecessor of the Imperial Household Agency), provided products to the Imperial Household Department, or was licensed as a manufacturer. The designated manufacturers that were permitted to directly take orders from and supply products to the Imperial Palace were called Kinri-Goyo until the end of the Edo Period (orders from the Imperial Palace were called Goyo). Merchants and craftsmen had the honor of filling the role of Kinri-Goyo. After the Meiji Period, the name of Kinri-Goyo changed to Kunaisho Goyotashi.
Kunaisho Goyotashi licenses were abused for some time because they were status symbols for merchants. Many merchants who used the term “Kunaisho Goyotashi” outright claimed to be purveyors in advertising or falsely claimed to have a license on the label of their products. To prevent these abuses, in 1891 the institution of purveyor to the Imperial Household Department was established in the Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The institution had rigorous standards for admission, and only admitted tradesmen were allowed to use the designation.
Isehan-honten has provided beni to the Imperial Household Department since 1887. It initially supplied beni through Saburo Kurokawa, who ran a shop at Minamimaki-cho, Kyobashi-ku, Tokyo. However, after his shop closed in 1923, Isehan-honten started to supply beni to the Imperial Household Department directly. This signboard was displayed on the shop’s front as proof of being the beni manufacturer of a purveyor to the Imperial Household Department.

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  • Title: Kunaisho Goyotashi, signifying a beni-ya and purveyor to the Imperial Household Department, Isehan-honten

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