Ginza cabaret closes after 87 years

Shiroibara in Ginza
Shiroibara in Ginza was known for its map of Japan out front that showed where the hostesses were from

TOKYO (TR) – A venerable cabaret in the ritzy Ginza district of Chuo Ward closed its doors for the final time on Wednesday in what indeed is the end of an era.

Since it opened in 1931, Shiroibara, meaning white rose, provided customers the opportunity to chat and drink with one its more than 200 hostesses in a throwback setting.

“Over the years, we have been loved by a large number of customers from all over Japan,” said a message on its web site.  We made it this far through the support by our hostesses and employees. Words cannot describe our feelings of gratitude.”

Born in the Showa Period (1926-1989), Shiroibara showcased its retro roots until the very end. With red velvet chairs in front of a stage, a live band performed during 20-minute shows that featured the hostesses dancing and singing while attired in wigs and a variety of ostentatious costumes.

Shiroibara was known for its map of Japan out front that showed from where the ladies on duty hailed — an opportunity for middle-aged men, who were the most common customers, to hear a dialect from a region of his choice.

Golden age

Japan’s golden age for the cabaret dates back to the 1960s, when there were more than 200 such venues nationwide. Until Wednesday, Shiroibara was the last cabaret in Ginza.

According to the site, the cabaret closed due to the deterioration of its building, which constantly required renovation work.

On its final day, loyal patrons lined up outside the venue for one last visit.

“We hope that white roses continue to bloom in the hearts of everyone,” the message said in closing.

Tokyo Style