The specialty store named “Isetan the Japan Store Kuala Lumpur” will open its doors in Malaysia this October. The store will open as the remodeled Isetan Kuala Lumpur department store located within Lot 10. The revamp of the department store is initiated by a local company set up by Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Cool Japan Fund Inc., a Japanese company with a goal to promote Japanese cultures to the rest of the world.

“Two and a half years ago when we just got set up, I met with Mr. Ohnishi, the president of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, and asked him if there was any possibility of creating an entire store themed after Cool Japan. We agreed that the Isetan store in Kuala Lumpur was the perfect location to kick off our collaboration project. Japanese culture is present in many countries, but our focus in on presenting the cool side of Japan to other countries. We thought that Isetan, an expert in Japanese fashion, would be the ideal partner,” explained Nobuyuki Ota, the CEO of Cool Japan Fund Inc.

The 11,000-square meter store space covering six floors will be designed by architect Noritaka Tange of Tange Associates and designer Yasumichi Morita, President and Representative Director of Glamorous co., ltd., both of whom handled the recent large scale renovation of Isetan Shinjuku department store, the flagship of Isetan Mitsukoshi. Most of the items on each floor will be products made in Japan and the interior will be imaged after a Japanese garden.

“As part of our company-wide 'This is Japan' project, it is important for our Kuala Lumpur store to play the role of diffusing Japanese culture into other cultures. The store will become a specialty store for promoting the Cool Japan theme, standing out among other Japan-related projects initiated by others,” said a rep from Isetan Mitsukoshi. Under four themes representing Japanese aesthetics, namely miyabi, iki, sen and so, the new store will propose products relating to food, lifestyles, having fun and learning.

The main entrance of the first floor will be adorned with an installation designed by architect Tsuyoshi Tane in collaboration with Kyoto Yuzen kimono brand “Chiso”. Singaporean Art Director Theseus Chan will be in charge of fashion, creating a partnership between Japan and Singapore. Also, products created by Fukagawa Seiji, Horiguchi Kiriko and other creators of products using Japanese materials such as bamboo, paper and lacquer will be part of the unique lineup.

The first floor will line up a mix of fashion items covering Japanese street, pop and mode cultures, from popular Japanese brands including Madstore Undercover, Y3, Porter, Onitsuka Tiger, Anrealage, Asobisystem, Strict-G, Kolor, Toga, N.HOOLYWOOD, Mame, Muveil, Taro Horiuchi, and John Lawrence Sullivan. A section dubbed “Find Japan” will also open as the space to propose trendy items created throughout Japan. A cafe in collaboration with Time Out Tokyo, a website serving as a Tokyo travel guide, is also planned to open.

The second floor will introduce everyday items created by Japanese brands such as Air by Tokyo Nishikawa, Uchino, Maruni Wood Industry, Nuno, Mina Perhonen as well as cosmetics brands such as Shiseido, Cosme Decorte, Albion and SK-II. Uka also plans to open its first beauty salon in Asia aside from Japan.

Japanese culture related events and services including a book store, academy and travel agency will be available on the third floor. The fourth floor will house restaurants and the basement floor will sell groceries.

The sales target for the first year is 12 million Malaysian ringgits, hoping to attract a total of 1.4 million customers.

“When the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry kicked off its Cool Japan project in 2011, we were not sure how we could participate in the project. However, after continuous internal meetings, we came up with many ideas, which eventually led to our overall company concept of Japan Senses and This is Japan. The Lot10 store in Malaysia is our first overseas initiative to promote Japanese coolness. We are very excited about the project, and our goal is to not only target the Malaysian market, but also the rest of the world,” added president Ohnishi of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings.

Although much smaller in size, a similar specialty store of 90 square meters named “The Japan Store Isetan Mitsukoshi Paris” is planned to open at the end of September within Maison de la Culture du Japon of Paris. The store will be designed by Tane of Dorell.Ghotmeh.Tane Architects in Paris. Similar to the event commemorating the renewal of the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store, wooden tea boxes will be displayed as part of the opening.