The Showa Neon Museum is a museum owned and operated by Japan’s biggest neon sign manufacturer, Showa Neon. Showa was founded by the late Goro Takamura, who was also an avid kanban, or sign collector. The signs on display here are 180 of his most noteworthy signs dating from the late Edo period through the Meiji and early Showa periods, or roughly the late 19th century through the late 1920s or so.
While the vast majority of the signs here are traditional wooden kanban, there are examples of electric switches and circuitry used in very early neon signs on display.
Definitely interesting and best of all, admission is free!
- http://www.showaneon.co.jp/museumu.html (Showa Neon Takamura Kanban Museum homepage. Japanese language only.)
- http://blog.livedoor.jp/fank10jasu/archives/37876909.html (A Japanese blogger’s account of his visit to the museum. Features pics, including of the neon sign circuitry and switches.)
- http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066854-d8714379-Reviews-Showa_Neon_Takamura_Kamban_Museum-Shinagawa_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html (TripAdvisor.com’s reviews and info on the museum.)
- http://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/shop-sign-collection-in-shinbanba/7117 (Article about the museum at JapanTravel.com.)
- http://www.neon-jp.org/98/eng/neos95/museum.html (Article from the All-Japan Neon Federation’s website about Showa Neon’s museum.)