Art & Design

Behind the Scenes at Hankyu Department Store’s celebrated British Fair

5 June 2017, London

Join us for an evening discussing Hankyu’s British Fair concept, hearing from those who have been involved and looking at future opportunities.


Established in Osaka in 1929, the Hankyu Umeda Main Store was the first railway company ‘terminal department store’ in Japan. One of the biggest department stores in the country, it boats the largest sales in western Japan and is a hub for fashion and lifestyle trends. From its beginnings in 1970 as the ‘Traditional Royal British Exhibition’, the now ‘British Fair’ with its record sales figures has become synonymous with the Hankyu Department Store, and celebrates its 50th incarnation in 2017. The fair is not only a popular event selling British products, but also an occasion for its Japanese audience to enjoy British culture and lifestyle. In this sense, the Hankyu British Fair epitomises the role of the department store as a space for exchange and communication between producers and consumers.


The Japan Society is pleased to welcome Wataru Kuwahara, who has been responsible for the Hankyu British Fair for over 10 years. Mr Kuwahara will provide a backstage view of the fair and how it is planned and produced. He will discuss the image of British culture among the Japanese consumer and the role Japan’s department stores play in the Anglo-Japanese economic exchange at grassroots level. Also joining the discussion will be Keiji Hayashi from Hankyu Hanshin Express, who manages the local relationship with the exhibitors in the UK, and John Shepherd, Managing Director of Partridges, who has been a participant in the Fair. They will share their varying experiences and points of view to present a multifaceted perspective on the Hankyu British Fair and the opportunities it presents.


We are very grateful to The Frameworks, who are kindly hosting this event.


Wataru Kuwahara joined the Hankyu Department Store company in 1989. After working in the sales, marketing and planning divisions, he became the manager of the British Fair taking care of the planning and organisation of the event. In his free time, he loves running and watching sport. Edinburgh is his favourite city in the UK. When he visits London, he always makes a point of seeing Big Ben, his favourite spot.


Keiji Hayashi works as a project and business development manager at Hankyu Hanshin Express (UK). He joined the company in 2000 after working at Central Saint Martins, University of The Arts London.


John Shepherd is the Managing Director of Partridges of Duke of York Square on the Kings Road and has many years’ experience in the world of food. He is credited as being a specialist in this field and also provides consultancy to locations which wish to start up markets, with guest appearances on the BBC’s Apprentice, Sky’s Cooks to Market as well as a column in Speciality Food Magazine. John attended and participated in the Hankyu Fair in 2007 when he was the President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association.


To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email

5 June 2017, 6.30pm

The Frameworks, 4th Floor Nutmeg House, 60 Gainsford Street, London SE1 2NY

Tel:020 3075 1996

The Japan Society, Partridges