Pioneer Helped Turn Her Family Store into Japan’s Biggest Retailer

Chizuko Kojima, who has died at 106, helped turn her family store into Japan’s biggest retailer.

Pioneer, Her Family Store, Japan

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit www.djreprints.com.

TOKYO—First her father died young, then her mother, then her older sister. At 23, Chizuko Okada inherited the job of running her family’s clothing store in Mie prefecture, Japan.

It was 1939, and war with America was just around the corner. Few could have foreseen that the little business would develop into Japan’s largest retailer by sales—or that a woman would be its driving force.

Japan Top Stories