In the Edo period, when full-fledged advertising media did not exist as they do today, signboards and noren (shop curtains) were very important advertising media. Signboards were used to inform people of the existence of a store, convey its qualities, and win favor, and they express each individual store’s creativity. In the Edo period, signboards were literally the “face” of a business. In the Meiji period, signboards made mainly of wood underwent changes in material, and some were even made of glass. Signboards using katakana and romaji appeared, as did those with sophisticated designs. Even some of the symbols and characters that we still see today made their first appearance at the time. In the Taisho and early Showa periods, signboards became even more recognizable as advertising and secured their position as an important advertising medium.

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