🔖 4 min read

Imagine a sanctuary. It is a place where time slows down, the rich aroma of coffee mingles with the warm glow of vintage lamps, and the only soundtrack is the smooth, pulsating rhythm of classic jazz. This haven isn’t a figment of your imagination; it’s Eigakan, a legendary Tokyo jazz kissa (喫茶 – “kissaten,” meaning “喫茶店,” a Japanese term for a coffee shop or cafe) steeped in history and brimming with musical soul but this Tokyo Jazz Kissa needs Preservation. 

However, the future of this cherished institution hangs in the balance. Countless jazz kissas, like cherished vinyl records, succumb to the relentless march of gentrification and the natural course of time. This is where the Eigakan Jazz Kissa Project steps in, offering a unique opportunity to safeguard Eigakan’s legacy and usher it into a vibrant new chapter.

A Tale of Two Passionate Custodians

The project is spearheaded by James Catchpole, a renowned figure in the Tokyo jazz scene. Through his platform, Tokyo Jazz Site (TJS), James has tirelessly documented and championed the world of jazz kissas for over two decades. Moreover partnering with him is DJ (Hiroko) Otsuka, a seasoned producer, DJ, journalist, and educator who has breathed life into the Japanese jazz scene for just as long. Their combined passion and expertise make them the ideal guardians for Eigakan’s future.

But why Eigakan? This isn’t just any jazz kissa. Established by Mr. Yoshida, a former film director (Eigakan translates to “cinema” in Japanese), the cafe embodies the spirit of its namesake. It’s a place where the magic of film and the captivating world of jazz converge. Therefore beyond the meticulously curated selection of over 2,500 jazz albums, Eigakan boasts a handcrafted sound system for audiophiles worldwide. But more importantly, Eigakan serves as a cultural and social hub, fostering a sense of community and actively advocating for social justice.

Stepping Up to the Legacy: Why We Need Your Help

The Eigakan Jazz Kissa Project aims to raise ¥5 million (approximately USD 32,965) to secure Eigakan’s future. These funds will be used for crucial yet sensitive renovations. The goal is to modernize essential facilities while meticulously preserving Eigakan’s cherished character and atmosphere. We want future generations to experience the same sense of timeless serenity that has captivated patrons for years.

This project isn’t just about bricks and mortar; it’s about preserving a vital piece of Japanese cultural heritage.  Many of you, like myself, have likely stumbled upon articles about jazz kissas, perhaps even dreamt of visiting one. Now, you have a chance to be a part of the story, to ensure this unique cultural experience continues to thrive and that this Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation efforts are successful. If you are interested to know more about the Jazz culture in Tokyo, check out our article on Tokyo Jazz Joints.

Rewards Beyond Compare: More Than Just a Donation

Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation

The Eigakan Jazz Kissa Project offers a remarkable selection of rewards that go far beyond a simple “thank you.”  Imagine yourself as the guest selector for an evening at Eigakan, curating the musical journey for fellow jazz enthusiasts. Or, delve into the depths of Eigakan’s incredible record collection during a private exploration session. You can even sponsor a dedicated seat, a unique opportunity not encountered in James’ extensive exploration of over 300 jazz kissas!

Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation

No matter which reward you choose, you’ll be directly contributing to Eigakan’s survival. Your generosity will be met with a warm Eigakan welcome whenever you visit – a tangible reminder of the role you played in preserving this cherished Tokyo institution.

Beyond the Finish Line: Ensuring Eigakan’s Continued Success

Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation

The project’s success goes beyond reaching the funding goal. It’s about fostering an environment where Eigakan can flourish for generations to come. James and DJ Otsuka envision Eigakan not only as a haven for jazz aficionados. But also as a platform for emerging artists and a hub for cultural exchange. Therefore through curated events, collaborations with local musicians, and online content showcasing Eigakan’s unique charm, they aim to connect with a global audience and ignite a passion for this special world.

A Legacy Secured, a Future Filled with Jazz

Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation

The Eigakan Jazz Kissa Project is more than just a crowdfunding campaign; it’s a call to action for jazz lovers and cultural enthusiasts worldwide. Moreover, by joining forces, we can ensure Eigakan’s legacy continues to resonate, offering a sanctuary for music, community, and the timeless spirit of Japanese jazz. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary endeavour. Together, let’s make Eigakan’s melody echo for years to come. Back this project now on Kickstarter and be a part of Tokyo Jazz Kissa Preservation efforts.

Step into Tokyo’s Jazz Culture with the “Tokyo Jazz Joints” Book

While you’re lending a hand to Eigakan’s future, delve deeper into the captivating world of Tokyo’s jazz kissas with the “Tokyo Jazz Joints” photobook! Authored by James Catchpole, the mastermind behind the Eigakan Jazz Kissa Project, this stunning coffee table book offers a window into the unique atmosphere and rich history of these cherished institutions.

Published in December 2023, the second edition features 129 captivating colour photographs alongside insightful essays that bring the essence of jazz kissas to life. It’s a must-have for any jazz aficionado or Japanophile, capturing the meticulous record collections, the warm glow of vintage lamps, and the sense of community that defines these havens of music and coffee.

To BUY THE BOOK (2nd Ed./1st Ed. signed/1st Ed. collector’s) from German publisher Kehrer Verlag CLICK HERE. The book ships worldwide (excluding GB/NI).

UK BUYERS can buy the book from Rare MagsUnitomSetanta and Gloucester Road Books among others.

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