Photo/Illutration The inside of the Moomin Shop Ginza in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on Dec. 15, 2022 (Shimpei Doi)

A new Moomin shop has opened in Tokyo’s Ginza district, offering high-end products and traditional merchandise related to the white hippo-like characters of the popular Finnish book series by Tove Jansson (1914-2001).

Moomin Shop Ginza, run by a subsidiary of department store operator Matsuya Co., is located inside the Ginza Inz 1 commercial complex near JR Yurakucho Station.

It deals in about 1,100 products, including mugs, kitchen utensils and books. Seventy percent of the items are imported from Nordic countries.

The store’s high-end products include Hakata clay-doll figurines, Mashiko ware plates, and wine glasses produced by Austrian glass manufacturer Riedel.

“We want our department store personnel to help make the shop a place to convey Nordic cultures and the Moomin world,” said Takehiko Furuya, senior executive operating officer at Matsuya.

The company plans to open about 10 Moomin outlets mainly in large cities in the next five years.

The Moomins are particularly popular in Japan, with several animated adaptations aired since the 1960s.

According to Rights and Brands Japan Co., which manages rights related to the characters for commercialization and other licensing aspects in Japan, the global Moomin-related market is worth about 94 billion yen ($723 million), with Japan accounting for 40 percent.

“They have established their unique presence in Japan as cute Moomins,” said Rights and Brands President Kumiko Ito. “But we also want to promote the literary and artistic aspects of the original work. The Ginza shop will be a store that will represent such qualities.”

As part of the company’s brand rebuilding efforts, all 20 or so Moomin shops and cafes that were operating in 2021 in Japan will be closed by February 2024 when their contracts expire.

Rights and Brands Japan will partner with another operator to open cafes and other outlets in or after spring next year.

Working separately from the Matsuya subsidiary, it will also set up 20 outlets handling more casual items by 2025.