Tokyo Re-Discovery

"Love Letter Shops" in Shibuya

Aug 31 2015

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Back in 1950's - love letter translation at an alley behind Shibuya 109

Not many young Japanese girls today may have heard about "Koibumi Yokocho (Love Letter Alley)" that used to be located behind Shibuya 109, their favourite shopping mall.


Japanese women, in love with American soldiers stationed in Japan for Korean War (1950-1953), wished to convey their feelings but were unable to write letters in English. So they rushed to "Love Letter Alley" in Shibuya to get the help of translators operating their "shops" there.

The women had their letters translated into English, then the ones from their boyfriends into Japanese. The alley must have witnessed many women swing between joy and sorrow...


The Love Letter Shops went out of business as Korean War ended while the alley remained until late 1970s. Today, there only remains a sign that reads ''Love Letter Alley was Located Here.''

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Miss Echo (Translator)

Born and grew up in downtown Tokyo, she is the true lover of Tokyo’s traditional & unique culture. She does researches as she finds something interesting on streets.

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