Hiroshima Magazine -Issue 01-5 INTERVIEW / READAN DEAT SEIMASA MITSUHIRO
Sep 01, 2022
“I think traveling is about creating a personal connection with your destination.”
READAN DEAT is a bookstore on the second floor of an old building near the Peace Memorial Park. From the south-facing window overlooking the street, you can just make out the gentle rumbling of the tram. The bookshelves are filled mainly with zines (sometimes called “little press”) which are not widely distributed and are often rare. There is also a small gallery inside the store where special exhibitions or talk events are sometimes held.
“Recently, the number of bookstores has been decreasing nationwide. The way I see it though, a bookstore is not only a place to buy books but somewhere to accumulate knowledge and see art and scenery that you might not otherwise be exposed to. You can have such experiences at a bookstore without leaving your comfort zone. I hope to continue to connect people from in and outside of Hiroshima by offering just this.”
Mitsuhiro Seimasa, the owner of READAN DEAT, speaks quietly with thoughtfully selected words. It was in 2014 that he quit the corporate life and opened his own store in Hiroshima, his hometown. In the years since, many memorable experiences have been had here, just like he hoped.
“For me, the COVD-19 state of emergency this year wasn’t all bad. It meant I was able to rediscover some things about Hiroshima which was I familiar with but maybe had never truly noticed. By switching up my daily routine I made a lot of new discoveries, like from biking slowly along the riverside, or visiting the islands by ferry. Thinking back, when I traveled, my senses were stimulated by the scenery, food, air, people I met, and other things that might not mean anything to the people who live there. After traveling there, I made sure to research an area’s history and culture. Through this process, I became very attached to the places I’ve visited. In doing so, I was also reminded of the appeal of my own hometown. I would like to recommend those coming here to leisurely enjoy Hiroshima’s scenery this way too.”
Seimasa talks as he pedals slowly along the Honkawa River path that runs between his store and the Peace Memorial Park. This path is lined with cherry blossoms, which fully bloom in the spring, much to the delight of passersby. This may be one of those places that reminds us that beautiful places like this certainly do exist in Hiroshima City.
“Hiroshima is like family to me,” he says. “There are many things I like here, but honestly, there are some things I don’t like too. But there are always aspects of your family you can’t help but dislike right? That’s part of why I think the city feels like a family.
Hiroshima people can be quite shy, but once you meet and chat with them, they are really kind and warm. I think it’s a comfortable city with relaxed people, lovely scenery, and clean ocean air.”
To travel in Hiroshima while living there. It could be likened to discovering something surprising about a family member for the first time. Every time someone travels to Hiroshima, I encourage them to gaze out that street-facing READAN DEAT window and chat with Seimasa about what he has seen beyond the glass.
Who knows what you will discover.
Mitsuhiro Seimasa decided to open his own business after t he Libro Hiroshima s tore closed in 2011. A fter working for two years at B&B, a bookstore in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, and a station bookstore in Shinagawa,he opened READAN DEAT in Honkawacho, Naka-ku, in June 2014.
The store mainly sells zines, photo books, and books on living and design, as well as ceramic ware and folk art . In addition to hosting special exhibitions in the store’s gallery space, they also hold talk events and workshops.
2-6-10, Hongawa chou, Naka-ku, Hiroshima Wada building 203