History gets modern touch at Tokyo theme cafe

Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:14am EST
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By Chris Meyers

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Theme cafes that offer cats with your coffee and waitresses in Parisian maid outfits are a fixture on Tokyo's vibrant dining scene, but one eatery is delving back in time to remain relevant today.

Samurais and the 15th century Warring States era of social upheaval and political intrigue form the theme at "Mononopu," the newest cafe in Tokyo's Akihabara district, where waitresses greet patrons as royalty while wielding swords.

Mononopu's owner, Tatsuya Nagareya, said the theme was inspired by his fascination with history as well as the growing popularity of the past among young Japanese.

"I had heard about the current popularity of Japan's Warring States period, and I like history myself, so I decided to make a cafe based on that concept," he told Reuters Television.

There are history quiz nights for customers, and staff are encouraged to take up historical names. According to Nagareya, the cafe attracts more than the usual "otaku" or geek crowd, with patrons also including groups and couples.

"I'm majoring in history at university, so I was really looking forward to coming here," said Shouta Minami, a 21-year-old student who was in Tokyo on vacation.

"The store looks a lot more like Japan's history than I expected, which I thought was really nice," added 22-year-old college student Yuui Sakata, who was also visiting Tokyo.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)