Gendaikigyosha: Time Traveling Café

By Maggie

An old-fashion building full of historic structures and designs shows a huge distinction among the modern buildings surrounding it. Several kinds of cakes and drinks are displayed on the counter. Each cake flavor can usually see in other restaurants, but the unique design and abundant stuffing make the food look different from usual.

Mitsuteru Onishi 

“Oh! Welcome to Gendaikigyosha,” A kindly old woman said enthusiastically. You can look around and take a seat. “Take your time, we won’t rush you.”.

“I wish I can live in a house like this.” Said a couple. “Lots of toys and plants for decoration. Let me feel comfortable staying here.” They looked around and talked about the interior while waiting for their food. Imagine how their future house will be and enjoying the restaurant atmosphere.

The Onishi Family runs a restaurant, called Gendaikigyosha. It is a coffee shop or a general store rather than a restaurant. They were trying to make it a place where people not only go for a meal, but also want to spend time gathering, relaxing, or enjoying the atmosphere. However, Onishi Family will fly to a foreign country for selecting interior decoration in a vintage decoration shop. They will seek various kinds of suitable items for their restaurant and would like to design the whole thing by themselves. Making a unique restaurant in the world.

Historic Kochi Firewood Boxes Table 

Gendaikigyosha is a chain of café in Kochi, since 1959, in Obiyamachi. It is famous for its unique design of architecture and different styles with special interior decorations. such as a museum café, an esprit of Europe, a farm, and other various kinds of concepts. In the beginning, the founder of Gendaikigyosha, Seicho Onishi, was a novelist before he operated the restaurant. Hence, he did not have any experience in brewing coffee or running a coffee shop. All the techniques he got are learned from the employees he hired. Up to the present, Gendaikigyosha operated 7 restaurants, 6 cafes, 2 general stores, and 1 bakery. There are still 14 different restaurants and stores nowadays. For these over 50 years, this cafe not only sold coffee and desserts, but also a variety of Japanese set meals and bread. They are constantly developing new products and coffee and making sure each dish varies depending on the style of the restaurant and the type of food served.

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The third generation of Gendaikigyosha president, Mitsuteru Onishi is the current manager for decades. After he graduated from university five years later, he started to take over the management company from his father. Mitsuteru as a manager nowadays supposed to organize the company, plan how’s the future going, give direction to employees, encourage them to achieve organizational goals, or provide suggestions to direct employees correctly. However, for Mitsuteru, what needs to be done as a manager is more than the manager should do.

“After I became president, I still ask for a shift,” Said Mitsuteru when he talked about the strengths of being President. “Grasping the situation at the site with my senses from the customer’s point of view. Because the responsibility to oversee the whole is the most essential thing for me.”

Soda with Cake

For most leaders, it is normal to show a great demeanor or emphasize how different they are from the employee. Hence, a psychosocial distance arises in this relationship. This may cause the leaders not to be able to notice what workers are thinking about. Also, hard to gain detailed information directly from employees. However, Mitsuteru does not think the same as the common people. He often takes a meal at Gendaikigyosha’s restaurant as a customer. Therefore, he can find out if there are dishes that he is interested in or check whether anything needs to be improved or not. In addition, he usually works at the restaurant and does what the employees normally do. Mitsuteru is most interested in staff working hours and working environment. He wants to experience how the people feel when they work there. Also, working in the restaurant several times enhances the relationship between him and the staff.

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Kochi Prefecture is a place where coffee shops are deeply rooted for local people to have a meal and communicate easily. Due to the fact above, Mitsuteru expects the special theme of each restaurant can let Kochi citizens more relied on, it when they want to have a place to relax. Nevertheless, each of the restaurants is given unique themes. It is necessary to retain the restaurant’s concepts, therefore the restaurant themes are connected with the dishes. In 2015, Gendaikigyosha won the second prize in the national Omurice Stadium. Since they are the restaurant representing Kochi, they choose to use all Kochi local ingredients to make omurice in the competition. This action made Kochi farmers feel more confident about their crops and thanked them for expanding Kochi’s products.

A small but cozy wooden house with a couple hugging each other and standing in front of it.

“We made it! This is just as we imagined at the time.” said a woman.

“Yeah,” The man replied and then held the woman’s hands walking into their house. “I guess we move all kinds of elements in Gendaikigyosha’s restaurant into our dream house. Not too old, not too modern, but full of memory.”



  1. I’ve also been to a cafe owned by Gendai Kigyosya, the atmosphere was lovely, and I enjoyed the time it took the food to be served!


  2. I love Gendaikigyosha too. After reading this article, I think I can enjoy Gendaikigyosha more than before.


  3. I have never been to Gendaikigyousya’s cafe but now I’m curious.
    And I’m addicted to coffee, so I wanna visit right away!!!


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