Like any search for a holy grail, acquiring a piece of Goro’s handcrafted silver jewellery is shrouded in mystique: Even the most dedicated seeker may end up empty-handed. There’s only a single store, tucked inside a creamsicle-coloured building in the Harajuku district. Getting in requires savvy and serendipity, and sometimes waiting in an eight-hour-long lineup.
The origin story goes like this: the late Goro Takahashi first learned leather carving as a teenager from American soldiers stationed in Tokyo during the 1950s. Later on, this inspired Takahashi to travel to the U.S., where he immersed himself in Native American cultures, and picked up silver-engraving skills, including traditional Navajo techniques. He formed a lasting friendship with the Lakota people of South Dakota, who named him Yellow Eagle.
The experience defined his art, and a sacred feather became his signature motif. Takahashi, who opened his store in 1972, was credited with igniting Japan’s relentless demand for Native American jewellery. He crafted just a few pieces a day, so only a small number of customers would be allowed into his shop to buy any. As Harajuku’s streetwear scene took off in the ’80s, Goro’s cult status grew. So did the lines outside.