Dream and Hustle

Takeaway on the New QFront Design at Shibuya Crossing

Sunday, May 26, 2024

If there is one structure that is the model and inspiration of economic empowerment, it is the QFront at Shibuya crossing. In my opinion, the QFront does not receive full recognition as one of the most significant modern buildings in the world.

I did not understand for the life of me why no one figured out this building—it connected with me when I first saw it and covered it in 2009. This building was an iconic tribute to a third space, a place to get away from home and work to meet, socialize, and reflect. I also realize we don’t have this kind of counterpart in the USA.

The only other place I personally visited, still not even close, is Trafalgar Square. Times Square is perverse and has no feel and huge criminal elements. The Las Vegas strip attempt is forced as well, and none of it has the vibe of QFront and the Shibuya crossing purpose as a commercial center touchpoint.

The QFront building features a huge jumbotron for video display, a Starbucks coffee shop, and a Tsutaya book store. Many people think this is the Starbucks building, but it is actually a Tsutaya bookstore, and Starbucks is hosted in its bookstores throughout Japan.

The purpose of this article is to help you take proper notes and takeaways from the new design that opened a month ago. I created our Toshikiso API in Japan, understanding Japanese innovation like the QFront building to create solutions back home. But my people turned on their own hard-working brotha and chose to chase charlatans on YouTube.  

There is a lot to be learned here, so you will have a new perspective on how the 21st century is shaping up.

The QFront building

The new, redesigned building has transformed into a center hub that is mind-blowing, to say the least. Here is the news video, and I want you to observe it. Then, we'll talk about the details.

Let’s talk about the setup

Shibuya IP Square B

This section is what I have noticed in Japan, which is a space for digital brands and media. Right now, this space if promoting an anime called Wind Breakers. This is the most critical thing I need you to understand from this article because this is the blueprint.

Japan releases a lot of media such as books, movies, anime series, video games, trading cards and they have a recipe on how to advertise digital and media.  Many of you are now digital-first entrepreneurs who need an effective method to promote your digital brands and Japan wrote the blueprint.

Notice the first thing you see are standees, which I dedicated a previous article to. Standees allow people to see characters from your e-book or mascot to take a photo with. They are very cheap and effective touchpoints. All businesses should adopt touchpoints, but digital media firms will need them for their branding to connect with their customers for engagement.  

The two video screens can show e-book previews or commercials and interviews that customers can look at and learn more about a storyline, a product, or a digital service such as a website. I have no idea about the floral display, but I would have promo giveaways for people, such as laptop and car stickers or bling bags for promotion.

While a gift shop selling T-shirts and posters is common in promoting digital brands in Japan, I only want to cover printed books or limited-print magazines that cover exclusive behind-the-scenes. For example, original notes, scribbles, and designs on the making of a product or brand—these are good stuff that show the journey to completion.

But looking at the picture above, you will see the biggest thing we are going to start covering more—food crafting. For the Wind Breaker series, notice they have unique beverages and meals related to the Wind Breaker theme. This is how themed maid cafes work: They sell special beverages and snacks, and cat cafes have cute cat-shaped cookies.

We are going to have to adopt this and do this. We need a special service in our community that can build branded cookies and drinks exclusively to represent our brand in addition to the gift shop.


The Starbucks on the 2nd floor has changed. In the previous version, I sat counter-side against the window, but I found it difficult to sit there because the sun shone directly on the windows, and it got very hot.

But they converted it as a popular hangout for tourists to stand there and take photos of the Shibuya crossing and cityscape. This is what a digital hub center is used for, and it gives people coming to your commercial center a space that they will remember. Many multi-story buildings in urban centers in America can be repurposed to be used in this fashion.

Entame Wonderland

What appear to be the music store but there is something I observed about the display – they are not shelves or racks, they are reusable dedicated touchpoints.  Notice each side of these displays has a video screen and an album cover next to a video screen. Below, you see front-facing products that can be music or other kinds of media

I want you to take away something from this picture – this is a digital-first business model and touchpoint. You can build these units yourself and lease micro-spaces as a co-brand space to allow digital brand owners to promote their books, albums, and even PZR009 subscription vouchers – I can just put collectible branded scratch-off cards or digital codes that can be redeemed similar to buying video game cards at Best Buy.

See, this building already provides two new digital-first showrooming ideas that you can adopt as a business model. Let’s get to more awesomeness.

SMBC Banking

I noticed some things when I saw the bank and the features they have.

I noticed the virtual assistant with buttons to handle customer service. In the video, you will see the avatar can move and greet the customer. I also see the receipt printer and the tablet on the shelf but don’t the specific purpose.

But here is the cool part—this can be used to purchase digital tickets or tokens and print out a QR code on the receipt printer. The tablet can also capture QR codes from the camera for redemption, a saved order, or a coupon/discount.

The cash stations are essential in Japan – they allow you to use your debit card to retrieve yen. In my journey, I will write a whole article on how I travel in Japan; I use the forex at the airport that is not the brand name one – the local forex gives the best rates. But it looks like they have this space set up to get yen when you need it at a tourist center – this is something that is also needed at digital centers for tourists to be able to pull money out, but in America, this may not work for safety reasons.

There is a vault area in Japan, and I don’t know how this vault works, but some of my readers who paid attention to what I wrote in the past years ago should remember something. I mentioned we vaulted gold in Japan, including our ADOS Liberty coins but I could not retrieve them because of COVID and a travel ban. But all it did was grow in value when I finally had the opportunity to go retrieve them.

If you decide to become a resident of Japan and do banking there, safe deposit boxes are a great way to store stuff and keep important things secure. I always felt safety deposit boxes are critical for the community to keep valuables safely secure. This is another missing component. However, in the digital age, it is possible to have secured digital vaults that can use crypto keys or cards to authenticate and access cold storage data.

Co-working Space

The co-working or shared space is new to me and believe this is a new installation at the QFront building.

In reality, you don’t need co-working spaces because there is so many good coffee shops around Tokyo to sit down and open your laptop or journal. As many people know, I use the bullet train Green Car from Tokyo to Osaka in the morning to do work.

This shared space appears to have some design cues that I really like. In the photo, you see a table with books on it. Remember, these can be magazines or photobooks that can be paid placement for digital media first to get to a user base to preview or buy.

If you look at the window section, I don’t know what co-working spaces look like, but I like the monitor that you can connect your mobile phone or laptop to for a bigger screen.

The Takeaway

The new QFront building is not the only one in the world with this level of awesomeness. China also has megastructures that serve a similar purpose as a digital hub.

We are looking at a future where these types of buildings will be built specifically for the same purpose you saw done with QFront at Shibuya. As stated, only Japan and China is there, other cities are not. We are looking at these structures where people worldwide can gather at these hubs and make 21st-century global moves.

People can use these hubs to create a worldwide presence. Digital nomads can work in these co-working spaces and network with other talent worldwide. These places can promote physical and digital brands as a business trade expo. But Toshikiso takes it a step further.

We will have these digital centers able to create business models, promote digital models, and facilitate the features of these new digital centers and hubs around the world. We can convert existing commercial buildings to hubs in the proper location.

This is where the future is going with these new paradigms of buildings, and the QFront building is a pioneer of this paradigm shift. We are looking at a future where these buildings will have their own utility tokens, broadcasting centers, multi-format offices and shared working spaces, retail and commercial spaces for both physical and digital brands, hotels, and hospitality spaces.

Regus is lacking, and WeWork is too off-based, but this is how Shibuya's future is shaping up. 


Ed Dunn

From Chicago West Side to Worldwide