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Packaging of Gifts of Mitsukoshi Department Store Exhibited at Japan Museum SieboldHuis

June 22, 2016 Shopping No Comments Email Email

At Japan Museum SieboldHuis in Leiden (,The Netherlands, the packaging of gifts of Mitsukoshi Department Store is on display. The exhibition titled “Too pretty to throw away: Packaging Design from Japan” illustrates through museum objects, consumer items and gift wrappings, how past and present are united in packaging design. The exhibition is structured around three themes: 1) “Artistic Japan”; 2) “The Alchemy of the Everyday”; and 3) “Embellished Intentions.”

The “Embellished Intentions” theme is represented by the gift-packaging practices of the Mitsukoshi Department Store, one of the most exclusive establishments in the country. Gifts represent a major form of consumption inJapan and are of particular importance for the revenues of the department stores. The Japanese practice of gift wrapping builds on the tradition of wrapping precious objects, but in the contemporary context its primary function is to emphasize the intention behind the gift.

Exhibited Packages (ex)

1) 2015 winter gift of cookies

Reproduction of the wooden sculpture “Magokoro Tennyo” (Goddess of Sincerity) created in 1960 by Gengen Sato (1888-1963) for Mitsukoshi Nihombashi Main Store.

2) 2015 winter gift of cookies

Reproduction of the cover of December 1914 issue of the magazine “Mitsukoshi,” designed by graphic designer Hisui Sugiura (1876-1965).

3) 2015 winter gift of green tea

Reproduction of the cover of November 1913 edition of the magazine “Mitsukoshi Times,” and the cover ofNovember 1916 edition of the magazine “Mitsukoshi,” both designed by Hisui Sugiura.

4) Mitsukoshi signature “HANA-HIRAKU” wrapping paper

“HANA-HIRAKU” is the first original wrapping paper of a Japanese department store. It was designed by artist Genichiro Inokuma in 1950, which has been adored by many people for more than 60 years as a symbol of Mitsukoshi. We wrap goods our customers buy with HANA-HIRAKU to present them with the tradition and trust Mitsukoshi has nurtured.

Mitsukoshi HANA-HIRAKU Wrapping Video
A video showing “how to wrap” various gift items.


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