Friday, 12 October 2012

Konichiwa! Ogenki desu ka? Japanese packaging

Genki desu (:

I think everybody knows that I love anything to do with Japanese culture. Everything is so precise and delicate. If you've seen the Japanese film 'Departures' you'll know what I mean (watch it, if not only for the main actor)

I'm pretty sure my face did this when I saw the word 'Japanese' on the screen...

OTT happy face.

Possibly with a little celebratory *clap* who knows?

You just sit there knowing the designs that are about to appear on the screen will be intricate and perfect in every sense.

Traditional Japanese packaging arose by using whatever natural occuring materials were close at hand. These tended to be rope or rice straw which could be unwrapped a bit at a time as and when needed. Oak leaves were also used in order to wrap rice cakes. Overall they were free of excess and were simple designs using no glue. The packages became works of art in their own right. Consequently, it implicates a new persepective on the 'what is and what isn't supposed to be thrown away' society.

A characteristic of Japanese natural packaging is the process. It is often seen as a sacred ritual. ( I don't mean to go on about this but the film Departures also helps to express this point).

Such packaging would not be possible to create without handwork. The disappearance of this style of packaging is due to the fact it is painstaking to make and therefore cannot be easily mass produced.

Photo time...because I can only explain so much.

We were then given a task to create something using 'recycled' cardboard and rope to package three oranges. The packaging had to be completed in 20 minutes and could not contain glue or tape. We were encouraged to keep the designs minimalistic yet present the oranges in a way that was aesthetically pleasing.

Billy, Paulo and I came up with the above design, it didn't really work but at least we knew where we went wrong. It was also fun to do but my fat western hands just don't do delicate. The rope was plaited to give it more strength and was threaded through in a criss-cross shape. This, in theory, was to prevent the oranges from falling off the cardboard. However, when the packaging was lifted up the oranges fell out as they were not held in tight enough.

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