Japanese Culture and Traditions: How to Make Beautiful Packaging

A present wrapped with furoshiki, Japanese traditional cloth for packaging

Cultural difference seen in gifting

In many Christmas movies, I have seen this kind of scene: Kids get up very early, hop out of their beds, and excitedly run torward present boxes placed under a Christmas tree. They are jumping at the boxes and eagerly tearing off the wrapping paper of their presents. I clearly remember how surprising it was when I saw such a scene for the first time. It’s a bad manner in Japan, but I later learned that people regarded it as a gesture to express a feeling of joy in Western culture.

Japanese rules in gifting

On the contrary, it is sometimes thought to be impolite in Japan to open up a gift in front of the gift giver, to say nothing of tearing off wrapping paper. Mind you, it’s not a religious taboo, and won’t be impolite if you ask for permission beforehand. Why is there such a big difference? How was the Japanese rule developed? As I have not yet found any convincing explanation, let me share my personal thoughts. I guess there are two reasons for the rule.

A present packaged with Japanese traditional cloth.
Photo credit: https://www.homebeautiful.com.au/the-japanese-gift-wrapping-method-you-need-to-try

Gift packaging may become more expensive than the contents

The first reason is kindness for present receivers. It’s natural for present givers to want to see reaction to a present, but what if present receivers don’t like the present very much? We are social animals who are not always allowed to speak our mind. In fact, I feel sorry for possibly making him/her pretend to like the present.

Another one is kindness for present givers. Sometimes we’re joking that Japanese gift packaging is more expensive than the content. Many people spend so much time and energy to select wrapping paper (cloth), ribbons, etc. In order to express appreciation, present receivers keep presents as they are beautifully packaged.

Our factory staff is packaging a dining chair.

Packaging of our furniture

We consider packaging is a part of the content in Japan. I remember this Japanese way of thinking every time seeing the packaging of our products. It’s not fancy like gift wrapping but carefully tuned so that products can be fixed inside and firmly secured. Our products can reach you safe and sound wherever you are. You can check out the movie of our packaging from the following button.

Conde House Packaging Procedure

Photo credit: https://www.invaluable.com/blog/furoshiki/

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.