Tsutsumu: The Origin of Japanese Packaging

Hideyuki Oka


Concent, 2020. Softcover, 244pp., 7.5 x 10.5 inches


The pieces shown in the more than 200 magnificent photographs in this book are from the personal collection of Hideyuki Oka (1905–1995), a master of Japanese graphic design and advertising. Traditional Japanese packaging, known as ‘tsutsumu’, uses natural materials like bamboo, rice straw, hemp twine, paper, ceramics, and leaves. The familiar Japanese aesthetic sense and its resonance through traditional culture infuses even these everyday objects, all of which seemingly transcend their obvious function. The simple beauty and craftsmanship on display is remarkable, from bright green candies in a hand-hewn pine box to a ceramic orange designed to hold citrus miso.