Pochibukuro: Beautiful Japanese Traditions. Hiroku Kidoh.

Pochibukuro: Beautiful Japanese Traditions

5 x 5", 320 pp., 597 color illustrations, text in Japanese, cloth, d.j., Tokyo, 2003. Item #32711
ISBN: 4915743055

Pochibukuro are gratuity envelopes used to hold coins or folded bills. Their use was not limited to tipping in the worlds of entertainment and geisha and they were widely used in all walks of life. Pochi means "just a little" in the Kyoto and Osaka areas known as Kamigata, but the amount of money enclosed was not important. What were sealed inside these tiny, colorful, elaborate paper envelopes were the thoughts of the giver, his consideration and even his sense of aesthetics.

The Japanese have always paid particular attention to the designs and ideas behind utilitarian items. They have pursued finesse, adorned, strived to outwit, and expressed their spirit on items such as hand towels, talismans, votive tablets, and matchbox labels. At the apex of this playfulness are pochibukuro.


This book shows the collection painstakingly put together by Hiroko Kidoh of Tessaido, the antique shop in Nawate-Furumonzen, Kyoto. A colorful array of pochibukuro is featured here with some sets based on "Tokaido Gojusantsugi" (Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road) and "Kanadehon Chushingura" (Loyal Retainers). Other sets feature "Edo Kouta" (short songs), kabuki make-up and pictures of actors, masks, lanterns, and those hand-made by actor Shotaro Hanayagi. Please enjoy the certain craftsmanship akin to ukiyo-e prints as well as the essence of humor that grew out of modern culture. This book is the re-edited and expanded version of the one originally published in 1992.

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