Album of Japanese Matchbox Labels. JAPANESE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY DESIGN.
Album of Japanese Matchbox Labels
Album of Japanese Matchbox Labels
Album of Japanese Matchbox Labels

Album of Japanese Matchbox Labels

[1930s?]. Stock ID #139445

Collection of over 280 matchbox labels laid down in an oblong album. Album measures 15 x 21.5cm. Some labels are torn with a little loss to corners and edges and there is some wear to others. An attractive album.

The delightful images featured on these labels are largely advertisements of restaurants and cafés, but also featured are bars, drinks, a bank, barbers, pool halls, mah-jong parlour, petrol stations, inns, fruit shops, Western-style apparel and accessories shops, Shiseido, medicine, and so on. These businesses were located in Tokyo or the surrounding regions. Although none of the labels has a date, they are probably labels from the Taisho and early Showa Eras before the end of World War II. The kanji used in these labels is old one, which indicates that the labels were made before the end of the war. There are two labels advertising Showa Bank. This bank was established in 1927 after the Showa Financial Crisis to rescue depositors of and companies which had business relations with the failed banks. Showa Bank existed until 1944. There is one label advertising a movie, Tawamureni koi-ha sumaji 戯れに戀はすまじ (No Trifling with Love) which premiered in 1933. There are two labels advertising Kabuki plays at the Kabuki-za Theatre. One of them shows the play title, "Itō Hirobimi to Li Kō-shō 伊藤博文と李鴻章 [Itō Hirobumi and Li Hong-zhang]" This play was performed in 1933. Some of the shops and companies represented in these labels are still trading today. Examples of these businesses are Takashimaya Department Store, Shiseido, and a restaurant, Seiyō-ken. Matches started to be mass-produced from 1870s in Japan. Matches fast became one of Japan's major export products and attractive copper-plate printed labels with multi-colours first appeared in 1879. In 1889 the value of match exports exceeded a million yen and the countries of export included Australia. The continued rise in the popularity of Japanese matches was reflected in the rising revenue that these match exports brought into Japan. The export revenue total of a million yen reached in 1889 was more than doubled by 1892 to 2.2 million, by 1899 it was almost 6.3 million yen, in 1902 over 8 million yen and by 1905 the product accounted for 10 million yen a year in exports. By 1896, 75% of matches used in China were made in Japan.

Matchbox labels became a popular medium for advertising restaurants and cafes, and shops. During the Taisho and Showa era it was a common practice for businesses to have these delightful tiny advertisements as part of their marketing. The images included in this album are striking examples of the sophisticated world of design in Japan at the time. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 139445).

Price: $650.00 AU

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