Modernized Revival of Edo-Period LunchboxesKyoto Students' Revival Efforts6 January 2015 - Education/University
Students learning traditional crafts and art in Kyoto are reviving lunchboxes used for picnics to appreciate cherry blossoms or autumn leaves in the Edo Period with a modern twist. Commemorating the registration of "Washoku," or traditional Japanese cuisine, as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the revival will take place in collaboration with the "Rimpa 400 Year Celebration Festival" this year. The students have worked to make whimsical lunchboxes that are easily portable for enjoying picnics in all four seasons. They aim to display their lunchboxes at the Japan Pavilion of Expo Milano this May, which has the theme of "Feeding" (Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life).
There are a total of 24 students participating from Kyoto College of Arts and Crafts, Traditional Arts Super College of Kyoto and Kyoto Architectural Super College of Design in Nantan City, Kyoto Prefecture. They have been elaborating on designs and concepts since last summer, using as their inspiration the collection of lunchboxes from the Edo Period collected in the lunchbox museum of "Hanbey-fu," a food store in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.
Edo Period lunchboxes are very fancy, such as a stone-mill-shaped lunchbox with a sake bottle attached to it, or a lunchbox that can be transformed into a Go board. Under the tutelage of Yoshiyuki Suzuki, creative director and son of Junko Koshino, as well as others, the students have developed designs, and will use techniques of traditional crafts, such as Japanese lacquer, woodcraft, Japanese washi paper and so on, to produce their lunchboxes.
There is a spring lunchbox with young women as its intended target that is a three-piece set including a multi-tiered lunchbox, basket, and stool. It can be attached to a bicycle, so young women can enjoy cherry blossoms with tea and Japanese confections after bicycle riding. The theme for an autumn lunchbox is "moon-viewing of Japanese-style girls." Developed with night moon-viewing on the Kamo River in mind, the proposed design is for piled rice-bag-shaped, divided lunchboxes to symbolize harvest, with a leather wrap that can be also used as a mat. A partition of Japanese paper will be also made so that moon-viewing can be enjoyed in a private space.
Koyuki Ishida, a second year student of Kyoto College of Arts and Crafts who is responsible for the autumn lunchbox, said, "A sense of appreciation for the four seasons was manifested in the lunchboxes of the Edo Period. They must have been cutting-edge designs in those days. We want to add an easy-to-use taste for modern people when creating the new lunchboxes." The four seasons' lunchboxes will be completed in March. Commercialization is under consideration.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)