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Holiday Gift Guide 2018: For the Japanese Design Enthusiast

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Holiday Gift Guide 2018: For the Japanese Design Enthusiast

December 14, 2018

When it comes to goods that epitomize beauty in functionality, we look to Japanese design. Fortunately, a slew of Japanese-made goods are readily available online, for the enthusiast on your wish list.

Cast Iron Candle Stand

A sculptural cast-iron Hakuhoudo Candle Stand, made in the Iwate prefecture, looks stately on its own or with a candle perched on it; it&#8\2\17;s \$40 from Monolier.
Above: A sculptural cast-iron Hakuhoudo Candle Stand, made in the Iwate prefecture, looks stately on its own or with a candle perched on it; it’s $40 from Monolier.

Hinoki Soaps

 &#8\2\20;Gen&#8\2\2\1; Soap, handmade in Kobe, comes in three options, all with the scent of the Hinoki tree: clairière, or clear, for relaxation; on-sen, with Hinoki sawdust for gentle exfoliation; and sous-bois, with coal for antibacterial properties. rom Makie. Each is \$\24 from New York-based shop Makié and so pretty it hardly needs wrapping.
Above: “Gen” Soap, handmade in Kobe, comes in three options, all with the scent of the Hinoki tree: clairière, or clear, for relaxation; on-sen, with Hinoki sawdust for gentle exfoliation; and sous-bois, with coal for antibacterial properties. rom Makie. Each is $24 from New York-based shop Makié and so pretty it hardly needs wrapping.

(For a look inside shopkeeper Makié’s own serene flat, see Shop Owner Makié Yahagi’s Charm-Filled Loft in SoHo, New York.)

Glass Coffee Jug

Last year I received a set of Japanese-made Kinto drinking glasses for Christmas, and every time I use them they bring me joy. The Glass Coffee Jug by Kinto is just as beautiful and similarly low-priced: it&#8\2\17;s \$\20 from The Primary Essentials.
Above: Last year I received a set of Japanese-made Kinto drinking glasses for Christmas, and every time I use them they bring me joy. The Glass Coffee Jug by Kinto is just as beautiful and similarly low-priced: it’s $20 from The Primary Essentials.

Patterned Zabuton Cushion

A collaboration between a Japanese textile artist and a nearly \100-year-old Japanese futon maker, the SouSou Zabuton Cushions are a new take on the traditional cushions found in tatami rooms. They come in six vibrant colors and patterns; each is \$46 from Rikumo.
Above: A collaboration between a Japanese textile artist and a nearly 100-year-old Japanese futon maker, the SouSou Zabuton Cushions are a new take on the traditional cushions found in tatami rooms. They come in six vibrant colors and patterns; each is $46 from Rikumo.

Earthenware Mortar and Pestle

A new/old take on the mortar and pestle: the Spouted Earthenware Mortar with Wood Pestle Set (in Japanese, suribachi (mortar) with surikogi (pestle)) has been made by a pottery in Gifu prefecture since \19\10. We like the black version, and the fact that the mortar can double as a serving bowl, spout included. It comes in three sizes: \$30 for the small, \$36 for the medium, and \$46 for the large from Toiro Kitchen & Supply.
Above: A new/old take on the mortar and pestle: the Spouted Earthenware Mortar with Wood Pestle Set (in Japanese, suribachi (mortar) with surikogi (pestle)) has been made by a pottery in Gifu prefecture since 1910. We like the black version, and the fact that the mortar can double as a serving bowl, spout included. It comes in three sizes: $30 for the small, $36 for the medium, and $46 for the large from Toiro Kitchen & Supply.

Stoneware Sugar Pot

From London-based shop Native and Co. is a collection of stoneware ceramic goods, made in Aichi prefecture and tinged rust-colored in places during the firing process. The Stoneware Sugar Pot and Lid would make a lovely gift; £\24 from Native and Co.
Above: From London-based shop Native and Co. is a collection of stoneware ceramic goods, made in Aichi prefecture and tinged rust-colored in places during the firing process. The Stoneware Sugar Pot and Lid would make a lovely gift; £24 from Native and Co.

Sumac Candles

Another gift that requires no wrapping: a box of Sumac Candles, made of wax from sumac trees grown in Western Japan, prized for candle-making since they burn steadily and without dripping. The candles &#8\2\20;also have noticeably large flames due to the washi paper wicks,&#8\2\2\1; the retailers note. A box of six is \$4\2 from Nalata Nalata.
Above: Another gift that requires no wrapping: a box of Sumac Candles, made of wax from sumac trees grown in Western Japan, prized for candle-making since they burn steadily and without dripping. The candles “also have noticeably large flames due to the washi paper wicks,” the retailers note. A box of six is $42 from Nalata Nalata.

Blown-Glass Platter

From Brooklyn-based shop The Primary Essentials is one-of-a-kind mouth-blown glassware in shades of mauve and ochre, all by Osaka-based artist Takeshi Tsujino. His Large Kasumi Plate is \$\140. (For more on the collection, see Japanese Glassware in Summer Hues from the Primary Essentials.)
Above: From Brooklyn-based shop The Primary Essentials is one-of-a-kind mouth-blown glassware in shades of mauve and ochre, all by Osaka-based artist Takeshi Tsujino. His Large Kasumi Plate is $140. (For more on the collection, see Japanese Glassware in Summer Hues from the Primary Essentials.)

Kintsugi Kit

And for the DIY enthusiast: a Kintsugi Repair Kit, for practicing the Japanese art of kintsugi and making broken pottery beautiful; £\28 from Design Museum Store or \$36.65 via Trouva.
Above: And for the DIY enthusiast: a Kintsugi Repair Kit, for practicing the Japanese art of kintsugi and making broken pottery beautiful; £28 from Design Museum Store or $36.65 via Trouva.

For more Japanese gifts, see:

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