(ASRI 2024) Journey to promote Records in Asia - P01 - Genda Shigyō (Japan): The Oldest Ceremonial Paper Goods In Asia

17-01-2024

(Worldkings.org) Genda Shigyō, known in Japanese as 源田紙業株式会社 (Genda Shigyō Kabushiki gaisha), is a testament to the enduring legacy of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. This paper production company, one of the oldest still-operating companies in the world, has been producing ceremonial paper goods such as mizuhiki, gift wrapping, and betrothal gifts since 771.

Genda Shigyō's history traces back to the Nara period (710-794), with its founding year recorded as 771. The company moved to Kyoto with the relocation of the capital during the Heian period (794-1192). It is now located in the blocks separating Nijo Castle from Kyoto Imperial Palace.

In the late Edo period, the Genda family took over the business of Zenbe Yagiya, and it became Yagizen Genda Shoten. The company supplied mizuhiki to the Imperial Palace until the Meiji Era, when mizuhiki became popular among the general public.

 

Mizuhiki: A Symbol of Celebration and Mourning

The Oldest Paper Company in Japan | All About Japan

Mizuhiki, decorative multicolored cords made of twisted paper, are used almost like ribbons. They are artistically arranged on cards offered at major life events, from births to weddings to funerals. The color, number, and arrangement of the cords convey different meanings. Red and white is probably the most common combination for auspicious events, while black and white, yellow and white, blue and white, silver, or completely black cords are used for inauspicious events, particularly funerals.

Nút thắt Mizuhiki: biểu tượng cho sự gắn kết của người Nhật | KILALA

 

Present Day Operations

After World War II, Genda Shigyō diversified its operations. Today, it handles the wholesale and printing of products using mizuhiki, ceremonial goods such as yuzuna (betrothal gifts), and other paper products. The company continues to make congratulatory gifts using mizuhiki as well as the mizuhiki themselves.

Mizuhiki - A Beautiful Craft that includes a Wish with Your Gift | Fashion | Trends in Japan | Web Japan

 

Genda Shigyō stands as a symbol of Japan's rich cultural heritage and the enduring appeal of traditional craftsmanship. As one of the world's oldest companies, it continues to uphold the art of paper production, contributing to the preservation of Japanese customs and practices.

 


Josephine (Collect & Edit) - WORLDKINGS (Source of photos: Internet)

 

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