Fantastic vintage Japanese matchbox art

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I had to double check that these weren’t some kind of votive charms from a temple.

The last pic brings to mind something else entirely.


Hard to pick a favorite - copyright violation Micky, depressed tiger, or self-cannibalistic octopus.


Froggy went to Bat, IMHO

just out of curiosity…what would be the copyright on these designs?

I’ve found some match boxes of this vintage in my wife’s family house.

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Those things are great! Why isn’t that kind of fun, crazy, whimsy still popular? If you’re selling something as mundane as matches having a great look is about all you’ve got going for your stuff. Think about all the stupid bottles of water that try to compete by out-watering each other… Give me dancing dogs, flying frogs or leering loons…I’m gonna go for the label that’s the most fun…collect 'em all kids…more great images to come.

We damn sure need some fun in life about now and those match boxes are a good start.


Plenty of lighters still have some whimsical design

The three balls on that stick makes me think it is dango, not takoyaki.

The tiger has me a little stumped. The top left kanji is fire, and top right is tiger, but bottom left looks like grass and bottom right … naked?

Bottom left looks like 柴, shiba, like the dog breed, I think. Bottom right is 摽, which Google seems reluctant to translate, and I can’t find in my Essential Kanji. Chances are it’s the manufacturer’s name, I’d guess.

Edit: Ah, but 柴摽, chái biāo, in Chinese translates as ‘firewood’, though the Chinese word for ‘match’ is given as 火柴, huǒchái.

Edit2: …which fits if we read the characters top-to-bottom, rather than left-to-right, which would make the right side 虎摽, hǔbiāo, which Google translates as ‘tigers’. So, ‘Tiger Matches’, I guess

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Interesting! My Japanese is bad enough, but the Chinese characters are way to complicated for me.

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火柴 is definitely match, pronounced kajiba

摽 can mean throw out


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