Today’s blog is all about Japanese Wrapping Culture including Japanese Noshi.
As Tsutsumu, or “to wrap”, has high cultural context you must be careful how you are wrapping your gift depending on the formal occasion; celebration or condolence.
When paper wrapping a gift, there are two layers of paper: first is the wrapping paper itself to wrap the gift which will be wrapped by another layer of paper, noshi-gami. Noshi-gami, or gift wrapping display paper, is used to display the sender’s compassion in any occasion; wedding, new born baby, graduation, condolence. Noshi-gami is a white paper which will be used for any occasion but with red and white strings of mizuhiki tied (or printed) for celebration and black and white for condolence.
There are rules to not only color but to wrapping. For keiji-kake, or celebration wrapping, sleeves on the lower end is to be on top of the upper end, so things will “go up” or “rise”, and sleeves on right should always be on top for the same reason. Likewise, for choji-kake, or condolence wrapping, sleeves on the upper end should over the bottom sleeve to display that the sender is mourning with the recipient of the gift, and sleeves on left cover the right sleeve for the same reason. This applies for both the wrapping paper and noshi-gami.
What seems to be a gesture of presentable gift wrapping displays sympathy of the sender for each occasion. Although Japanese etiquette may seem tedious to follow, once you understand the reason behind it, you will not forget to follow it. It is not just formality. There is always something to appreciate about the gesture.
**More articles on tsutsumu to follow!