Packaging of Food and Drink in Japan

  • Katarzyna J. CwiertkaEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter outlines the trajectory of change that the packaging of food and drink in Japan underwent between the late nineteenth century and the present day. It argues that three developments lie at the root of this transformation: the Westernization of Japanese diet, the growing reliance on mass-produced (semi)processed food, and the shifting landscape of the food retailing. In addition, the impacts of the environmental legislation and the growing labor shortage are also signalled.

The chapter begins with an overview of the contemporary state of affairs and later zooms deeper into the issues that the author considers of particular importance for the understanding of the historical shifts. They include the rise of paper and plastic into the position of the dominant packaging materials in Japan and the decline of glass, despite its spectacular growth during the first half of the twentieth century. The chapter further discusses the “packaging revolution” of the 1960s and the growing market for gifts that contain food and drink and how the gift-giving practices in Japan affected innovation within the packaging industry.

Along with providing insights into the history of the Japanese packaging sector, this chapter contributes to the understanding of the culinary transformation of Japan in the course of the twentieth century.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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