Designer: Masahiro Minami
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Client: Kasho RokubE
Location: Shiga, Japan
Packaging Contents: Sweets
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Paper
Printing Process: Screen printing
KABUKI KIDS are Japanese snack cakes with a traditional light outer milk cake and sweet azuki bean filling. The packaging has been designed to honor a long tradition of the Hikiyama Matsuri festival and to commemorate the addition of the festival in 2016 to UNESCO’s registry of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
This traditional float festival in Nagahama City, Shiga, started 400 years ago in the Azuchi Momoyama era. It is famous for a special kabuki performance by children on the float-stage. Just as traditional kabuki is performed only by men, this children’s kabuki is performed only by boys from the area, who go through intense training for the performance. These boys wear the traditional kabuki makeup, called “kumadori,” giving the stage further authenticity and thrill.
KABUKI KIDS cakes are created in hopes of helping to pass on this fascinating Japanese tradition and culture to future generations. KABUKI KIDS is sold under the “ROKUBE X” brand, created by Japanese confectioner KASHO ROKUBE for this express purpose.
As a tribute to the boys’ kabuki performance, KABUKI KIDS snack cakes are packaged in a specially designed box with a lid which becomes a kumadori-style face mask, including rubber strings, so children can wear the mask to play kabuki themselves. The individual cake wrappers also have a kumadori design.