Japan’s technological prowess may seem like a modern development but artefacts from the Renaissance-like Edo Period (1603-1867) suggest otherwise.
Compact cars are descendants of Edo-era handcrafted Palanquin sedan chairs. USB drives and mini-music players resemble portable lacquered boxes full of ink, brushes and writing paper that kept past leisure classes occupied on their travels. Even robots have a historical precedent in Japanese society – karakuri ningyo were small mechanical dolls used to serve tea.
Marrying past with present, Softbank teamed up with a Kyoto-based lacquer company founded in 1661 to produce iPhone covers inspired by the pre-Edo civil wars.