It can be tricky to pick gifts for friends and family that are interesting, useful, unique and that they’ll actually like. The Japanese are known for a culture of excellence, attention to detail, meticulousness and craftsmanship – and this extends to many of their products. So we’ve rounded up a selection of Christmas gifts that are either Japanese-made or Japanese-influenced, worthy of those who prefer the finer things in life.
Toki whisky from The House of Suntory
Japan has been crafting world-class whisky since the 1920s, but it’s only in the last decade or so it’s started making waves here. These days, Japanese whisky is sought-after by those in the know.
For the whisky lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with Suntory Toki Whisky. Its name means “time” in Japanese, and it has a subtle sweetness, a little spice, and notes of green apple and grapefruit – all of which make it a perfect candidate for the most Japanese of servings, the highball. To celebrate 100 years of Suntory whisky this year, the team has released the fan favourite spirit in a limited-edition box – just in time for your Christmas gifting.
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Mariya Takeuchi record
The resurgence of vinyl in recent years comes down to the tactile pleasure of playing a record, the satisfaction of compiling a physical collection, and the enjoyment of IRL cover art on a 12-inch sleeve. We recommend an old-school Japanese classic. Nearly 40 years on, Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love is still one of the gateways into Japanese city-pop, and has been reissued as a 12-inch single.
Idle Hands Jex vinyl stand
Of course, records should be displayed. For avid collectors, Melbourne-based creative workshop Idle Hands has made the Jex vinyl stand to show them off. Made from powder-coated metal and available in colours like lilac, French blue and sunshine yellow, the Jex holds up to 20 records – ideal for framing your recipient’s current rotation.
Japanese knives from Hinoki
A quality knife can be more than just a utilitarian kitchen tool – it can be a thing of beauty. Such is the case with blades from Hinoki, a Japanese knife manufacturer that combines centuries of blademaking tradition with some modern innovations.
The knives are visually striking (you can choose from the traditional-looking brushed chrome or black obsidian oxide) and, thanks to a secret technique that produces a convex edge, incredibly sharp. There’s something to suit pretty much every kitchen and cook, from the classic santoku chef’s knife (a flatter profile than the “rocking” edge of a Western-style blade) to serrated bread knives and full sets.
Japanese denim from Urahara
Melbourne boutique Urahara specialises in unique, sustainable pieces of Japanese fashion, like these vintage-style jeans by The Strike Gold. The Keep Earth jeans are made in Okayama in Japan from indigo-dyed organic virgin and recycled cotton. They’re a classic, heavyweight style that, as the label’s name suggests, recalls the gold rush-era trousers of Levi Strauss. An everyday staple taken to another level of craftsmanship, and a worthy addition to your giftee’s wardrobe.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with House of Suntory.