Yokotaya Honten

In 2017, Mag was invited to DOOR to ASIA – a three-week residence program that gathers designers from all over Asia to Japan – to propose design solutions for local companies in Tōhoku, one of the tsunami afflicted regions in 2011.

She was assigned to Yokotaya Honten, an established nori (seaweed) company with 300 years of experience in their expertise. Founded in the 1706 Edo period, their business ranges from cultivating seaweed to producing a variety of seaweed products for daily consumption and traditional gift boxes. With such a long-standing history, it is one of the bigger companies in the region that contributes significantly to its maritime industry.

Working closely with their 16th generation successor, it is identified that the tradition of nori-eating and craft for traditional maritime produce is being forgotten gradually by the younger generations. Knowing that this insight will eventually rise to become a bigger problem for the maritime business, they are looking towards possibilities to increase their engagement with the young. To pass on their knowledge and appreciation for nature’s blessing; their carefully crafted nori and seafood practice; and ultimately reintroduce this tradition of nori-eating.

Mag’s proposal to the brief is to look into a brand refresh. To introduce the brand in a contemporary and appealing outlook that is able to change the young’s perception on nori-eating culture of being old-fashioned. This brand refresh is extended to its packaging and a suggestion to develop an onigiri-making kit where an extensive selection of ingredients and guide on how to prepare the food is included. This allows the consumers a quick way to learn about the food’s origin; consequently induce a higher appreciation for the craft of seaweed products.

A Design Proposal by Magdalene Wong