November 29, 2010
Passing on your personal history: Buying secondhand in Japan
In Japan, gift-giving goes beyond birthdays and holidays to special days set aside just for exchanging presents. Holding on to so many gifts, especially in Japan where household space is often at a premium, means closets are perpetually in need of clearing out.
But it’s difficult to give away items, especially in Japan where the tradition of giving gifts as a way of honoring people is so strong. However, a new secondhand shop, Pass the Baton, offers Japanese consumers an interesting twist on buying and selling previously owned items.
The store sells not only personal items—vintage clothing, jewelry and furniture—but the stories behind the objects, as well as a profile of the seller. One item for sale: an antique pearl necklace formerly owned by a professor at Keio University who grew up in Omotesando (an up and coming fashion district in Tokyo), and purchased the necklace when she visited an American jewelry show with her father.
The seller maintains a connection to the item by attaching their personal history to it. The buyer, provided with so much information, can’t help but feel their own connection to the item. Purchasing one more piece of jewelry or another article of clothing could seem unnecessary in these recessionary times, but owning a piece of history is an admirable act. As retailers look for ways to differentiate their merchandise and offer shoppers unique experiences, fashioning a history for cast-offs creates a certain cachet.
Photo credit: www.pass-the-baton.com