Welcoming in the New Year

In Japan, the tai fish (or red sea bream) is considered a symbol of good luck because its name is associated with the Japanese word medetai, which means ‘auspicious' or 'congratulatory.’ During the Edo period (1603-1868), tai was one of the most highly regarded seafoods and was often presented as a gift to the shogun.

 In Japanese folklore, Ebisu, the Japanese god of the sea, is often pictured with a red sea bream as in this woodcut print from 1805.

In Japanese folklore, Ebisu, the Japanese god of the sea, is often pictured with a red sea bream as in this woodcut print from 1805.

Known as the king of the fish, tai enjoy a special place in Japanese folklore due to their sparkling red color, which is considered a lucky, life-giving color. As if the red tai wasn't lucky enough, its relative, the kurodai (black tai), is famously known for being a difficult fish to catch. Today, during the New Year, or at celebrations such as weddings, salt-grilled tai is still a special traditional Japanese dish.

If you can’t get a sea bream on your table, try including this lucky fish in your bathroom. The Tamanohada Fish Soap comes in two different scents and includes a hemp rope to hang it conveniently on your shower stall. Established in 1892, the Tokyo-based Tamanohada Soap Corporation has a long history of producing high quality bath products. That care extends to well-considered details in the packaging, as well. If you're a design aficionado like us, you'll find the box just as charming as the soap!

Whether your year begins with a lucky fish in your bath or in the kitchen, we hope you have a year full of great design and inspiration. From all of us at Rikumo, best wishes for a wonderful 2015!

Words and photos by Elliot Walters