Ever since 2005, the Japanese government has mandated that at least 30 percent of a tobacco product’s warning label contain a written warning about the hazards of smoking. Even prior to that in 1990, there was a mandatory warning written along the side of packs which read, “Warning: too much smoking is a risk to your health.”
In fact we have to go way back to before 1972 until we can find Japanese cigarettes without a warning label. One such pack is currently under the virtual hammer of Yahoo! Japan Auction with bids starting at 30,000,000 yen (US$296,000). Appropriately, the name of this brand of cigarettes is Hope.
Hope cigarettes are still on sale today as a slightly cheaper version of regular cigarettes due to their smaller size. Judging by the photos on the auction page, very little has changed in the overall package design since before 1972.
Although we don’t know the exact year that this box comes from we know its before then because all that’s written on the sides are “Hope 10 cigarettes” and “Nihon Senbai Kosha” the former name of what is now Japan Tobacco.
As of this writing, there have been no bids on this empty pack of cigarettes. And bidding closes on 3 July. Although it is an interesting artifact of Japan’s past, the seller seems a little ambitious with their starting bid.
Then again, perhaps there is some Charles Foster Kane type lying on his death bed that just happens to stumble upon this item on Yahoo!. However, before he can click “bid,” the icy grip of death takes hold. The glass hookah he had been constantly clutching rolls out of his hand and smashes on the floor as he utters his final word: “Hope…”