ad 2 manicure

Ads can often be a unique and symbolic reflection of the times in which they are created, some of them even becoming artistic icons, as in the case of the works of Norman Rockwell or Alphonse Mucha.  Japan too has produced its share of visually engaging ads over the years, and we happened to find a selection of cute Japanese ads compiled and posted last month by BuzzFeed Rewind associate editor, Leonora Epstein. What’s amazing is that these ads are actually from the 1950s — more than half a century ago! Japanese Internet users have been noticing the post too, and after taking a look ourselves, we thought these ads were definitely charming enough to be worth sharing with you. So, let’s take a peek at what was going on in the Japanese advertising scene more than 50 years ago.

▼ Adorable ad for cocoa — the pink coloring is beautiful!

ad 1 cocoa

▼ Surprisingly stylish ad for Shiseido nail polish

ad 2 manicure

▼ Colorful and very “pop” ad for caramel toffee — we guess the appeal of sweets transcends time!

ad 3 caramel

▼ An interesting-looking ad for light bulbs,  although we have no idea why a Buddha is featured in it

ad 4 lamp 1

▼ Another light bulb ad from the same company, this time featuring a pair of frogs. Again, your guess is as good as ours as to why they used frogs in the ad.

ad 5 lamp 2

▼ An adorably illustrated ad for bread  — isn’t the little girl in the kimono just darling?

ad 6 yamazaki

▼ This one is an ad for yarn, apparently sold in bulk by the pound.

ad 7 ski yarn

▼ An ad for rain boots with an interesting design — the placement of the boots upside down certainly catches the eye

ad 8 boots

▼ This ad is for school uniforms made from wool, hence the sheep portrayed on the right

ad 9 uniform

▼ Another ad for yarn — people probably made considerably more hand-knit clothes back then

ad 10 central yarn

▼ An ad for a  lotion containing some kind of “hormone” to keep the skin youthful even in the winter cold — we guess women’s pursuit of beauty never changes

ad 11 lotion

▼ An ad for quality cotton cloth that supposedly doesn’t wrinkle or shrink

ad 12 nittobo

▼ Another colorful ad with a pop look, this one for powdered toothpaste, which is still available in Japan today

ad 13 cool soft

What did you think? Japanese Internet users in general seemed intrigued with how stylish some of the ads looked, especially the Shiseido nail polish ad, which several people commented would make an attractive ad today as it is. Some people seemed to think the yarn ad with the black cat looked a bit creepy, but personally, I thought it just looked cute and fun (although maybe I simply have a very high tolerance for  anything creepy or scary). I also loved the cocoa ad, with the amazing soft colors. Whichever your favorite may be, it’s hard to believe these refined-looking ads were created in the 1950s, isn’t it?  And they certainly didn’t have photoshop back then!

Well, our hats are certainly off to the talented artists who designed these ads and reminded us that even advertisements can be works of art. We hope you enjoyed the little trip back in time as much as we did!

Source and images: Buzzfeed via Gekiyaku Hyouji (Japanese) and Golden Times (Japanese)