What’s that you say? Bose headphones in two brand new limited edition Japanese designs? Well, that sounds right up our street!

American audio specialists Bose continue to lead the noise-cancelling headphone market, but at US$250-$300, their QuietComfort 25 headphones are something of an investment. So what have the designers at Bose done with these new limited-edition “Japan Concept” headphones to warrant the bumped-up 43,200 yen ($366) price tag?

Why, they’ve made them in “Japanese colours” like black and gold, of course!

There are two designs, MAKI-E and SUMI. The first is (marginally) more convincingly different from regular QuietComfort headphones, so we’ll start with them.

MAKI-E headphones take their name from the traditional Japanese technique for decorating lacquerware. In traditional maki-e (蒔絵), black lacquer is sprinkled with gold or silver powder to form intricate, delicate patterns. Bose have paid homage to this with…a strip of gold plastic on the inside of the headband.

▼ The contrasting silver panel is also a reference to the traditional craft. No, really.


▼ We were hoping for something more like this kind of maki-e, but I guess you can’t have everything in life.


The second design, dubbed the SUMI, is named for the black ink (sumi, 墨) used in Japanese calligraphy and painting. Here, the master craftsmen at Bose have taken inspiration from the lights and shades of Japanese watercolour painting, designing a pair of headphones that incorporate matt black and glossy black.

▼ Jet-black headphones, inspired by Japanese black ink, apparently.


Now, don’t get us wrong. These are two lovely-looking sets of headphones, and we’re sure they sound fantastic too. But at 43,200 yen ($366) including tax, the MAKI-E and SUMI headphones will cost you at least 10,000 yen ($85) more than the regular Bose QuietComfort 25s…which are also black without purporting to be “Japanese” somehow.

▼ The non-special edition looks like this.


Although, we guess if you’re going to buy swanky headphones, you might as well have limited-edition glossy ones that you can only buy in Japan. And if you’re not going to be in Japan from March 10 to get your hands on a pair, fear not! You can wire us $100, and we’ll send you a pot of gold paint. Don’t say we’re not good to you, Rocketeers!


Source: Japaaan (JP), Bose
Images: Bose JP (1, 2), unless otherwise stated