Japanese Rooms-in-Miniature

These babies need to be cradled!
I am thrilled to now own a lovely Japanese-made miniature furniture set, after what seemed like a long journey!

I first saw the couch and chair and other pieces on Mini Modern's blog back in 2008, when she used them in her Lundby Stockholm, and they were labeled as 1:18 scale Japanese-made "Pacifico." Then, I saw them again on Amy's blog in early 2010, after she found them for $4 in a thrift shop (Amy is a lucky duck!). Then, Susan showed even more of the pieces on her blog earlier this year, when she used them in her Built-Rite house. This time, Susan provided so much helpful information on the set, namely an ad from the 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue that showed the three rooms in miniature for sale ($3.99/room):

Page 71 of 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue - image courtesy of www.wishbookweb.com
This information was great to have, and it was also interesting to see that the pieces (and many accessories) were sold as rooms with interior decorating possibilities, with tracks/brackets, wall panels, and wall-to-wall carpeting. It is no surprise that the Irwin Decorator Set is in the same catalogue, five pages earlier (images courtesy www.wishbookweb.com as well).

My pieces arrived in the original box, but not in a room box as originally sold. I do wonder if anyone has ever seen these original room boxes or the accessories. The box for the furniture features a cool shadowed dot pattern that gives off an optical illusion of three dimensionality:

I noticed a manufacturer's sticker on the front bottom left corner, which says "Imperial Imports Japan":

There was also some writing on the side: "NY-33":

Perhaps this was some notation for Sears? Not sure. Google searches on Imperial Imports did not turn up anything of note.

The inside of the box showed the traces of elastic that held all the pieces in place:

As it states in the Sears ad, the set is closest to 1:24 scale, which is not normally the scale I use, but some of the pieces are transferable to a 1:16 or even a 1:12 environment. All of the pieces are so incredibly well-made and exceedingly delicate. I am glad I decided to unpack them all alone on a table, cleared of other things.

One of the first pieces I was excited to see was the dining room table -- with an adjustable leaf!

The smallest of the pieces are the turquoise-padded dining chairs, with their wispy chair backs and tapered legs -- gorgeous!

The dresser might be transferable to a 1:12 environment, but definitely can work in 1:16. Again, very delicate handiwork, with working drawers:

The wood just glows on these pieces, even after 40 + years!!!

The infamous chair and couch that first caught my eye back in 2008 did not disappoint, although one bottom strut piece on the couch was broken, the only flaw in the set. I paired them with the various white, shiny-topped tables, so modern:

Here's the front and back of the tables -- lovely!

By the way, the paper pictured here is a Japanese paper from the Paper Source, and the store is now donating 10% of all Japanese paper sales to Japan relief through April 30, 2011. Not that you needed an excuse to purchase some of these great papers, but it is certainly a great incentive!

Next, I played with the modular shelving units, which are so versatile and can definitely work in 1:12 and 1:16 scale, for a variety of purposes. There are open units, and a few with sliding white doors and sliding plexi doors.

The bed and chaise are definitely 1:24 scale. The bedding top comes off from the wooden platform, and both pieces have the same stiff pillows as the living room set, but in a lighter flower pattern (not so much to my liking, actually)

You may have noticed some very cool books in the pictures with the couch and chair -- this is a mini preview of my next post, which will feature the goodies in my swap package from The Shopping Sherpa. Here's a teaser:

She showed my treats here and here. Can't wait to share mine with you!