ROKKAKU Technique and Design Chronicle Vol. 1

〈From Creation to the Pursuit of Originality〉

Traditional foil stamping techniques breathe life into patterns with their vibrant shine, intricate textures, and delicate feel. This process involves transferring foils onto paper through the application of heat and pressure using a patterned die. The result is a stunning flourish of gold or silver foil that enhances the paper’s surface. Although this technique has been passed down through generations, ROKKAKU has expanded its creative potential by using a variety of foils in different combinations and employing dies with diverse designs.

Originating over 100 years ago on Rokkaku-dori Street in Kyoto, the ROKKAKU foil stamping brand has consistently pushed the boundaries of technique and design. In this volume, we will showcase a selection of the more than 200 innovative products we have developed, highlighting the evolution and rich history of our brand.



  • 01
    The Beginning of the ROKKAKU Brand
  • 02
    Decorating Celebratory Scenes to the Full, and the Pursuit of Expression
  • 03
    Original Products That Express the Essence of ROKKAKU

The Beginning of the ROKKAKU Brand

ROKKAKU’s journey started in 1911 with the founding of Sakurai Shoten on Rokkaku-dori Street. From the outset, the shop specialized in enhancing paper products with decorative foil stamping, catering to items like business cards and New Year’s cards. As the tradition of exchanging greeting cards gained popularity, ROKKAKU not only perfected its techniques but also expanded its product range.

Following the initial success, the brand broadened its range to include more greeting cards and wedding-related items, sparking an increase in demand. In the 2000s, the brand established a directly managed store at its original location on Rokkaku-dori Street in Kyoto. This store was designed to showcase a wide variety of foil-stamped products prominently, allowing customers to appreciate the full spectrum of the brand’s offerings at a glance.
This initiative also marked a continued commitment to exploring the expansive potential of foil stamping in both expression and technique. The products developed during this period, refined through extensive experimentation, now form the cornerstone of the brand’s diverse and innovative lineup.

Decorating Celebratory Scenes to the Full, and the Pursuit of Expression

▶︎Full-Surface Foil-Stamped Celebratory Gift Envelopes That Feature Designs Created with Foil Alone

Since its inception until the early 2000s, ROKKAKU primarily offered New Year’s cards and seasonal greeting cards, continuously advancing their foil stamping techniques. Leveraging years of expertise, ROKKAKU has endeavored to create unprecedented styles of expression. This innovative spirit is exemplified in their foil-stamped Celebratory Gift Envelopes.
While traditional foil stamping typically accents ink printing and uses just one color, ROKKAKU has pushed the boundaries by using multiple foils to cover the entire surface of these envelopes. This approach not only enhances the visual appeal but also showcases the brand’s capability to innovate within the realm of foil stamping.

Left: Foil stamping (two colors)/Right: Full-surface foil stamping (three colors)

When employing foil stamping, it is necessary to use separate dies for each type of foil. Not only does this require more presses, but the complexity of the process also increases substantially because the dies must be manually adjusted to align perfectly. This meticulous and time-consuming process can lead to higher costs and potential inefficiencies. However, the unique touch and texture produced by this method enhance the design’s charm significantly. While a design that features only foil stamping may seem simple, it creates a stunning visual impact even without additional decorations like mizuhiki, making these Celebratory Gift Envelopes truly distinctive.

Products from the early days featured foil stamping sparingly, but over time, the brand has mastered more intricate expressions, applying foil stamping over larger areas.

The full-surface foil-stamped Celebratory Gift Envelopes were met with enthusiastic approval and quickly became one of ROKKAKU’s flagship products. Following this success, the brand expanded its repertoire of full-surface foil stamping techniques to include birthday cards and Small Gift Envelopes.

▶︎Express Your Feelings on Special Days: Birthday Greeting Cards

ROKKAKU has not only developed new forms of expression through its products but has also reinvigorated classic items with the art of foil stamping. Birthday cards, a longstanding staple in ROKKAKU’s lineup, are traditionally used to send celebratory messages. ROKKAKU, however, has rebranded them as “Birthday Greeting Cards” to emphasize their role not only in celebrating but also in conveying gratitude and recognizing the recipient’s birthday as a significant personal milestone.
The foil stamping on these cards is designed to be subtle yet impactful, focusing on enhancing the sender’s sentiments and ensuring these take precedence. The quality of the envelope paper is also a key focus, with high-quality materials used to ensure that recipients feel a sense of delight both when receiving and opening the card.

While birthday wishes can be extended through emails or phone calls, the unique charm of a handwritten message offers a depth of sentiment that digital messages cannot match. ROKKAKU is dedicated to enriching these irreplaceable moments, constantly exploring innovative ways to enhance the experience of giving and receiving these special greeting cards.

▶︎Small Gift Envelopes – Versatile for Use Throughout the Year

ROKKAKU has broadened its collection of Small Gift Envelopes to encompass more than just the New Year’s season, making them suitable for a variety of occasions. To refine their designs, the brand conducted internal surveys across different departments, including sales and manufacturing, and incorporated feedback from customers. This process helped ROKKAKU better understand the diverse moments when individuals wish to express their sentiments, leading to a reevaluation of the Small Gift Envelopes’ purpose to more effectively cater to various personal emotions.

Despite their compact, palm-sized format, Small Gift Envelopes are designed to convey profound sentiments. To enhance their visual appeal, ROKKAKU uses luxurious full-surface foil stamping. The brand has also broadened its range of motifs beyond traditional Japanese designs to include Western-style themes, such as imagery reminiscent of European cityscapes. This expansion allows for a richer exploration of designs where foil stamping can truly excel, broadening the aesthetic and emotional appeal of these envelopes.

Original Products That Express the Essence of ROKKAKU

▶︎ROKKAKU CARDS: Adding Surprise and Delight to Message Receiving

As ROKKAKU expands its product lineup, it continues to develop original items that capture the brand’s essence. The ROKKAKU CARD, true to its name, is a hexagonal message card distinguished by its unique shape and singular foil stamping design. Leveraging its expertise in envelope crafting, ROKKAKU also creates hexagonal envelopes that complement the card, enhancing the element of surprise and delight when the message is received.

The envelope features a folding technique that mimics a budding flower, allowing recipients to experience the unfolding beauty as if a flower is blooming when they open it.

This card, unique to ROKKAKU and distinct from any other on the market, has become a perennial favorite. While it retains the fundamental hexagonal shape and motif, the brand is continually enhancing the paper and design options to improve user-friendliness and enhance the enjoyment of the foil features.

For the initial design, the foil-stamped message was concealed within the envelope.
However, to allow the foil stamping to be appreciated even before the envelope is opened, ROKKAKU introduced a die-cut feature on the envelope, showcasing the intricate design inside.

▶︎Kyoto-Themed Products with Roots in Kyoto’s Rokkaku-Dori Street

In addition to items that feature the name ROKKAKU, the brand has also expanded its product range with designs that capture the essence of Kyoto, reflecting the brand’s origins on Rokkaku-dori Street in Kyoto. ROKKAKU’s Kyoto-themed products encompass a broad array of styles, from traditional patterns to contemporary designs, and feature motifs inspired by Kyoto’s seasonal changes, the Kyo-Yuzen dyeing technique, and Kyoto-style confectionery, among others.

ROKKAKU has innovatively applied foil stamping in various aspects of these products, from the exterior folds to the interior of the envelopes, exploring diverse ways to incorporate this art.

These Kyoto-themed items have become cherished souvenirs among tourists visiting our store on Rokkaku-dori Street. Our longstanding expertise in foil stamping is showcased through these unique designs, continuing to celebrate and share Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.