Traditional Japanese art meets mobile: Paper iPhone cases from Kyoto



If you have ever visited Japanese variety stores like LOFT or Tokyu-Hands, you’ve likely seen the tremendous choice of iPhone cases. There are even websites like Case-Mate or Society6 where you can buy uniquely designed iPhone cases which are not mass produced.

But I recently stumbled across one case that could be the first made of paper — or if not the very first, perhaps the sturdiest paper case. It’s called Musubi, which means “to tie” in Japanese. It’s a product by Kyoto-based manufacturer Suzuki Shofudo [1].

The case is made from a special robust paper using stereo-chemical paper pressing technology to mold it into the shape of an iPhone. To use it, you just need to place the paper case on the front and back of the iPhone, and then attach three stickers on the sides to hold the papers together. And that’s it, you’re done! The paper appears pretty thick although I’m not sure how much protection it would provide.

There are five designs included in the Musubi package, allowing you to dress up your iPhone differently depending on your mood. The designs are traditional Japanese patterns that symbolizes relationships between people. For five cases, the price is 1890 yen (about $20), which is generally less than the price of one iPhone case you can buy at a store. The cases are available for both iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5.


The case can be bought online through the Suzuki Shofudo website if you’re in Japan, or if you’re passing through Kyoto, their store is here. We’ll let you know if they become available to overseas buyers. I’m sure that the demand for such a slick design would be pretty high!

  1. More details can be found on their website (Japanese). See this pdf for starters.  ↩