Seirogan is an indigestion medicine from Japan invented in 1954. The design is quintessentially refined Japanese design. The packaging design reminds me of when I was a teenager and my friend's father used to bring us bubble gum from Japan. This was before the Internet, when cross-cultural boundaries weren't easily crossed. It was striking to see such radically different packaging design on a bubble gum wrapper compared to the bubblegum packaging design in the U.S.. Perhaps it was the unfamiliarity of the Japanese characters. The bugle logo is iconic and the brand has become so standard in Japanese society that a court rejected the proprietary use of the word Seirogan. This is from Wikipedia - "the Supreme Court of Japan upheld that decision in 1974. The Supreme Court delivered the opinion that the name seirogan had passed into a common noun, so that use of the Seirogan (正露丸) name by any company was valid, not answerable to the claims of this trademark, and did not constitute an infringement of any intellectually property rights thereof. More info about the product here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seirogan
Maybe Andy Warhol saw this product when he visited Japan. I imagine he would have loved it.
August 31st, 2017
Geoffrey Michael Bell is a media artist and scholar focusing on the convergence of cryptocurrency and art.