Japan: Tradition. Innovation.

During the Edo period, as today, shopping was an enjoyable social activity.

Strong economies during both periods have allowed craftspeople to create a wide variety of high-quality domestic goods. Consumers have had lots of choice — far beyond simply meeting their basic needs.

The size of the middle class increased during the Edo period, and people had more money to spend.

Merchants, who in earlier times had been low in social rank, prospered and improved their social standing during the Edo period as they sold goods to the upper class and an expanding middle class.

Japan's consumer culture continues to thrive.

While contemporary Japan is known for its innovation, tradition continues to play an important role in the design of everyday objects. Designers and craftspeople use traditional techniques and knowledge to create objects that are uniquely Japanese and totally up-to-date.