If you’re like many Americans, you might associate Japanese Lanterns with those little plastic colored lights your parents bought for the backyard in the 70s. While these cheap lanterns were a nice way to decorate for a party, they weren’t the same hanging lights used in Japan. Paper lanterns are the most common Japanese decorations for a party, wedding, or special occasion, and they are made in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Whether you’re decorating for a special event or simply adding some color to a drab dorm room, paper lanterns add a unique and playful look. They can be the perfect complement to a Zen-inspired space, or soften the ambiance of a living room, bedroom or Japanese garden.
Japanese lighting is usually diffused by a translucent material, such as rice paper, cocoa leaves or banyan leaves. The concept of doing this originated with traditional Shoji lamps, which incorporated rice paper vellum with a rectangular wood frame. In general, Japanese designers use sustainable or “green” materials in all of their products, and lighting is no different.
Here are just a few of the more popular paper lanterns on sale today.
Red Kotobuki Paper Lantern
Get ready to party with this large Red Kotobuki Paper Lantern, which creates the perfect atmosphere for a celebration. The Japanese “Kotobuki” symbol means “wishing you longevity in life,” and it looks terrific in black calligraphy against a vibrant red backdrop. If you’re planning a party and want to hang these spherical paper lamps, consider mixing and matching with other designs to create the look you desire. Each large paper lantern measures 16” in diameter and is held open with a wire expander. Lanterns can be lit with a separate 11” lighting cord and a 60-watt bulb.
Japanese Plum Tree Paper Lantern
If you like to translate Japanese icons, you may know that the plum tree represents “new beginnings.” This explains why the Japanese plum tree paper lantern is the perfect décor for a wedding, baby shower, or graduation party. Ready to hang, it features a bright red blooming sakura tree against a white background.
Pink Lotus Paper Lanterns
When it’s time to party, you know how to light up a room. Just string this set of 4” pink paper lanterns around the room or garden and let the celebration begin. Each string includes 10 paper lanterns on a UL-listed electrical cord that stretches 11’ in length. It can be connected with up to two other strings to extend up to 33 feet.