One object, many stories: matchbox labels

bookings required

Japanese matchbox labels, c 1920–1940
09 November 2017, 6:00pm7:30pm
LocationVillage Roadshow Theatrette
Accessibility Has wheelchair access

Take a closer look at the striking commercial art of mid-20th-century matchbox labels, as featured in the State Library Victoria 2018 Diary, available now. These labels beautifully and intricately depict the popular culture and fashion of the time.

Explore the history of match manufacturing in Japan, its link to the samurai and the western influence on Japanese label design. The expert panel will discuss the various design techniques and what makes the labels so collectable.  

There will be an exclusive showing of the Japanese scrapbook after the discussion.


  • Bernard Caleo (chair) is a performer, author, illustrator, comic book maker and was a 2013 Library Creative Fellow.
  • Jerry Bell is a member of the Australian Match Cover Collectors' Society.
  • Jenny Grigg is a graphic designer, industry fellow, PhD candidate at RMIT and was a 2011 Library Creative Fellow.
  • Wayne Crothers spent 18 years living in Japan and is now Senior Curator of Asian Art at NGV.