Some Asian menstrual products:
Emil tampon, 1974 -
"Origami" tampon:
Anshin (Japan, 1977) Tampons, box, directions. Origami applicator. (Tambrands gift, 1997) It's the same as Ortex Gold and Cameo tampons.
Cellopon (Japan, 1968) Box, instructions, tampons. No applicator. With a discussion of the mutual influence of European and Japanese art & an example from Van Gogh.
Elldy (Japan) tampon with finger cots, box - ad in Junie magazine (October 1996).
Shampon Young stick tampon (Japan, 1977)
Japanese pads and belts, early 20th century: instructions for making the so-called uma (pony or horse, because it resembled in function the device on horses to catch feces).
Ads for Japanese commercial menstrual belts from the early 20th century with a comparison with the English source of the drawing: Aubrey Beardsley, England's best artist (just my opinion).
Early 20th century ads for Japanese menstrual belts, pads & underpants with some translation.
Thai magazine
ad, date?
Chinese pad and belt (2000)
Chinese pad, Anerle
Chinese panty pad, Huitlao
Washable menstrual pads for women in Almora, Uttar Pradesh state, India, giving them more freedom (1999).
Teaching girls in rural southern Rajasthan about puberty, menstruation and how to make washable menstrual pads.
More recent information about menstrual management in India with an article critical of this museum.
Some tampon curiosities: L & F [Lehn & Fink] Improved Tampons (U.S.A., 1930s-1940s?) Box, instructions, some tampons. From the company that made Lysol. - Medical tampons mentioned in newspapers, U.S.A., 1894-1921 - o.b. folder, Germany, early 1950s (tells what o.b. means!)
Tampon directory.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation (and awesome ancient art of menstruation) |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Birth control and religion |
Birth control drugs, old |
Birth control douche & sponges |
Founder bio |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation & menopause (& reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Contraceptive drugs, old |
Contraceptive douche & sponges |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Examination, gynecological (pelvic) (short history) |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
Feminine napkin, towel, pad directory |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
Odor |
Olor |
Pad, towel, napkin directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Sanitary napkin, towel, pad directory |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Towel, pad, sanitary napkin directory |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Pine menstrual tampons, Japan, 1977

Much of what I said about Emil tampons could be written about this one, Pine. Both have Western names written in a Western alphabet as well as in a Japanese phonetic script. I think this betrays the foreignness of tampons in Japan; Japanese women seemed to prefer pad-like devices to soak up menstrual blood.

Both look very much like the Tampax of the time: cardboard tubes & cotton plug (the absorbing part), just like the near contemporary British St Michael tampon. All three avoided plastic delivery tubes and super-absorbent material unlike the ill-starred Rely that appeared just a few years later.

But EMIL - sounds very un-Japanese to me and male. This could be the Japanese version of a Western tampon.

The pine tree is a revered part of Japanese culture.

The Japanese have developed or marketed interesting tampons, including one with cots to protect the fingers.

My knowledge of the Japanese language is primitive but I've tried to point out some interesting aspects of Pine. But read some Japanese words and euphemisms associated with menstruation.

Tampon directory. Related products in the column at left.

I thank the former Tambrands, once maker of Tampax tampons, for donating this box!
Below: Tambrands sent these boxes bound by a strip of taped (Japanese?) paper
annotated as shown. The identical boxes measure 5 1/8 x 3 1/8 x 1 1/4" (13 x 7.7 x 2.9 cm).
Below: The cellophane wrapping reveals itself by the shadows cast from the upper labels.
Did Tambrand operatives - Tamhands, if you will or even if you won't - write on and stick the labels?
The red band rrrrips off to open the cellophane.
Below: At far left on the above box sits (on its tail) this combination of Japanese kana characters
(snatched from the Chinese about 2000 years ago to give the Japanese their first writing) - the first
seven characters, at left - and katakana, the phonetic script Japanese use for foreign words as here for
the sound of "Pine tampon." Katakana developed from kana long ago.
The whole thing reads
Internal--use menstrual product [American tampons have said this since the beginning - and here]
Pine tampon.
Below: A combination of the other phonetic script, hiragana - the first four characters -
and katakana. The hiragana sounds out the Japanese word
oshare [a MUM visitor corrected my pronunciation & reading to mean fashionable, stylish, or smart]
and the katakana sounds out the English word
So Pine is a tampon that's fashionable.
Below: The other large side of the box.
Below, two pictures: the sides of the box.
Japanese has its own number characters that can often be - no surprise here! - pronounced
in different ways
. But they also use Western numbers when it suits them. Mysterious Japan!
Someone once wrote that Japanese is the most unnecessarily difficult language. The Japanese journalist
grandfather of a friend suggested to the American occupiers of Japan right after WWII that the
country adopt English as its language. But Japanese would lose thousands of years of written culture.
And they like being different and inscrutable.
Below: The first two characters of the tiny string of kana on the left side of the box beginning at the red band is the
end of my translation attempts (well, almost): the first one means river, the second tree, root, book,
this, or the unit (counter) for cylinders (like tampons)
; one possible pronunciation of the combination
is KAWAMOTO, the company name written in Western script under the blue logo at far left that I enlarged below.
The Japanese language is infamously ambiguous.
The line reads
Interesting, isn't it, that both Johnson & Johnson and Kimberly-Clark made bandages as well as
menstrual supplies
? Kotex allegedly started out as a bandage for American soldiers in World War I.
Emergency medical crews sometimes use it as a bandage today. When it was possible to rummage through
the actual boxes of patents in the U.S. Patent Office - can you today? - the menstrual
pads, tampons,
belts and panties were in the bandage section.
Both deal with
wounds, one in the womb.
Below: The address of the company. The first two kana mean the city Osaka. O - the first character -
is usually interpreted as a man with outstretched arms and means
Of course, Chinese invented most of these characters, although the Japanese devised the phonetic scripts
and borrowed the kanji from the Chinese. The underlying languages are very different.
Below, two pictures: The ends. The box cost 220 yen.
NEXT | instructions: outside inside - the tampon
Some Asian products: Early 20th century Japanese pads, belts & underpants.
Shampon Young stick tampon, Japan, 1977
Teaching girls in rural southern Rajasthan, India, about puberty, menstruation and how to make washable menstrual pads. MORE in column at far left.

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