Q. Why is money always wrapped when given?


Except when purchasing something, many Japanese feel that it is impolite not to have money wrapped when handing it to another person. Money is usually wrapped in

paper or placed in an envelope when given to someone.

Monetary funeral offerings and monetary gifts for congratulatory occasions such as weddings are placed in special noshi envelopes. Gratuities are wrapped in Japanese tissue or placed in a small envelope before given to the other.

The care given by the Japanese toward money is largely influenced by the warrior society’s concept of money. Although it was the samurai who ruled Japanese society, they lived off a stipend received from their master. From the onset, it was a world indifferent to money making. The samurai took a negative stance toward lust for money and considered making money to be undesirable and money itself to be unclean.

There was even an expression seihin ni amanjiru meaning to be content to live in honorable poverty. It was considered a disgrace to get caught up with the desire for wealth. Rules concerning money were upheld and still practiced today such as: not speaking bluntly about money, not displaying unwrapped money, and not giving unwrapped money to the other.

The punctiliousness of the Japanese toward money still remains with them to this day.