Some Asian menstrual products:
"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.


Emil menstrual tampons, Japan, 1974

Emil tampon looks 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 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 Emil. 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: Someone at Tambrands, which donated the box, annotated and numbered the sides. The numbers might have linked to a translation or to an explanation.
My translation of the top three lines (no, I didn't cheat by looking at the box at right - really!):
Internal--use menstrual product [American tampons have said this since the beginning - and here]
Emil tampon
The characters in the little green box, third row from the top, are a phonetic rendition of "mini" in the characters Japanese uses for foreign words (katakana), not a translation of the meaning of the English word (see box at right). For example, the Japanese could have placed the Japanese character for small instead. It's possible Japanese buyers would have known what mini meant.
The large brown characters in the second line are distorted versions of the katakana characters that spell Emil, thus attesting to the foreignness of that word. Which strengthens the argument for a European originator. And the katakana phonetic version of tampon suggests that the Japanese have no native word for tampon and possibly, historically, didn't use them.
Read more about the woman and her hair at the bottom of this page.
Below: Sanitary, of course, is an added-value euphemism for "menstrual," added value in the sense that it tells buyers that it's clean as well as for menstruation. That's long been the usage in America, the land of prudery.
"Pieces," as in "10 pieces," probably demonstrates the Japanese use of counters, words like head of cattle in English; Americans don't usually say "ten cattle." Japanese uses many more different such words and much more often than English and they form one of the many difficulties of the language. It might mean that a Japanese translated the text into English. Germans would also say piece(s), Stück - zehn Stück.
So, you ask, what do the two characters right after the "10" on side 1 (at left) exactly mean? Phonetically, they could be ko-iri or something similar; the backwards C sounds like KO (it's katakana and means nothing in itself) and the second character could sound like iri - it means "put in" - aha! My list of Japanese counters lacks this one - maybe it's specific for tampons! - as does my huge Japanese dictionary. "Put-in things" might be a good guess.
I hope I didn't waste your evening with this.

Below: Side 4, the second box below, bears notations in a different hand than those on
side 1, above, and an earlier date - assuming that it means March 5, not May 3 as it would
in the sane system used in most of the world - sorry, fellow Americans. BUT the
handwriting below resembles a non-American script - German, for example.
So it might stem from a Japanese.
Below, left & right: the ends.
 The ends are identical.

Below: Is she having a bad hair day? (And it does remind me of a shampoo label.)
The design seems typical of the 70s: colorful, intricate, twisted - compare Peter Max's posters.
However, those spiky things on the outside - brambles? snakes à la Medusa? - spook me.
But the larger question is: Why use a woman with blonde hair and
non-Japanese eyes?
Japanese women seem to greatly prefer pads
over tampons (Americans do too but not by as much) and the design
could identify this as a Western product. The manufacturer could
have also been Western as with Anshin tampons. But sometimes
Japanese use Western language and characteristics to add pizzazz.
See another Western image, this one based on a famous artist,
on a Japanese menstrual product.

NEXT | instructions: overview 1 2 3 4 - 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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