In 1958, seven years after its inaugural flight, Japan Airlines (JAL) adopted the tsurumaru or “crane circle” as its livery. The logo – which features a crane bird with its wings forming a circle around its head – was chosen as it was deemed to be the perfect symbol for JAL. The crane mates for life (loyalty) and it flies high for miles without tiring (strength). The symbol was dropped for a decade but reintroduced in 2011 after a corporate restructure and it has remained ever since.

The airline – also known as Nikko – has just unveiled its new inflight amenities and they all revolve around tsurumaru. Tasked with bringing a contemporary but still respectful look to the domestic and international in-flight amenities, the uber-trendy Japanese design house Nendo swung into action. It came up with the idea of integrating the lines and geometries of a red folded paper crane – a symbol of peace, prayer, and hospitality – as the principal design for the remit.

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To this end, blankets, napkins, and tablecloths feature the birds head in the form of red triangles in the corners, while small red tags are visible on the edges of the pillows, pyjamas, eye masks, slippers, and cutlery bands. The trays, menu cards and pouches are printed lightly with paper crane motifs.

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Nendo used seven tones of grey in its designs – the darkest grey (a calming warm grey) denotes First Class, the lightest Economy and the middle hue is resplendent in Business Class – giving it a contemporary and sharp look. A very neutral grey was chosen to fit seamlessly into any class, and was used in the packaging for masks, earplugs, tissues, toothbrushes, and other consumables.

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The Nendo-designed amenities look fabulous and will surely end up being as much collected as used by passengers.

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