Aug 29 2011: Kangei – Welcome Aboard! (Japan Airlines Booklet, 1964)

Japan Airlines Booklet (1964) [Wining, Dining, Shopping With JAL]

A brochure from 1964 giving information and instructions to passengers on Japan Airlines might not seem the most fascinating of documents, but within its few pages a whole other world is evoked, as far from our own, in some respects, as that of Augustan Rome or Eighteenth Century London, and certainly evokes the attitudes and milieu of the ongoing TV series Mad Men, where the leaflet’s injunction to “smoke all you like…[but] we ask your consideration for other passengers: cigarettes only, please”, or its note drawing attention to “the traditional tortoise-shell design on the overhead rack” aboard the plane feel like pure Don Drapery. Warnings about the effect of cabin pressure on fountain pens, or against the use of portable FM radio sets (presumably the mobile phone of 1964), or even advice to book return flights on arrival in Japan and an invitation to passengers to stop by the kitchens where in-flight meals are being prepared on board, all suggest variations in the texture of life in this fairly recent era that are instantly recognisable and slightly alien simultaneously.

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