Some of the most charming hashioki in my collection are the ones that are pairs.
Hashioki sold as pairs are often intended as presents for couples, either as a wedding or shower gift, or perhaps in celebration of an anniversary or new home.
This lovely vintage pair of ginkgo leaves with gilt trim were undoubtedly created for that sort of occasion. Maybe they are intended to symbolize autumn because ginkgo leaves turn yellow in the fall, or to suggest longevity because the ginkgo tree is renown as a living fossil. Or maybe they are intended to represent tradition, because ginko trees line the moat around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, and are also planted at shrines and temples throughout Japan. In any case, the wooden box they are packaged in adds to the impact value of the gift, and also protects the fragile rests during storage.
This romantic pair of white doves that complement each other, but are not identical, were were originally sold at the US retailer Pottery Barn.
Japan is a gift-giving society, and hashioki are undoubtedly presented in pairs to individuals regardless of marital status. Sometimes two gifts are simply better, meaning more impressive or more substantial, than one. This practice is such a recognized tradition that the Malaysian company Royal Selangor, makers of fine pewter giftware that is very popular in Asia, sell their hashioki strictly in pairs. In addition to these finely articulated pair of pea pods, my collection includes pairs of Royal Selangor dragons and koi goldfish.
My favorite pair of paired hashioki is this back and front brace of rabbits purchased in the gift shop of the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto. Even though this is an unsigned mass market product, I appreciate that the designer conceptualized the pair in a fresh way, and made the effort to style the ears so they harmonize but are not identical
Some hashioki twosomes may be unintentional pairs, like this matching set of polka dot dachshunds that are identical in every way except color,
or this pair of baskets that feature the same colors but have slightly different decoration detail.
Hashioki pairs can correlate but have different subject matters, like these two adorable pairs of cats and dogs.
Some “pairs” of hashioki are joined into a single piece, like this parent and child rabbit duo,or these siamese twin pair of rabbits.Of course two-in-one hashioki like these allow a
person to use a “pairs” theme when setting a table, even if you have an odd number of guests.
In that case, two-in-one is significantly better than one.