A History Lesson
Furoshiki originated in Japan in approximately 710 BC. At the time, cloth was primarily referred to as "tsutsumi" meaning "present" or "package" where it was mainly used to wrap valuable items found in Japanese temples.
Between 1136 and 1573, a military leader called Ashikaga Yoshimitsu built a large bathhouse in his residence, where he invited others to use the facilities. The guests would wrap their kimonos in cloth as they bathed so they were not mixed up with the others'.
Furoshiki gained popularity amongst all folk and it soon became custom to use the cloths for wrapping gifts, books and other merchandise.
In 2006, the Environmental Minister of Japan promoted the cloth to encourage further use to reduce the use of plastic and shed a light on environmental awareness.
Today, it is often used by Japanese schoolchildren to carry their lunchboxes, and of course by gift-givers around to globe as a sustainable way of gift-wrapping.