⟨ Object ⟩

Mosquito-catching pig

MUJI’s traditional mosquito coil server

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Illustration / Furze Chan
Translation / Ian Tsang

夏天是個生機勃發的季節,而不僅是人,就是連蚊蟲也同樣生猛得很。小時候家人習慣使用片裝的電子蚊香驅蚊,然而被日劇和動畫餵養長大的我,更想要卻是那種小豬造型,幾近是每個日本家庭必備的——「蚊取り豚」。

「蚊取り豚」是日本的傳統蚊香爐,其字面意思是「抓蚊的豬」。蚊香爐當初採用豬的形象設計,主要說法是來自愛知縣常滑市一個養豬場,其養豬場主人為防治驅蟲,於是在排水管燃點蚊香,可因為水管開口太大、效果不彰,養豬場主人改造收窄管口後,發現其造型與豬有幾分相像,便索性把蚊香做成小豬形狀,還加上了雙目、豬耳朵等細部特徵。

畫面上是由無印良品推出的「蚊取り豚」,其大量簡化原設計之細節,只擷取其傳統的輪廊線條,換來這隻無印風濃厚的蚊香爐;其光滑無遐的白瓷表面,讓人光是看著就感到全身沁涼。無印良品的「蚊取り豚」只限日本發售,不過最近竟在MUJI GOBAL頁面上也發現它的身影,大概不久以後也可在各國分店中購得。

The arrival of summer brings a spring of vitality. Not only human beings but even insects and mosquitos have become as energetic and active as ever. When I was little, my family used to use electronic mosquito coil for repelling mosquitos. However, for me, who grew up feeding on anime and Japanese television series, I very much prefered to get one of those shaped like a piglet – “Katori buta” – which is almost a must-have in every Japanese household.

“Katori buta”, a traditional mosquito coil server used in Japan, literally means “mosquito-catching pig”. According to a major saying, that it takes the form of a pig can be traced back to a pig farm in Tokoname city in Aichi prefecture. Apparently the pig farm owner decided to light a mosquito coil inside a waste pipe, hoping to repel insects. But it was not effective probably because its opening was too wide. After making the opening narrower, he discovered that its shape looked somewhat like a pig, prompting him to turn the mosquito coil server into one shaped like a piglet, complete with small features including a pair of eyes and pig ears.

The picture shown here is the “Katori buta” released by MUJI. It is a simplified version of the original design, removing many of its minor features and keeping only its traditional outline, thereby giving birth to this mosquito coil server characteristic of MUJI products. This product is sold only in Japan, but to my surprise, I have recently found it on MUJI Global’s homepage. It will probably be made available for purchase at its branches in various countries.