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Japanese launch $1,000 samurai iPhone cases

Japan telecom giant Softbank has released luxury designer cases for iPhone 3GS featuring traditional Japanese motifs.

The phones are named after famed samurai.
The phones are named after famed samurai.

What if samurai had owned cell phones?

That's the concept behind Softbank's five new Japan Texture cases for the iPhone 3GS/3G. The gorgeously lacquered cases, handcrafted with gold dust highlights, are intended to blend traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern IT tools.

Great warriors like Oda Nobunaga vied for supremacy around the time of Japan's Warring States period (1467-1568). They were ruthless military commanders who commanded absolute loyalty from their legions of samurai.

Today, they can be bling in your pocket. Softbank is selling the cases for the paltry sum of $1,000 apiece.

The cases come with special cloth pouches.

Samurai were very fond of beautifully wrought objects like netsuke, elaborately carved belt toggles. Softbank BB told designers to imagine what iPhone cases would look like if five famous samurai owned them.

For instance, a crescent moon is prominently featured on the case named after Date Masamune, a one-eyed northern warlord whose helmet had a similar design.

The case named for Uesugi Kenshin, a brilliant tactician known as the Dragon of Echigo, bears an outline of the god of war Bishamonten, which he worshiped, and the Chinese character for dragon, which he used as a battle standard.

The other cases are named after well-known samurai Naoe Kanetsugu and Sanada Yukimura.

The Japan Texture cases were created in collaboration with Zohiko, a renowned Kyoto lacquer ware maker founded some 350 years ago.

The cases take about a week to make, and come with special cloth pouches as well as commentary written by martial arts historian Kozo Kaku.