Before electricity was available Japanese lanterns played a huge role in everyday life. They had to be practical and durable as well as fitting in with traditional Japanese design. They were very simple - built from wood and covered in rice paper just like the sliding shoji doors in the house. The rice paper gave the light a beautiful luminous glow that would emulate the sunrise and sunset - two of the most aesthetically pleasing times of day. A candle would be placed carefully inside and kept within close watch.