Can big names help the plight of small factories?

Jan 27, 2014

Can big names help the plight of small factories?

The smooth, metallic surface reflects the sunlight coming through the window. Without touching it you can see that this is an object made with great care — even though it came from a factory. I’m inside a shop run by Lexus in Tokyo, but ...

Kenya Hara: the future of design

Jan 4, 2014

Kenya Hara: the future of design

Sitting at a plain white table in a meeting room high up on the 12th floor of a narrow building in central Tokyo, product designer Kenya Hara asks me to picture a shallow plate in my mind. “Now imagine a slightly deeper plate,” Hara ...

Smashing ideas on future design and technology

Oct 28, 2013

Smashing ideas on future design and technology

While contemporary art is still transfixed by its own reflection, veteran Japanese curator Yuko Hasegawa has focused her cultural microscope on something quite different. “Bunny Smash Design to touch the world,” the current group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, is a ...

Tokyo Designers Week uses music, art as draws

Oct 24, 2013

Tokyo Designers Week uses music, art as draws

The definition of design in Japan is changing. Depending on who you speak to, what falls under its umbrella is either shrinking or expanding to include nearly all aspects of modern life. This year’s edition of Tokyo Designers Week (TDW) would be in the ...

Kawasaki has a plan for Tokyo Designers Week

Oct 24, 2013

Kawasaki has a plan for Tokyo Designers Week

Born in Toyama Prefecture in 1948, Kenji Kawasaki is the founder and producer of Tokyo Designers Week (TDW), as well as chairman of Design Association, an NPO seeking to create a new culture of “innovation” in Japan.

The new look of Japanese artisans

Oct 21, 2013

The new look of Japanese artisans

Machi-kōba is the name given to small, city factories in Japan, usually operated by a family, or a handful of craftspeople. While traditional Japanese crafts slowly gather dust in museums, the baton of the "unknown craftsman" has been passed on to these factories.

Real-world validations of our digital realm

Sep 11, 2013

Real-world validations of our digital realm

“We are now living in a super, hyper-extended information society,” says curator Masafumi Fukugawa, “and that idea was the starting point for our new exhibition.” Fukagawa is one of five curators of “Being-in-the-Wired-World,” a group exhibition at Kawasaki City Museum that features eight emerging ...

Japanese collectors take a conceptual turn

Sep 4, 2013

Japanese collectors take a conceptual turn

Echoing the choice of Koki Tanaka — a conceptual artist — for the Japanese pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale this year, “Why Not Live For Art? II: 9 collectors reveal their treasures” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery suggests that art collecting in ...