• SHARE

“In Japan, craft is not limited to, or exclusively, handmade. It is as much a mindset as a physical act,” says American architect and writer Naomi Pollock in the introduction to “Japanese Design Since 1945,” a comprehensive overview of postwar Japanese designers and products.

Today, aspects of Japanese design — from the clean lines and muted palettes of products from “no name” brand Muji to the Sony Walkman and sharp folds in any Pleats Please Issey Miyake garment — are recognizable to even a layman, and so it comes as a surprise to learn that, while dedication to craft and monozukuri (“making things”) have always been part of the artisan’s mindset, the concept of contemporary design (as perceived in the West, at any rate) itself was virtually unknown in the country before World War II.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)