In recent years, Japan has really been hitting its stride in the overseas promotion of its creative industries and design skills. Government-funded projects and individual brands have been making waves with impressive exhibits and installations at major international design fairs, while new initiatives, such as Japan House, have established multipurpose cultural hubs across the globe.

For small-scale, specialized creators, however, the continuous investment needed to develop and maintain an international market often remains a significant hurdle. This month, On Design focuses on Kyoji, a collective of craftspeople and manufacturers that overcomes that barrier by collaborating on lifestyle goods and sharing the costs associated with overseas promotion.

Kyoji’s diverse members — ranging from bamboo crafters and daruma doll makers to metalsmiths and jewelers — offer another advantage.