The decades leading up to the turn of the 21st century have seen in Japan an unprecedented amount of growth and development, with the nation spearheading the way in pioneering technologies, art, and designs. While some cross-referenced existing global design movements, Japanese creators have focused on the needs and preferences of their society, creating many ground-breaking products with new conceptions that revolutionised not only the fields of design in Japan, but also provided key inspiration for future designs in the Western world. From fashion to ceramics, transportation devices to objects used in the daily lives of the average person, Japan offered new directions to explore original ideas.
But are there any tangible items in particular which can be said to stand out as the game changers in the history of Japanese design? To answer this question, we invite Professor KASHIWAGI Hiroshi, a prominent design historian and critic, who will draw on his long-standing career in the field to give his view as to the objects which deserve such an esteemed title. After introducing and providing a socio-historical background on his selection of objects, he will delve into where he believes the future of Japanese design is heading. Following KASHIWAGI's presentation, there will be a short discussion with Josephine Rout, Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
About the speakers
KASHIWAGI Hiroshi is a Professor Emeritus at Musashino Art University, Tokyo. Majored in History of Modern Design. He is a design critic and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London. Born in Kobe in 1946. Graduated with a design degree from Musashino Art University. He has been attempting to spell out modern thought aesthetic through his research in design. Selected Exhibitions: Curator for the exhibition; Tanaka Ikko Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2003. Curator for the exhibition; Fantaisies Cybernetiques, Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, 2003-4. Selected Publication: Modan dezain hihan (Critique of the modern design) Iwanami Syoten, Tokyo, 02. “Shikiri” no Bunkaron (Cultural studies on “boundary”) Kodansya, Tokyo. 04. Tantei-syosetu no shitunai (Interior of Detective Story) Hakusuisya, Tokyo, 11. Dezain no Kyokasyo (The Textbook on Design) Kodansya, Tokyo, 11. Kaji no seijigaku (Studies on Domestic Science) Iwanami Syoten, Tokyo, 15. Shikaku no Seimeiryoku (The Life Force of Visual Culture) Iwanami Syoten, Tokyo. 17.
Josephine Rout is a Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she looks after the Japanese collections of Meiji, Modern and Contemporary Fashion, Design and Metalwork. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury, Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the Royal College of Art, London. At the V&A, she was Assistant Curator for the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art refurbishment, curated the Friday Late Neo Nipponica and was Project Curator of the exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. Her first book, Japanese Dress in Detail (2020), is shortlisted for the 2021 Association of Dress Historians Book of the Year Award.
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