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Designing Modern Japan
by Sarah Teasley
Reaktion Books
Paper: 978-1-78023-202-7 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-230-0

 Hello Kitty, Toyota, Issey Miyake—evidence of Japanese design surrounds us, but we know little about the design industries, education, or consumer industries in Japan itself. Placing key developments in fashion, textiles, graphics, vehicles, and crafts into their broader historical context, Sarah Teasley demonstrates how modern Japanese design is at once a local phenomenon, forged from conditions and historical moments in Japan and East Asia, and a global one, illuminating trends and issues worldwide.

Starting in the nineteenth century and continuing to the present day, Designing Modern Japan explores how geopolitics, the global export market, and the adoption of new technologies led the Japanese government to identify design as a central economic and diplomatic strategy. Teasley reflects on the impact of colonial expansion and rising militarism on design practice and material culture in the decades before 1945 and charts designers’ contributions to postwar Japan’s economic growth. She also addresses design’s potential to assuage current challenges in Japan, such as an aging population, economic stagnation, and environmental crisis. Mining a rich array of texts and images never before available in English, Designing Modern Japan offers unparalleled insight into the factors shaping design’s development and how designers helped form the country as we know it today.

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