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  • When local industry meets global forces, or what we might learn from furniture manufacturing in Shizuoka, Japan

Teasley, Sarah, 2014, Book Section, When local industry meets global forces, or what we might learn from furniture manufacturing in Shizuoka, Japan In: Current Issues in Global Furniture: Proceedings of the 8th Biennial Furniture Research Group Conference. Furniture Research Group, National School of Furniture, pp. 41-64. ISBN 978-0-948314-66-7

Abstract or Description:

The furniture manufacturing industry in Shizuoka, Japan, has lost 80% of its workshops since 1980. Shizuoka, a city partway between Tokyo and Nagoya in Japan’s eastern industrial belt, has been home to furniture manufacturers since the sixteenth century. At its heyday in the 1950s, entire neighbourhoods consisted of SMEs and micro-businesses producing mirror stands and storage chests for the national market, some employing then-advanced machinery for mass production, others creating bespoke products by hand.
Today, twenty years of economic stagnation, offshore competition, changing consumer tastes and distribution systems and an ageing workforce have left the industry a shell of its former self. At the same time, however, some firms are thriving thanks to strategies like targeting niche markets, and local and regional government are keen to identify further strategies to support Shizuoka through its industries.
This peer-reviewed conference presentation, published in the subsequent proceedings, takes the Shizuoka furniture industry’s decline and transformation as a case study for understanding the impact of market conditions, environmental and forestry regulations, industrial policy and global trade networks on furniture as a local industry in advanced industrial nations.
Based on interviews with manufacturers, local and regional government officials, industry organisations and consultant designers, site visits and research into industry publications and grounded in two larger perspectives – the social, economic and cultural history of Shizuoka’s furniture industry and Japanese furniture industry conditions nationally, now - the paper identifies key actors in the Shizuoka ‘ecosystem’. Ultimately, it argues for the need for stakeholders to cooperate in developing local and regional industrial policy aimed at supporting sustainable industry as part of sustainable communities – whether in Japan, Britain or elsewhere.

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History > V148 Modern History 2000-2099
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area > V240 Asian History
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V320 Social History > V321 Local History
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W260 Furniture Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 17:40
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2016 17:40
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2219

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