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  • Designing Modern Japan

Teasley, Sarah, 2013, Book, Designing Modern Japan Reaktion, London. (Unpublished)

Abstract or Description:

Designing Modern Japan is a single-authored book, contracted for publication with Reaktion Books. A critical history of design in Japan since that country’s re-engagement with international politics and trade in the 1860s, the book charts the relationships between developments in domestic design industries (product, graphic, furniture, fashion and interior), changes in the material culture of everyday life in Japan, perceptions of ‘Japanese design’ oversea and debates within Japan on what 'modern Japanese design' should be.
The book is the culmination of more than a decade of primary archival research in Japan, the US and the UK as well as a comprehensive survey of existing secondary sources. Surprisingly, it will be the first English-language resource to narrate - let alone critically examine - the history of design in Japan from the nineteenth century to the present day.
Research questions include:
- How has ‘design’ been understood in Japan since the late nineteenth century?
- What impact have existing craft traditions, local culture and foreign definitions of design had on the development of design as a discipline, industry and method in Japan?
- What has been the relationship between professional understandings of design in Japan, the domestic reception of designed products and images of ‘Japanese design’ overseas, both in Europe/North America and in neighbouring Asian countries?
- How might the standard ‘history of modern design’ change when Japan’s experience is added to the story?
- How might we understand the story of design in modern Japan (or any local/national context) within the broader framework of global design history?
The book progresses chronologically, from early attempts at formulating and implementing a state design policy for product exports in the 1860s and 70s through to Japanese design in global economic and cultural circuits today.
Publication is expected in autumn 2013; to date, the project has also generated numerous lecture invitations in the UK, North America and Japan. The research also inspired a successful proposal to the Victoria and Albert Museum for an exhibition on Japanese design post-1991, currently in development.

Subjects: Other > Eastern > T200 Japanese studies > T230 Japanese Society and Culture studies
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Copyright Holders: Sarah Teasley
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 15:50
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2013 15:53
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/559

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