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PART ONE Chapter I

Prosperity, strength and culture: 1860-1940

e tOI1' of Japan, from the 1860s up to the

e ofiLs involvement in the Second World M. is dominated by both its impact on the est (in terms of its influence on the Modern Iovement in painting, architecture and design), and b its borrowing from the West

- the area of modern technology and industry. Although at theturn ofthe century lhelVest tended to see Japan as a rather primiti,e country, in spite ofits highly evetoped aesthetic sensibility, Japan was, in d. dramatically transforming itself into one fthe world leading industrial powers .

. Iodern Japan took the first steps towards becoming a highly sophisticated industrial lion soon after it opened its doors to trade

the . and Europe in the 1850s. For

ore than 250 years it had experienced a nod oftotal isolation under the rule of the nl;;mmw:J t~hngll ns, d.uri.l1f, which, although - :n:ll;.'lInd, igniticllnl dnrneshr.rnmnu-n-ial "l'f'11o'l htHl1 f.ntif':n place, no forci!,;n trading

Mll !men pern1ilkd_ .lnpnn had reaped no antaes h-om the SCIentific. technological

d mdustr'ial breakthroughs made i11 L:u.u.-=-al UmLLirllt: arul, puliticallv, the :.Alum n-mo "I i II dominated by it feudal

• em which hod chongcd liUll": for two iHHI balfl'{'mlll'lCf). However. In the nrca of

dicra.lh rcgiunal :<.pr:dill I inr r1'i h,lll Ik ~Iuut!d 1:11111 IIHlinnal mllrl\eW were

.... t.lh:h"'d_ 'Iradhlonal Japanese aesuieue /iB"Tttltmoi,nl"irrnl in Ihcu·yen.Hof ~t., .. hlwtlgh a new and ul1t11lanwwriHUe n11'll'\~'IlI1r.1"- abo emcrtlf':d III the new art UITIlli \'t luen nnunancuwnn me rille onne 1L-n.-liuuL du:o in Ihl .. pf>rlod_

Th.Q ~ Q:lJ'\: vC Isoluuun served, therefore. to OJJllOlid''lk .I 0 PDI1'., tnrrlitiml1ll iRe,IS of ~uct.ion bllt there "'YUS little development the -nnv' 111dmrrif'~ - ill ~hil-'lJllildillfl:, fur

example, mechanized textile production, and metal fabrication. In the 1850s, when the acceleration of'international trading and the coming of steamships caused Europe and America to entreat Japan to open its doors to them, all this was to change. Between 1854- the year in which the American Commodore Perry signed a trade agreement with Japan-

and 1868- the year ofthe so-called 'Meiji Restoration', when the shoguns handed over power to the Emperor - the preconditions for changewere laid down. As a symbol of what was to come, on the occasion of'its trade agreemenL, America presented Japan with a model locomotive, an electric telegraph and a daguerrotype camera.

This Japanese wood-block print is entitled 'Foreigners at Namamugi near rokohama being attacked and killed'. The Japanese distrust of foreigners before the Meiji period was so strong that they were not allowed in the country.



A wood-block print, from the nineteenth century, by Yoslntoshi. Th is shows the arrival of Commodore Perry in.Japan-lhe first moment of'rnajor contact between Japan and the West for over two hundred year's and a turning point in modern Japanese history,



In Japan, the 1870s and 1880s were decades of intense modernization and, above ,alii, ,of almost fanatical Westernization. 'Western dress and interiors were introduced as a result ofth e dissemination of images from the West They were, in the words of YOshida Mitsukuni, 'symbols of progress .... It naturally became the norm that the higher a person stood in the elite the more often he wore \'~estem clothing and, by extension, the

more frequently he sat on chairs at high tables typical of the Western style oflrving." A British architect was commissioned to design a building in Tokyo called the 'Rokumeikan'which functioned as a centre for social gatherings of .Japanese and foreign diplomats. Here, it is claimed, .Japanese ladies dressed in bustles were instructed in the principles of European cooking.

The relationship with the Western powers

A nearly radio, produced in the I 920s by the Hayakawa Electric Company, ori~inflHy n metulwurk ing concern. It changed iLS name to 'Sharp', today one ortne lcadlngJapancae manufacturcre of electrical and electron ic goods,

was double-edged, however. While, on the one hand, Japan needed allies in Great Britain, France and Germany for trade purposes, on the other it feared being seen as a kind of sub-colony. Primarily as a means of self-defence, and in an attempt to establish itself as an equal powerwith those industrialized countries, Japan devoted much ofits newly found wealth to building up an army and a navy. A fierce sense of nationalism motivated the people in these years, on a par with that expressed in many European countries.

The programme of'modernization concentrated on the establishment of new industries, and on the development of a compulsory mass education system and a modern commercial infrastructure - a banking system, rai Iways, harbours, lighthouses, dockyards, telegraph offices, printing presses and newspapers, and post offices. Many items previously unknown in the East, such as cigars and cigarettes, were introduced into Japan. Numerous foreign experts and technicians - among them railway and marine engineers, and agricultural experts - were hired to work in Japan in the last three decades of the nineteenth century.while many young Japanese were sent abroad to Europe and the USA to study. The government took an active role in this programme of modernization, setting up model factories to encourage Japanese entrepreneurs to follow suit In some cases, factories were established, then sold off atJow prices to the large trading companies or 'zaibatsus' (which included at this time Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Yasuda). These zaibatsus, which in some cases originated in prosperous merchant families in the Edo period, were to become very powerful and important

The opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the Meiji years and immediately afterwards were enormous. Many took advantage of them, to profitfrom the new technology that was suddenly available in Japan. Among the new manufacturing companies established in these years were a few fairly modest organizations which were to go on to become giants ofthe consumer goods industry in the years foUowing the Second World War. What later became the Seiko group, for example,



originally established by Kuitaro Hattori set up the Hattori Seiko Co. Ltd in Tokyo

1881. This company concentrated on the ,,"""''' of precision machinery. Eleven later, Hattori founded Seikosha which timepieces, although the division itself was not established until E937. Similarly, the Toyoda Company formed


in 1897 manufactured automatic wooden looms. Again, it was not until the 1930s that the company diversified its production, this lime into motor cars, with the formation ofits now famous Toyota division. Tokujio ,Hayakawa founded his small snap buckle and metalworks business in 1912, the final year of'the Meiji period. By the 1920s it had

Two nineteenth-century Japanese prints depicting different forms of

manu factu reo The print on the left shows silk thread being relined; on the right work is in progress in a boot-making factory, a highly labour-intensive activitv,

become the Hayakawa Electric Co .. Ltd" concentrating its efforts on the production of cats' whiskers radios. Much later, the company changed its name to 'Sharp' after the 'Ever-Sharp' propelling pencil that it had started to manufacture in 1915. Another leading electrical company, Matsushita, was formed in 1918, the year of Japan's post-First



vorid War economic boom.It began modesUywith Konosuke Matsushita making adaptor sockets in his own home, but expanded in the inter-war years to become a major industrial force.

1 apan is a single crop country which had depended on the production of rice for centuries. It also needed to import nearly all i ras materials and heavy machinery. To obtain these, foreign trade was vita I. Exports, mthe period 1868-97, increased twenty-fold, in return for the raw materials and foreign machiner 'needed for man ufacture and modernization.

The image ants production that Japan projected in the West in the second half of the nineteenth century was not, however, one

ociated with modern life but rather with overtly traditional values. Westerners' perception of Jap an was coloured-by the riehnes and exoticism of, first, ukiyo-e prints., ami later the densely patterned kimono lacquerwork, screens and fans that they imported with such fervour from the

1 60s onwards. This aesthetic contrasted \iolent1'y,vith the essential values of the ordinary Japanese people . .Japanese manufacturers were quick, however, to exploit the taste for all things Orienta] that

eveloped first in Europe, and a little later in the ~SA.ln the second half'of'the nineteenth century they produced highly decorated "DOd especiatty far those markets and exported them in vast numbers to the ecunursawercnoueee that dealtin such


The crazofor :JaponlSmc'tlrsttook hold in P ... i"! IMOs<twl 1860samongthe ,n.,nl-f_£IJ Lie l'"illlen ul'Ihe day and filtered nio l-~nl',li1"ull hro1l8h the agency of men

Iftlll.'\Ji"m\o McNeill \lVlli~lIelj whu had Oft.ed tn Paris before moving to London.

Va~o because the Japanese could only send rnajl, hghtweightgnods Or! the longjonrncy I .. F.u£VVI::" alll.i(J<lnly because ottno Vtctortun t.. t\l [vdhe exotic. the European I11U1'kCI WAS

nod'f'd,;<I£\er i808, wlth arioh al'ray of I1N'OfIln c Japan ese goods, amon g Ih ~ IfI am, buuuhu~.l[Jcqu()I'W()J'R, em broidery, uuarnel, paper, sunshades ann rol~Unp; ",u@~m. The Ilrs; ruulor snow of

IIptlllC'le (!juud'i in IIritain was at the 1802 r .. rumnnn WhCl"C ."iir Hnthcrford Alcock. dl~r;tl>\j \::!\l.ILj~ own conecnnn of Japanese lIlrl .. r>td", whkh Included a range uf

The 'Ever-Sharp' propelling pencil, produced in t 915 by the Hayakawa Company

The Japanese Court at the International Exhibition held. in London i n1 Rfi2. The stand displayed the Ilrst.examples of'traditional Japanese goods to be seen in London by a large audience, and was highly influential in helping create the vogue for all things Japanese which developed ill the IS70s and 1880s.

ccmmtcs.prints, fans and textiles. The most striklngfeatures of the decoration on all the items were the sLylized use of natural imagery ami the strong sense of asymmetry, both of which round thcirway into much domesucallymanufuctured British decurative art in the second half of'the nineteenth century.

The vogue for Japanese ware had

influenced the sty I istic preferences of a large section ofthe British middle-class rna rket by the 188050 A number of London stores, among them Whiteleys, Debenham and i<'reebody,Swan and Edgar and Liberty, opened Oriental departments to cater to the demand. Ofthese, Liberty was most committed to the fashion and its owner, Arthur Lasenby Liberty, visited Japan in 1888


Posterfllr 'The Geisha' [rom 1006. The infl uence of Japani m extended from the applied arts to popular entertainment as this event alDaJ)!'s Theatre in

London clearly indicates. Probably the best-known example ofLhis influence is Gilbert ami SUllivan's operetta, 'The Mikado' ..

J. porcelain vase by James Hadley with moulded, painted and gilt. decoration and imagery inspired by Japanese examples. The vogue for the Japanese style in the second half of the nineteenth century was particularly marked in ceramics.




L \V. Godwin was one of lil('lwSI-I;IIUWIl Hrilish exponents ofthe .IapaIH'S(' style in furniture design in IIll'll'l70s.ThecabillPt sketched (It:tl) was completed in 11'l7(), and is made ol'wulnut, with carved boxwood plaques (abore),



I (

-~ w- - 0


IIhPlH'f'1l III IHlW p;ooa!1 tn ~"1I11l his shop, Hp \\ 1'111 (In liJ 1I1U1i'llIlwtw'(' and scn texutes prOOlirnri, lI,in(! hndil iuua] .IdJlll lint' d~t'i "I' 10000nlq\l\lli,

011:1 n, 1'<", ,\\',\I\l,p;nnk kyt'l 'Jm}(lIti~m('J II :lII il\t1I'rllrcd n number ofunhilccto nnd dClii,nrn 'Tho were H'pldng altPIII<Llhes IU UIt' HI1111i1J rmn-m nrff'I'rli tH't't1WI'Y bM"Ih'iioll" ilh lhe Uolhit' Ikyind.


I J,;. ,

~:. W. Godwin collected Japanese prints from the ItlbO:-; onwards and based many ofhis desi~ns for lurnhu ['Ie' and i utertors on Ihe dorncsuc scenes depicted in them. Thomas Jet''')!! and WalL!:'r Cran« similarly used print' 11:'; it xnurrr- ofkn~nvlf'dgf' ahuut.lapun. Only Christopher Dresser; who had visited Japan rmmedtatetv aft!"!' the 1868 rcvolut ion, Oil rl rnmmissinn from the Hritish Chamber

of'Comrnercc to report on Japanese manufacture, developed a real understanding, through firsthand expericnco, ofthe true principk-» or.lapallPsP art. V\lith them in mimi, he sought to develop (I mort' rational, t\HlC'1 ional theory of ciel'iigll than his contemporaries. His idea that '1I1i1il~ must precede beauty" derived di 1'('('1 Iy from contact with the Japanese concepts otsabi'

w-;;el'operled an Farringdon Street. A H,' Iarkmurdo

.e-h realized his OWIl

1 itectural strt let II J'C

UII Europe was presence at large

. ns, indudilll£ Paris

- -the first at which the IW\'\

_R~ this time,

me nne of the main arch itectura I and

in the work of, among -; ••• uoo-",,--..c-and Heetur Guimanl.

i iportant stimulus 10 111(' l. modem decoration, structural, It did not bring _ revolution but it did ft"l..olid sm. This

a di.lan! unknown _l:".\.hil"ralillg and

1 of decoration with [10

"_"~.:::-::::J[IdJ,!)(l] ( 11." profound traditional Japanese

wa s the American, Frank In]. \\ right hecarne one of

I iulluences on the

eratinn of architects and European \'l~odel'll

"'pmng lip in Holland,

.. I ('11:' in the-years following


'\rlllj[]g lhr: British graphic artists inspired hv I ill' Japanese nesthetic in the lIilll'\.t'('IILtll.TIIlul':'I was Auhrr-v Hf'al'r1slf'Y. As this illustration from his 'Tristan and Isolde' s['rics demonstrates, hrwas particularlv influenced by tlu- usr- oflinr- uud decllration from the nuuunl worid.



Japan and the West and for establishing Japanese principl es as among the most important sources of inspiration for modern architecture in the West.

Wright's first experience of Japanese architecture was at the 'Century of Progress' exhibition of 1893 where he was much taken by the Ho-c-den Pavilion. The interior of the

building was full of uyiko-e prints and Wright began to collect them, travelling to Japan in 1906 to gather more. It was during this visit that he both increased his knowledge of traditional.Japanese architecture and applied arts and became committed to the idea that '.1 apanese art was nearer to the earth and a more indigenous product of

native conditions of life and work, therefore more nearly modern, as .1 saw it, than any European civilization alive 01' dead."

This thought led him to evolve a theory of modern architecture which was founded on a number of Japanese-inspired principles. These included the central beliefin the idea of the 'elimination of'the insigniflcant'"; the

A window detail from Prank Lloyd Wright's Arthur Heurtley House of 1902 in Oak Park, Chicago, The aesthetic of the building, in particular the stress on the horizontal, is Japanese in origin.

In his Frank W. Thomas House of! 901, Frank Lloyd Wright emphasized, once again, the lise ofhorizontai planes, thereby showing the relationship of the building to the ground on which it is built-another theme directly inspired by the model of Japan.



The continued emphasis upon horizontality and on simple geometric forms of ltobie House in Chicago derives from Wright.'s love and understanding oftraditional

Japanese architecture,

Importauee ufhuri:t;omUJlty; me relationship between the bulldlng lind ifR narural surruundlngs: r.he [hl'{)1j' {)fmoduJorityor standardlzatlnn derived from the t(lto.ntimllt the flexibility ofthe building's interior lijMrei and the importance of a ritualistic centre fur the horne. (W}'i/liht exprexsed the latter thmll!!;h the open fire-place ill hi!; F'rairie hOlljle~.) These, and many other prun:ivhth. soon became fundamental tenets of milch Modern Movement architecture.

Wright's work was mudc Ilvnilnhlc in Gennauy in 10 to nrnrougn tl1c rUlhlir:ntion of Ernst Wasmulh's two-volume study ofdlf' architect, and in Holland through the mediation of H. P. Berlage, ami he became one ottne major influences on the work of the next generation of Modern Movement masters. In 1914, after having built the Robit" House (1908) and Taliesin (1909) - two primary examples of his interpretation of Japanese principles - Wright returned to Tokyo to start work on the Imperial Hotel which he had been commissioned to build as a base both for Western travellers in Japan and for Japanese businessmen, He resolved this difficult brief by adapting a numberof essentially Japanese ideas, such as 'gra\itI heating' and the emphasis on horizontality, to his own ends.

In depending so strongly upon Japan a a source of'insplration, Wright developed an 'organic' ratherthan a 'mechanistic' metaphor as a base for his theory of architectural functionalism. lt was a metaphorwhich was shared by many uf'the Modern Movement's American advocates, including the Greene brothers and, a little later, Richard Neutra, While in Europe the idea ofthe machine was a much more obvious source ofinfluence, there can be little doubt that many ofthe Japaneseinspired architectural features that ''''right developed were picked up and reused by International Style architects of the 1920

and 1930s. The 'elimination ofthe insignificant', the commitment to modularity, the relationship ofinternal with external space, and the idea that the architect should be responsible for the whole interior rather than for the architectural shell alone, became fundamental elements in Modern Movement architecture.

By the 1920s and 1930s, the International Style had moved away from overt references



Tokyo's main street aflr-r the ~rt'at curthquake of 1923 shows the devastation, The loss of buildings served to encourage many new nciti"g arrhite-rtural projects In lhe CilY.

1(, Jopnll, LuL Ullcrr "l'n ... ·.1 ill ~i"'l1~ ul' lin.' n.'IIU1t1I1Sntp nerween I',ast and West in arrnttecturc. III the 19305, the emphasis on an Oriental inspiration for Modern ;tn:hlLt't'WFl' f'I.'-t'ml'r~ect,lI1iQ Lim!' with JIII""ll1llilllnr n rm uh IIUJl'r url i, r ["[ .. Ie ill till' r:..{fIflIHU' orvrewe, i\ tW{)-WilY rrunmunlcarjon process W(It, illilii:lled

\ l'I{'rrlwJllrrflnl~,1rflrdliln'bHnd dDiplFr:. ... ..-111 Lll ~'llnJl''' 10 ~llllly ~H1d rraln, and 1.lImJlrtltlllr{'hittct~ h'n..-t1lnl in Ji'llillll" ~lT ;Il finl II\UlU wnrro rnanv onne Incas with lIl,lilidllht"J nne:m rrtmilitlr had IIri(!hlilll:'lL

:'in('{' [he earl V days ortne Melli Kf1-:,IOl'miOIl Japan hnrl lonk rd lo I':unlpt' 1'01'

much of'irs archnvctural lnspl rutlou, Soon aller the Hestnruliun iJ national engineering schonl-The National Kobu Daigakko- had heen founded as a means of rt-placing till' old IlPpl'(,lllif'('~hip .~y."tl"m of carpenters ami constructlou workers. A gl'lIl'ralion of iln:hiled~ t'nwl'/l,('d Irorn that school who copied \Vestf't'Il 1lI'cililc'('tlll'(', in particular the hi"'loddst styles uf'the late-nineteenth century, in their designs 1"01' banks a nd

P;U\ ernun-nt buildings. Gradually, though, younecr .lnpanr-sr- IlIThilecb, amnng I hem Maruuru Yamada, began 10 look fOI' ideas to more avant-garde European mauifcstatlons such as the work of'Olt« \\"agner

and the Viennese Secession group.

The greatest single opportunity for Western-style architects camewith the

Kant« earthquake 0[,1923 which destroyed rnost of'Tokyo and Yokohama and left the v\ a.\ open for an almost complete reconstruction of the cities. In 1926 a Japanese Secession Group emerged. A number ol'the new buildings, including Yamada's Central Telephone Office in 'Iokyo ill 1926 and Tetsuro Yoshida's Tokyo General Post Office in 1931, demonstrated a clear Japanese assimilation of'the I nternational Style. The, arrival of the Czech American Antonin Raymond in Japan in 1919to work on Wright's Imperial Hotr-l, and his decision to stay and work there as a practising a rchit ect in the International Style, was a definite boost to the Japanese movement. Similarly, the expericnr-es ol'youug Japanese architects and designers who travelled to EUJ'Oj1e either to study at the Bauhaus in Dessau or, in the cases of'Junzo Sakakura and Kunin Mayekawa, to work with Lc Corbusier ill Paris, were of prime i rnpnrta nee,

I n1933, the German architect Bruno Taut was invited to Japan by the Japan Architects Association. Taut had contributed (Ill International Style building to the \VeissenhofSeidlung of I 927, but was also a finn believer in using the principles of Far Eastern architecture to guide Western architects. Taut had been asked to be a consultant to the Industrial Art Institute, founded in Japun in 1928. 1-1 is brief now was to advise Japan Otl ways of integrating the best of its traditions with its move into international ~odemism. Taut slayed in Japan forthree years and wrote prolifically on what he felt to be the important influence of the country's traditions upon the modern world.

I nformatiou about \ Vestern architectural theory and practice was widely available in .lapun in the inter-war years. The .\'ippoll

, irchiiect, for example, served as a means of disserninatlug ideas about the lntematioual Style in all its manifestations. III particular, in those days of'e xtrerne nationalism, it highlighted the 1'0 lc that Jupau had played in the formulation ofthe International Style bv publishing in 1937 Hans Eckstein's ess11Y 'Japanese I )welling House and Modern Architecture' and, in German. Wasrnuth's 'The Japanese I .iving House', III 1939, an



F-rank Lloyd Wright's

Imperia I Hotel

in Tol\yo, completed in lh early 1920s .. Intended both fi Japanese businessmen and foreigners, stylistically the hotelwasa strange hybrid 01 Eastern and Western architectural idioms. The hotel interior (below) was primarily Westerrlin character, but included countless features which had a distinctly Japanese flavour such as the hanging lanterns visible here.



manufacturing capability. The pavilion itself was an essentially Modem building - both in its construction and its appearanceconsisting of two floors and including a suspended ramp. Many ofits features derived, however, from traditional Japanese architecture, among them its open plan, the use of natural materials, the relationship between the building and the garden and the inclusion ofa tea-room. The intention was clearly to show just how much the Corbusian brand ofM odemist architecture depended upon fundamental Japanese principles. Inside the building a link between the old and the new was sustained by the inclusion ofa range of traditional household goodsceramics, carpets, and furniture -and examples of decorative art, including objects in porcelain, lacquer and fabric. These were exhibited alongside blown-up photographs and films of Japanese manufacturing techniques and a range of products from the new industries, including heating devices, an electric record player and an electric clock, all manufactured by the Matsushita Company.

Japan's drive to sustain its export trade in the depressed years ofthe 1930s was, however, a somewhat futile exercise. In 19:'W the .Japanese Association of Design and Industries was formed as part of this effort but the world economic and political situation was by then such that hopes for a return to the healthy period which followed the First World War were ill-founded. After the advances made in the 'golden years' (1900-18), the 1920s and 1930s were dominated by economic depression. Although the Japanese automobile industry was horn in the 1930s its only clients, at that time, were the government and the army. The only area of design to thrive in the recession was advertising, which flourished through the 19308 as a means oftryingto entice the people to spend their money on consumer durables. Industrial design, usually a survivor in a recession, was not established firmly enough in Japan to be able to come into its own. Modemlst architecture, as we have seen, had a moment of glory In the late 1920s and early 1930s but u was not really until the years after the Second World War that a truly modern Japanese architecture finally emerged to compete successfully on the international scene.

article by the American architect Ralph T. Walker, commented on Bruno Taut's essay on Japanese architecture. Walker decried the fact that while Japanese architecture was used as an example of economy,

tandardizatlon and prefabrication, no real cultural. analysis accompanied what he felt was a rather superficial appropriation of Japanese architectural principles.

_l\IIotl:ierofficial representative ofthe European Modem Movement to visit Japan during this period was the French designer, Charlotte Perriand. Sakakura was the initial link between Perriand and Japan butshe was imit.ed in 1940 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as an adviser on industrial art. Taut's visit seven years earlier had been to advi e on ways of expanding Japanese exports at a time when they were in diffiouJlies as a result offoreign tariffs, Peniand was now asked to select a range of

traditional and new prod ucts for an exhibition entitled 'Tradition, Selection, Creation' at the Takashirnaya store. Clearly the aim was to leta well-trained Western eye select the best products - both old and newin orderto give Japanese manufacturers an indication of what might or might not export well to Europe. Like Taut, Perriand was fascinated by Japan and stayed there for three years. In 1942 she wrote a book entitled Contact uiith Japan and in1 943 left for Indo-China on her way back to France.

The first indication that Japan was succeeding in finding a satisfactory path between East and West in its search for its own version ofthe International Style came at the Paris Exhibition of 1937 where Sakakura designed the Japanese pavilion. It served mainly as a vehicle for nationalistic propaganda, showing the West the level and range of contemporary Japanese

.mnzo Sekakura's Pavilion, builtfor the lnremanonal ,~:thiLitioll hold in Paris in HI;:\7, represented the Iir~1 moment when u JI'lP" 111'":.'"

architect, trained in the WesL. set our to fuse Wntem Modernism with tradttloual Japanese archueetural themes.



\d\-ertiSing was the one area of design to flourish in Japan in the 1930s. Th ese posters for the Shiseido cosmetics company date from 1938 and 1939 (right).

Handicrafts were threatened with extinction by the onslaught of mass production and onJy survrved through the promotional efforts of a few reforming individuals and critics, among themSoetsu Yanagi and Kunio Yanagida.

The 1950s are described in Japan as the decade ofthe 'dark valley'. They were characterized by a rising surge of ultranationalism and militarism culminating, first, in the war with China in 1957 and then, four years later, the Pacific War. Socially, a huge gulf divided the rich from the poor in these years and there was a great deal of

unrest among the ranks of'the newly formed urban proletariat. Modernization and Westernization had taken place on a massive scale in the decades since the 1860s but by the inter-war years this had resulted as much in confusion as anything else.

In the years 1860-1940 Japan gave more to the West than it received in return, particularly in the areas of art, architecture and design. None the less, the technological advances made in Japan in these years, which depended almost entirely on imports from the West, were substantial. After the

Second World War, in spite ofthe destruction, Japan was in a position to

its strengths very quickly and to take up where it had left off. 8y then also it was

to assimilate many of the aesthetic I had both taught, and learned from, She and to move into a new epoch. In the post-war years, the Japanese provtded, again in the areas of architecture, crofts graphic design, and for the first time in fashion, electrical and electronic good automotive design, a model for the rest of world.