Kenya Hara (amongst others of Muji) is one of my heroes, and Japan is one of my favourite countries. This interview with him in the Japan Times is well worth a read, where he talks about the future of Japanese design.
A couple of quotes that struck a chord with me.
“What are Japan’s resources?” he asks, “I’m particularly thinking about traditional aesthetics. I’ve identified four keywords related to this: sensai(delicateness), chimitsu (meticulousness), teinei (thoroughness or attention to detail) and kanketsu (simplicity).”
and these closing comments:
“However, his [Hara’s] thoughts on the ultimate role of Japanese designers in the future is clear: Designers should not only make beautiful or functional products, but tap a sense of culture as well.
This can be achieved, Hara believes, through a deepening understanding of the value of “koto” over “mono” — experience rather than the beauty of a “fantastic object or brand” — and by allowing themselves and their work to embrace the unknown.
As far as Hara is concerned, the future of Japanese design is not about creating better solutions, it’s about searching for better questions”