Tokyo 1960 | Tokyo World Design Conference

After World War II, production and export industries increased drastically as a result of economic growth in Japan. The sudden overwhelming growth became out of hand when local industries would imitate foreign designs, leading to dissatisfied international exchange. To loosen the friction, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) revised the Design Protection Law against the imitation of designs. Along with support from the Patent Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Japan External Trade Organization, the World Design Conference was successfully held in Tokyo from May 11-16, 1960. The theme “Our Century: the Total Image—What Designers Can Contribute to the Human
Environment of the Coming Age” attracted a total of 84 foreign designers from 26 countries participated, including 143 Japanese designers.

The main discussion for the conference was to explore the future image of modern architecture. Problems of mass production and consumption and the compromising of originality under capitalisation were reflected among contributors. This conference is also where the Metabolist Manifesto was presented by Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa, Masato Otaka and Fumihiko Maki. The series of four essays entitled Ocean City, Space City, Towards Group Form and Material and Man was deemed the avant-garde of Japanese urban architecture and gained significant attention worldwide.

Tokyo World Design Conference, 1960
Tokyo World Design Conference, 1960

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