Japan, a country closed to foreigners for centuries, still has a fascination for the western world, nowhere more so than in the area of design. The intricacies of the kimono and the apparent fragility of paper-walled houses have given way to the innovation of Yohji Yamamoto and the beauty and efficiency of the bullet train. While the fundamental differences between oriental and western design remain, Japanese style is becoming more and more a feature of life in other countries too. In product design, Sony and Honda have taken inventions from the west, such as television and motorcycles, and turned them into the stuff of dreams. Sushi bars and noodle restaurants, with their emphasis on presentation and their earthenware bowls and lacquer trays, can now be found in most major cities. On the high street, stores such as Muji reflect the modern Japanese aesthetic of minimalism and attention to detail. Internationally, projects such as Kansai International Airport are recognised as major architectural achievements. Every page of Japanese Style will feature full-colour images which illustrate the traditions and the diversity of Japanese design.
Japanese Style brings together the many strands of modern Japanese design, and the influences from which it springs. This timely collection of the best of modern Japan is an authoritative introduction to the country's contemporary design, and some of the history behind it. From beer commercials to Hello Kitty cameras, the idiosyncratic style of Japan is becoming increasingly familiar to the west, without ever losing its ability to make you look twice.