Just Enough – Finding the Essence of Japanese Design

March 2, 2023
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Talks+ past event

Part of the Talks+ Living Traditions Series
Live WebinarCalculate your local time

Thursday, March 2, 7 pm ET

Since Japan and the West began exchanging ideas in the mid-19th century, Japanese design sensibilities—from elaborate kimono garments and meticulously raked gardens to lavish compositions of ukiyo-e woodblock prints—have had wide appeal across Europe and the United States. Often ornate yet minimalistic, Japanese design embodies numerous visual approaches underpinning the notion of “just right” or “just enough,” known as hodo-hodo. While no single element characterizes the entirety of Japanese design culture, many scholars attribute the spectrum of Japanese design to cultural, social and spiritual practices deeply grounded in Japan’s history that continue to be observed in Japanese design practices today. Featuring a discussion with Taku Satoh, one of Japan’s most critically acclaimed contemporary designers, alongside two internationally recognized authorities on Japanese design sensibilities, Linda Hoaglund (bilingual filmmaker and cultural producer) and Sarah Teasley (Professor of Design, RMIT University), this live webinar will explore the underlying aesthetic and cultural roots essential for understanding the essence of Japanese design.   

Event Handout (PDF)

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Taku Satoh, graphic designer
Sarah Teasley, Professor of Design, RMIT University

Linda Hoaglund
, filmmaker, cultural producer

7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT)    Discussion and Q&A

Program Details
This is a free event, with advance registration required. The program will be live-streamed through YouTube, and registrants will receive the viewing link by email on the day before the event. Participants can submit questions through YouTube during the live stream.

About the Speakers

Taku Satoh graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Design, in 1979, then from its Graduate School in 1981. He worked for Dentsu Inc., before establishing Taku Satoh Design Office (TSDO Inc.) in 1984. Additionally, Satoh is the president of Japan Graphic Design Association Inc (JAGDA), and a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). His work includes product development (Nikka Whiskey Pure Malt), packaging design (LOTTE XYLITOL Gum, Meiji Oishii gyunyu), graphic design (PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE), logo design (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo), as well as on branding and corporate identity (CI) programs. He provides art direction on the educational channel of NHK Television, Nihongo de Asobo, overall direction for Design Ah! on the same channel, and overall direction of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT. He has planned exhibitions such as water (2007), JOMONESE (2012), Design Anatomy (2016) and Design Ah! (2013, 2018-2020). His publications include Sosuru Shiko (Shinchosha, 2017), Mark Book (KINOKUNIYA COMPANY, 2022) and Just Enough Design (CHRONICLE BOOKS, 2022).

Linda Hoaglund is a bilingual filmmaker born and raised in Japan. The daughter of American missionary parents, she attended Japanese public schools and graduated from Yale University. She has directed and produced five feature-length films about art and the relationship between Japan and the U.S.: Wings of Defeat (2007), ANPO: Art X War (2010), Things Left Behind (2012), The Wound and The Gift (2014) and Edo Avant Garde (2019). Most recently, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art created a K-12 Arts Curriculum inspired by Edo Avant Garde with Hoaglund. Hoaglund has also subtitled 250 Japanese films, including Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa and Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. She has translated kabuki performed at Lincoln Center and essays by Issey Miyake, Ishiuchi Miyako, Tomatsu Shomei, Yokoo Tadanori, Kirino Natsuo, Moriyama Daido, Takashi Murakami, Ando Tadao and other renowned artists and writers. In 2022, Chronicle Books published Just Enough Design, a book featuring designer Taku Satoh’s work that she edited and translated.   

Sarah Teasley is a historian of design, technology and society recognized internationally for her expertise in Japanese design culture. She is Professor of Design at RMIT University in Australia. Her research focuses on two areas: how gender, class and other power relationships shape how people experience design and making, particularly in modern Japan, and how people work creatively with new (bio)technology and materials today and in the past. She is the author of Designing Modern Japan (2022), co-editor of Design and Society in Modern Japan (2016) and Global Design History (2011) and author of numerous articles and book chapters. Her research is highly collaborative and transdisciplinary, applying methods across design research, history and cognate fields. She holds degrees from Princeton, Musashino Art University and the University of Tokyo, and taught previously at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Northwestern University and the Royal College of Art (UK).

Living Traditions webinar series is co-presented with the Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden and supported by the Government of Japan.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support for cultural programs is provided by an anonymous donor and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.
  • Thursday, March 2, 2023
  • 7:00 pm
  • Online
  • Free Event