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UAL Research Online

Russel Wright and Japan: Bridging Japonisme and Good Design through Craft

Kikuchi, Yuko (2008) Russel Wright and Japan: Bridging Japonisme and Good Design through Craft. Journal of Modern Craft, 1 (3). pp. 357-382. ISSN 1749-6772

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Kikuchi, Yuko

Russel Wright was an American designer who promoted the "American Modern" design and the "Good Design" movement from the 1930s through the 1950s. While he is familiar in the Western design context, his postwar involvement in Asia through the American foreign aid program promoting the idea of "Asian Modern" is little known. Wright and his associates gave the Japanese government advice on the promotion of handcraft, and informed the selection and modification of handcrafts for export to the United States. His advice pushed forward the official launch of the "Japanese Good Handcrafts Promotion Scheme," and subsequent implementation of design policy and system. This process also contributed to the development of the "Japanese Modern" style for craft-based design. In the context of the United States, Wright's Asian project can be seen not only as an extended experiment of the Good Design movement, but also a reflection of Japonisme, which formed an integral part of the modern American cultural identity. This article investigates the nature and extent of Wright's intervention in Japan with a particular focus on the way that the crafts facilitated cross-fertilization between ideas of nationality and the Good Design movements both in the United States and Japan.

Official Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174967808X379434
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Russel Wright, Japan, Craft, The Good Style Movement, Japonisme, Cold War
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Berg Publishers
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)
Date: November 2008
Digital Object Identifier: 10.2752/174967808X379434
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2010 13:47
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2015 11:51
Item ID: 2013
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/2013

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