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International Design Forum

Three distinguished and influential contemporary designers, HIRANO Takuo, HARA Kenya, and KAWASAKI Kazuo, have been specially invited to share their unique insights into present-day design in Japan.

In addition, as a special commemorative speaker, a Grand Master of Japanese traditional tea ceremony, SEN Soushu, will present his viewpoint on the role of aesthetics in Japanese design.

The Forum is free and open to the public. Japanese to English /or English to Japanese simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

28 March, 2008
Kyoto International Conference Center
Admission Free (pre-register required):
Download the FAX application from (PDF: 46KB)
Opening Ceremony
Keynote Speaker: HIRANO Takuo
Invited Talk : HARA Kenya
Invited Talk: KAWASAKI Kazuo
Commemorative Speaker: SEN Soshu
Kyoto Design Declaration :Christian GUELLERIN

Introduction of speaker

Keynote Speakers

(Former President, Kanazawa Art University, proposer of Japan’s Good Design Award)

After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Faculty of Fine Arts), he served as a patent examiner at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. In 1955, he was dispatched by the Japanese government to study at Art Center College of Design, California. After returning to Japan, he proposed the “G-Mark” system. Professor at Tama Art University, 1969 - 2001; Guest professor at Kanazawa College of Art1970 - 2003; Emeritus professor at Tsinghua University, China, 2000; Emeritus professor at Tama Art University, 2001; President of Hirano & Associates, Inc., 1961 - 1991; CEO of Hirano & Associates, Inc., 1991 - 2003; Kanazawa Art University, President, 2003 – 2007. Council member of Good Design Award (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry); Committee member of Industrial Structure Council (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry); Committee member of Japan Society of Sports Industry (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry); Committee member of Export Inspection and Design Promotion Council; Adviser of Toyama Design Association; Corporate adviser of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.

Takuo Hirano

Invited Speakers

HARA Kenya
(Graphic designer, Professor at Musashino Art University, Representative of the Nippon Design Center)

Born in 1958. Kenya Hara produces unique design projects in multiple fields that show objects in everyday life from fresh perspectives. A board member of MUJI since 2001, he is in charge of creating the company’s corporate vision and developing visual strategies for marketing communications and product packaging. He created the programs for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Nagano Winter Olympics and a poster for The 2005 World Exhibition, Aichi, Japan, using key motifs from Japanese traditional art. His product and packaging designs include work for major Japanese companies such as Ajinomoto General Foods, Japan Tobacco and others in the rice and sake industries. He has planned and implemented original art exhibitions, including “Macaroni for Architects”, “RE DESIGN—Daily Products of the 21st Century”, and “HAPTIC—Awakening the Senses”, collaborating with a number of talented creators. The RE DESIGN show traveled to 7 cities around the world and was awarded the Grand Prize for both Industrial and Graphic Design at the 17th Biennial of Industrial Design, as well as the Mainichi Design Award in Japan. He recently published an award winning book, Designing Design (Iwanami Shoten), which enjoys wide readership.

Kenya Hara

Invited Speakers

(Design Director, Doctor of Medical Science)

Born 1949. Expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including traditional craft, optical glasses, computer hardware, robotics, atomic energy, artificial organs, advanced medicine, space exploration equipment, research & design in multi-dimensional space based on topology space theory, development of design by media integration method and medical science, and from design of artificial organs to devices utilizing new energy engines. Special interest in theory and practice of corporate design and design strategy. Former Chairman of Japan Good Design Award Review Committee, and invited member of many Japanese government advisory committees. Recipient of numerous design awards in Japan and overseas. His works are held in permanent collections of many major overseas museums including New York MOMA.

Kazuo Kawasaki

Commemorative Speaker

SEN Soushu
(Mushakoji-Senke Grand Tea Master)

Born in 1945 in Kyoto. Received MA from Keio University. Became Futessai Soshu, 14th Generation Head Master of Mushakoji Senke Kankyuan (Tea School) in December 1988, carrying on the Mushakoji Senke tradition and family line. Has often visited universities in the United States and European countries and has performed Tea Ceremony as a government envoy in European countries and China since the mid-1980s. Invited by the Vatican in March 1994, he dedicated Tea to the Cardinals and was received in an honorary audience by Pope John Paul II, introducing the Japanese Way of Tea. Received the 15th Kyoto Prefectural Award for culture awareness in February 1997. Received an honorary doctorate from Otemae University in 2006.

Sen Soushu