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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Kazuo Kimura

Industrial designer


Interview: October 26, 2017 13: 30-15: 00
Location: Nagoya College of Arts and Sciences
Interviewer: Yasuko Yukui (Mr. Akira Ina)
Writing: Yasuko Sekiko



Kazuo Kimura

Industrial designer, Professor, Nagoya College of Arts and Sciences
Born in Osaka City in 1934
Graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts in 1958
     Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. joined the molding department
1972 Nissan left the company
     Executive Committee of World Industrial Design Conference Executive Director
1974 Executive Director, Japan Industrial Designers Association
1981 Executive Director, International Design Exchange Association, Secretary General
Concurrently served as secretary general of the 1987 World Design Conference Administration Committee
1992 Senior Managing Director, International Design Center Co., Ltd.
2002 ~ Professor, Department of Media Modeling, Nagoya College of Arts and Sciences, Dean
2006 ~ Graduate School of Media Art and Design, Department Dean

Kazuo Kimura



Kazuo Kimura who played a major role in vehicle design such as Shinkansen and international design exchanges is unique in the design world. Kimura's success departed from the university and was an in-house designer of Nissan Motor Company. In the 1960s, leaving the company and serving as an officer of a design group such as JIDA from the 1970s to the 1990s, and from 2002 onwards, educators He is engaged in fostering design talent as a multidimensional designer.Also since the 1980s he has been engaged in the development of vehicle design which can be said as a life work.There is probably no designer who has been active in such a wide field.
In the 1980s when Kimura was engaged in design promotion and exchange activities, car and electronic equipment makers were trying to expand overseas, and the bubble economy in the latter half got momentum, international exchange was actively conducted in the Japanese design world.The peak was the World Design Expo held in Nagoya in 1989, and its core business was the World Design Conference, which Kimura served as secretary general.Distinguished designers from all over the world gathered, and a wide range of debates ranged from things to cities.In this busy period, he also engaged in vehicle design including Shinkansen and played a major role in improving its quality.Since the 100 series Shinkansen operated by Kimura, its unique exterior and interior design has been highly appreciated, and the railway business has grown to become a Japanese export industry now.
Another one, Kimura is known for "goodness of footwork".It is the motto to observe and experience the exhibition and the event, to meet people, to talk with people, not to go back and forth in the Europe and the United States overnight 3 days, everyone has the network I admit it.I'd like to expect the appearance of people following Kimura in recent years that somehow are said to be inward.



· Nissan · Silvia CSP 311 (1965) Nissan Motor, Exterior · Interior Design
· Nissan · Sunny Coupe (1968) Nissan Motor, Exterior · Interior Design
· Shinkansen 100 Series (1985) Japan National Railway, Exterior · Interior Design
· Moha 281 Series Haruka (1994) JR West, Exterior · Interior Design
· Shinkansen 500 Series Nozomi (1996) JR West, Interior Design
· Shinkansen 700 series Nozomi (1997) JR Tokai + JR West, Exterior · Interior Design
· Moha 285 system sleeper train Sunrise Express (1998) JR west Japan + JR Tokai,
 Exterior / interior design
· Shinkansen N 700 series 7000/8000 number Mizuho · Sakura (2011) JR west Japan + JR Kyushu,
 Exterior / interior design



"History of Modern Design Movement in Japan" (1990) co-authored by Pelican
"Declaration of Urban Industry Revolution" (1994) President co-authored
"Marketing of Hit Items" (2001) Kibunkan Publishing

Kimura Kazu's work



The design museum has important functions such as excellent design, excellent planning, and excellent human resource development

The way to the designer

- Ms. Kimura has played a central role in Japanese design promotion activities such as design of cars and bullet train cars, secretary general of Osaka International Design Exchange Association and World Design Conference.Today, I would like to ask about design archives and design museums from the viewpoint of designers and design promotion.Mr. Kimura's designer's career begins with Nissan Motor, but can you tell us about it since then?


Kimura I was interested in design because my teacher of fine arts at junior high school was born at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and was greatly influenced.And when I finally decided my course at high school 3 years ago, I thought that I would like to do architecture.However, because I did not understand anything, I boldly issued a letter to the architect Kenzo Tange who was active at the time, and the princess met himself.But stop talking about various things.Meanwhile, I was also interested in the industrial design which began to be known at that time, so I visited the Japanese People's Art Gallery to see Mr. Yuji.Fortunately I was able to meet up with Mr. Yanagi's office located nearby, and I got not only advice but also guidance on study taking exams.Thanks to the great two teachers I was able to successfully enter the arts and crafts planning department of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1954.


- It is also surprising that the master Mr. Tange and Mr. Yanagi met a single high school student, but Mr. Kimura who wrote the letter directly and went to visit is amazing.I feel Mr. Kimura's current scale.


In the days of Kimura University as well as design studies, I did various things such as college festival, exhibition in campus, application for design competition, planning and management of voluntary design lecture, actual design work .I think that the design education of Japan at that time was dusting compared to the West and Europe, so I think that it was strong feeling that I wanted to study various opportunities and study.


- After that, did you get started to work on cars and vehicle designs when you were a student?


Kimura graduation production focused on "commuter train".Originally I liked trains, I thought that I wanted to make comfortable a commuter train that is used on a daily basis, not a special one like a sleeping car or an express train.
The condition of the vehicle design depends on the railroad company and the route, but I chose the Hanshin train which I felt familiar from around childhood.I went to the company's car department to hear, got advice from the engineers of the National Railways and Japan Vehicle Manufacturers of the time, and displayed the results in a 1/45 model and 6 panels in a compilation .


- Why did you join Nissan Motor after graduation?


Kimura Because I wanted to work under Mr. Shoji Sato who was a design chief of Nissan Motor at that time.Unfortunately Mr. Sato joined the company and got departed in just a year and I could not receive sufficient guidance, but in the fifth year I joined the company "CSP 311 (Silvia)" responsible for, interior from the exterior, emblem Three designers were involved in development.It is also impressive that German designer Albrecht von Gertz joined as a consultant and got advice from the way.This car was announced as "Datsun 1500 Coupe" at the 1964 motor show and was sold as "Nissan Silvia" from 1965.After that I was in charge of design such as "Sunny Coupe", I left work in 1972.


- In Nissan I was acting as an in-house designer, but what about the materials etc at that time?


Those in the Kimura inhouse period are basically attributed to the company.


- So, do you know what the design archive is in Nissan?


Kimura Nissan has an organization called "Kattachi no Kai" centering on OB and left the company in the spring of 2017, but there was also a strong backup of Shiro Nakamura who was active as Chief Creative Officer (CCO) for many years We organized the materials around the car of Showa 20 ~ 50 's.Members of the Assembly changed in turn, a couple of times a month, in a room of the Global Design Center in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, organized design drawings, sketches, photos and models, and they are stored as archives.Organizing the archive is best done by the principals who know that time and I think that this attempt is a good idea because there is a possibility that the exchange of old and new designers will be born through activities.


- That's right.I think that it is a very effective attempt to inherit DNA of Nissan Design.By the way, how is storage of the actual car?


As Kimura Nissan Heritage Collection, about 400 vehicles (300 publicly disclosed) are kept in Kanagawa prefecture Zama Factory site, 70% of which are kept in a state that they can travel.Although it is an application system, anyone can visit.
Besides, the first floor of Nissan Global Headquarters in Yokohama is opened as a gallery, and various models are displayed for each theme.Silvia and Sunny coupe which I worked on were also exhibited.If these projects are also taken into account largely, it may be said that it is a design archive activity.


Pioneer of Japanese vehicle design


- How did you get involved with vehicle design after leaving Nissan?


Engineer and vehicle manufacturer designer was responsible for vehicle design in the former Kimura period, there was no designer in the national rail itself.The motivation was that in 1979 I participated as a member of the Vehicle Design Technical Committee with the recommendation of Mr. Hoshiaki who was an engineer of the JNR who gave me guidance at the time of graduation production.At that time, when the consciousness to finally emphasize vehicle design was finally raised in the national railway, I participated with Mr. Tetsuo Matsumoto, Mr. Masamichi Tsuneyama.Star remembered the graduation production.


- What kind of work did you specifically do?


Kimura I expected what kind of work it was, at first it was to choose the color of the curtain and the wife's wall of the Tohoku / Joetsu Shinkansen 200 series which was in the final stage at the time.After that, in the 100 series which is the first new format since the 0 series, I was able to get involved from the stage of planning and have achieved great results.


- After that, with the privatization of the National Railways in 1987, Mr. Kimura, Mr. Matsumoto, Ms. Tsuyoshi and Mr. Tetsuo Fukuda were the center and founded the "Transportation Design Organization (TDO)" and Shinkansen etc. It is participating in the design development of many vehicles.So, I'd like to ask about the design of a vehicle such as the Shinkansen, but how do you develop with a railroad company like JR, a vehicle manufacturer, a designer like Mr. Kimura?


Kimura There are various cases.It may be chosen by the case to be specified, the case to be in charge for many years, competition.Normally, when requested by a railway company, we will first propose a design plan as a "design proposal", a direction of outline / in-car design, parts such as a chair, a color plan etc after having a brief explanation of vehicle plan.When it is approved, it will expand to details such as seats, lighting plans, various parts, materials, displays, colors, along with the exterior (exterior) and the interior (interior).
In that case, collaboration with railroad companies as well as design departments and design departments of vehicle manufacturers is indispensable.
I will also make a full-size mockup and will consider.We will also examine parts such as entrances, toilets and washrooms in addition to the rooms.Recently, handling big baggage in the car is a problem.And not only the design but also the person in charge of sales and operation, ultimately the top management department will be considered.Usually, we will work on about 5 years from the first meeting until we get on the customer.In recent years, the interest in design has also increased, the better comfort and comfort are required, so the role of design is getting bigger and bigger.


- How are materials and data on vehicle design sorted and stored? How is it done in TDO?


Kimura design and design are inseparable and its quantity is enormous.Basically, the design department of each vehicle manufacturer organizes and manages each project.However, actual size mock-ups and others have to be disposed of due to property management and storage space problems.
For TDO, we have kept planned documents, conceptual diagrams, implementation diagrams, prototypical samples etc. involved to a certain extent, but it is impossible to cover all of them.It is the fact that we keep it while cooperating with vehicle manufacturers.


- What is the role of TDO in vehicle design?


Kimura is involved in everything from the basic design of the project design to the implementation and deployment, but along with that I also think that it is important to give advice on the design development of the railroad company in the long run.It is a role as an eye from the outside.


Promotion and design museum


- Ms. Kimura was in charge of the secretary general of design organizations such as JIDA (Japan Industrial Designers Association), International Design Exchange Association, etc. I was involved in the promotion of design at home and abroad.I think that you are familiar with the world of design promotion groups and design museums.


Kimura First thing to think is that there are various perspectives even though it is a design museum.For example, if a design is regarded as a product, the object is very wide from pin to plane.On the other hand, when looking at the design from the identity side, parts of thought such as ideas and projects are more important than shapes.There are viewpoints of public design and personal design.In short, even if you say "the design museum", there are various possibilities depending on the viewpoint of what you show and what you want to convey.


- How is Kimura himself thinking?


Kimura That's right.I think that the conditions of excellent design are beautiful things, innovative (innovation), influence on society and life.In addition, if it comes to design museums, I think that it is the first step to conceive numerous designs selected from this perspective in terms of cultural history.However, it will not be an attractive museum simply by displaying them.Here is the difference with art museum.Art is attractive enough simply to display excellent work, but design museum is not so.No matter how good your design is, it is not enough to simply arrange cups, cups, computers, cars etc, and for that reason you need reasoning at the very least.In other words, it is essential that a story such as the background of the product, why, how the design was born, how society and life changed ... and so on.The design needs art, science, social perspective.


- In that sense Do you have a museum that Mr. Kimura's impression?


Kimura London 's "Design Museum" has recently moved to West London and Kensington, the building has been renewed, and the content has been further enhanced.Not only can you see the exhibits but it can actually be touched by hands, filled with ingenuity that makes you feel familiar with designs, is not it one of the design museums?


- Jima Kimura, who once served as the chairman, is doing a design museum activity.


Kimura That's right.We have set up a committee centered on JIDA members and do a collection of industrial designs, and we have made a small museum in Shinshin Shincho Nagano prefecture and are publishing it.Today, I am acting around Ina who we were with you.


- For the JIDA museum, we are conducting a hearing separately.


Kimura Thinking about what design is from my many years of experience, I think there are areas of practice, promotion, and education.Practice is practical in design, in my case it is Nissan or vehicle design.Promotion is design promotion and exchange, and I have been involved in design development while interacting with designers and organizations all over the world, in charge of the International Design Exchange Association and the World Design Conference Secretariat starting with JIDA .Education is the fostering of designers and design talent, and even now I am 80 years old I still teach students at university.In other words, the practice is "things", the promotion is "things", and the education is "people (human)".
My design life was fortunate enough to be involved in things (things), things (things) and people (humans) of design.It may be important for the design museum to have excellent design, excellent planning, and development of excellent human resources.


- It was a short time, but lastly I got a word from Ms. Kimura's long design life.Thank you for today.



Censure: Yasuko Seki



what is going on?
Design archives of these people

There is also the possibility of changing subjects of survey.

The subjects (individuals) to be surveyed have been selected, including those who have already died, referring to the 2006 Asahi Shimbun publication "The Great Masters who have designed Nippon".

* Is a person who has died.




Let's talk about Shiro Kuramata

Symposium held

Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) is a legendary designer who was active in the 1960s and 1980s.
His character and his work continue to fascinate people all over the world.
Thirty years before his death, he held a symposium to connect the design of Kuramata to the younger generation from the past to the present and the future as "Introduction to Shiro Kuramata".


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