Review Of "Future Wave: Japan Design" Directed By J. D. Rabinovitch

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Design in the title of this video has less to do with form and style per se and more with production and marketing, and that is the production's special strength. The best segments are those that discuss the design strategies in the development of Sony's Walkman and of Nissan Pulsar NX, the first modular vehicle, conceived and realized by a team of American designers on assignment. These segments answer effectively the question posed at the outset: What is it that enables Japan to manage design so efficiently and effectively for the new global marketplace? The first segment introduces, somewhat awkwardly through interviews with several recent Japanese designers, the historical basis of Japanese design in the object-oriented world of Buddhism. This is followed by the discussion of the corporate attitude toward design and marketing in Japan that places a premium on inventing markets and on creating images. The last segment, on fashion, is meant to suggest the future wave, but it offers little substance. The subject notwithstanding, the production is conventional; but the video, a respectable work of journalism, delivers useful lessons for today's corporate leaders and future designers as well as for students in business studies. Level: lower-division undergraduate.


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