100 books like Naoto Fukasawa

By Naoto Fukasawa,

Here are 100 books that Naoto Fukasawa fans have personally recommended if you like Naoto Fukasawa. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Philosophy of Design: Essays by Sori Yanagi

Naomi Pollock Author Of Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook

From my list on the best of Japanese product design.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I came to architecture through classical archeology, writing about design was kind of like coming home. I made the switch to journalism after moving to Tokyo. At that time, Japan’s economy was going strong, boom cranes were everywhere, and the worldwide appetite for information about new construction was robust. An outgrowth of my success documenting architecture, my interest in design was sparked partly by the chairs and teapots created by Japanese architects but also by the superb array of daily-use goods available in Japan. The dearth of information about these items and their designers led me to cover design at various scales. 

Naomi's book list on the best of Japanese product design

Naomi Pollock Why did Naomi love this book?

This was one of the first books I read when I began my research.

Authored by Japan’s most important product designer, this essay collection covers a wide range of topics, including the stories behind some of his most iconic designs. I particularly enjoy Yanagi’s explanation of the Cellulose Tape Table Dispenser whose white, sculptural form swivels. How cool is that?

Happily, when the dispenser was briefly re-released a few years ago by a Japanese office goods manufacturer, I was able to purchase one of my own. It sits on my desk, a source of inspiration.

By Sori Yanagi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Philosophy of Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Designing Modern Japan

Naomi Pollock Author Of Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook

From my list on the best of Japanese product design.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I came to architecture through classical archeology, writing about design was kind of like coming home. I made the switch to journalism after moving to Tokyo. At that time, Japan’s economy was going strong, boom cranes were everywhere, and the worldwide appetite for information about new construction was robust. An outgrowth of my success documenting architecture, my interest in design was sparked partly by the chairs and teapots created by Japanese architects but also by the superb array of daily-use goods available in Japan. The dearth of information about these items and their designers led me to cover design at various scales. 

Naomi's book list on the best of Japanese product design

Naomi Pollock Why did Naomi love this book?

This is an extremely well-researched book which provides an in-depth look at how the design fields developed and have evolved in Japan.

Though airing on the academic, I find it very readable, and I consult it when I wish to know more about a particular period of Japanese design history. Having scoured the landscape myself, I have great admiration for the author’s ability to ferret out information – there is no central design museum or archive in Japan – and present it cogently.

By Sarah Teasley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Designing Modern Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Muji to Sony televisions, our lives are surrounded by Japanese design. We think we know it, whether it reflects calming minimalism, avant-garde catwalk fashion or the Kawaii aesthetic populating Tokyo streets. But these stereotypes do not portray the creativity, generosity and sheer hard work that has gone into creating design industries in Japan.
In Designing Modern Japan, Sarah Teasley traces the stories of the people who shaped and shape design in modern Japan. Key to the account is how design was seen as a strategy to help the nation thrive during turbulent times, and for making life better along…


Book cover of Japanese Design: A Survey Since 1950

Naomi Pollock Author Of Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook

From my list on the best of Japanese product design.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I came to architecture through classical archeology, writing about design was kind of like coming home. I made the switch to journalism after moving to Tokyo. At that time, Japan’s economy was going strong, boom cranes were everywhere, and the worldwide appetite for information about new construction was robust. An outgrowth of my success documenting architecture, my interest in design was sparked partly by the chairs and teapots created by Japanese architects but also by the superb array of daily-use goods available in Japan. The dearth of information about these items and their designers led me to cover design at various scales. 

Naomi's book list on the best of Japanese product design

Naomi Pollock Why did Naomi love this book?

I first encountered this book many years before I began my own.

It accompanied a marvelous exhibit launched by the Philadelphia Museum of Art which, sadly, I did not see in person. Arranged by decade, the body of the book features individual products from the 1950s to the 1990s.

This reveals the overlap between different design disciplines and the cross-fertilization of ideas. I love the large photos which pull you in and make you want to read the texts. The supporting essays were contributed by many of the most important design luminaries at work in Japan.

By the time I was working on my book, many of them were already gone. 

By Kathryn B. Hiesinger (editor), Felice Fischer (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japanese Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shows the evolution of Japanese commercial designs over the last five decades


Book cover of Designing Japan: A Future Built on Aesthetics

Naomi Pollock Author Of Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook

From my list on the best of Japanese product design.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I came to architecture through classical archeology, writing about design was kind of like coming home. I made the switch to journalism after moving to Tokyo. At that time, Japan’s economy was going strong, boom cranes were everywhere, and the worldwide appetite for information about new construction was robust. An outgrowth of my success documenting architecture, my interest in design was sparked partly by the chairs and teapots created by Japanese architects but also by the superb array of daily-use goods available in Japan. The dearth of information about these items and their designers led me to cover design at various scales. 

Naomi's book list on the best of Japanese product design

Naomi Pollock Why did Naomi love this book?

A graphic designer by training, Kenya Hara is one of Japan’s most theoretical design thinkers. He steps back and ponders possibility. Especially where the future of Japan is concerned.

Seated in his elegant office in downtown Tokyo, Hara explained to me years ago that Japan once churned out exports but now, as other countries assume that role, Japan must offer something else. In this book he indicates that something else not a physical object. It is the experience of the country’s rich culture, aesthetics, and underlying values.

Living in Tokyo for many years enabled many chances to savor the smell of fresh tatami mats and the toothsomeness of new harvest rice.

Hara’s thoughts resonate with me, but I hope Japan never stops making elegant, user-friendly housewares.

By Kenya Hara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Designing Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Designing Japan' presents renowned designer Kenya Hara's vision of how his industry can support Japan in crafting a future founded on a unique philosophy of beauty as well as crowd-sourced wisdom from around the world. A master collaborator, meticulous organiser, and globally conscious innovator, Hara draws on more than three decades of participations in design work and exhibition curating, as well as deep professional interaction with creators from many fields.

In 'Designing Japan' Hara reveals methods that make publicly accessible aesthetic inquiries of how this island nation will proceed as its population ages, other nations take over manufacturing, and technology…


Book cover of Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed

Constantine Nomikos Vaporis Author Of Samurai: An Encyclopedia of Japan's Cultured Warriors

From my list on Tokugawa Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent all of my career teaching and writing about Japan. Within that country’s long history, the Tokugawa or early modern period (1600-1868) has always fascinated me, going back to my teenage years when I went to Japanese film festivals in Boston with my father and brothers. This fascination stems in part from the period’s vibrancy, color, drama, and the wealth of historical documentation about it that has survived warfare as well as the ravages of time. From these rich sources of knowledge, historians and other scholars have been able to weave rich narratives of Japan’s early modern past.

Constantine's book list on Tokugawa Japan

Constantine Nomikos Vaporis Why did Constantine love this book?

This book first excited my interest in the Tokugawa period and directly led to my first two academic books on the subject. Kaempfer’s History of Japan was a best-seller from the date of its publication in London in 1727. The author was a German doctor in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, who were the only Europeans the Tokugawa rulers would allow into Japan until 1853. He was able to make two trips to the capital of Edo, likely the largest city in the world at the time, and thus was able to observe Tokugawa society broadly.

He recorded important events (such as meeting the shogun) as well as the mundane minutiae of life. It is, hands down, the best informed and liveliest foreign account of Tokugawa Japan before the mid-19th century. Bodart-Bailey translated the text from the original German, annotated it, and wrote a very helpful…

By Englebert Kaempfer, Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kaempfer's Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Engelbert Kaempfer's work was a best-seller from the moment it was published in London in 1727 and remains one of the most valuable sources for historians of the Tokugawa period. The narrative describes what no Japanese was permitted to record (the details of the shogun's castle, for example) and what no Japanese thought worthy of recording (the minutiae of everyday life). However, all previous translations of the history oar flawed, being based on the work of an 18th century Swiss translator or that of the German editor some fifty years later who had little knowledge of Japan and resented Kaempfer's…


Book cover of Japanese Temple Buddhism: Worldliness in a Religion of Renunciation

David Brazier Author Of The Dark Side of the Mirror: Forgetting the Self in Dogen's Genjo Koan

From my list on the spirit of Japanese Buddhism.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Brazier ordained as a Buddhist priest in 1976, studied all the major schools of Buddhism, and eventually founded Amida Shu, a Pure Land order, of which he was head from 1996 until retiring in 2020. His close disciples now meet as “Global Sangha”. He holds a doctorate in Buddhist psychology, has initiated socially engaged projects in several countries, and still teaches internationally and online. He is the author of more than a dozen books and many chapters, monographs, and podcasts.

David's book list on the spirit of Japanese Buddhism

David Brazier Why did David love this book?

Most books on Buddhism emphasise the monastic tradition, meditation and a life of strict morality, removed from the everyday world of ordinary people. Much of Japanese Buddhism, however, is conducted by married priests living modern lives in direct interaction with secular society. This book provides an important antidote to contemporary stereotypes.

By Stephen Covell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japanese Temple Buddhism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There have been many studies that focus on aspects of the history of Japanese Buddhism. Until now, none have addressed important questions of organization and practice in contemporary Buddhism, questions such as how Japanese Buddhism came to be seen as a religion of funeral practices; how Buddhist institutions envision the role of the laity; and how a married clergy has affected life at temples and the image of priests. This volume is the first to address fully contemporary Buddhist life and institutions - topics often overlooked in the conflict between the rhetoric of renunciation and the practices of clerical marriage…


Book cover of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art

Eric Reinders Author Of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

From my list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 

Eric's book list on Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki

Eric Reinders Why did Eric love this book?

This is an excellent “life in art,” or a series of chapters on the major works in a biographical context.

Napier discusses such questions as: his feelings about the fact that his family profited from the war, making fan belts for fighter planes; his feelings about his father compared to his mother; the relation of the works to his professional life—the studio, his collaborators, his periodic burn-out and work ethic.

By Susan J. Napier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miyazakiworld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's life and work, including his significant impact on Japan and the world-"an essential work in anime scholarship." (Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic)

A thirtieth-century toxic jungle, a bathhouse for tired gods, a red-haired fish girl, and a furry woodland spirit-what do these have in common? They all spring from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the greatest living animators, known worldwide for films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises.

Japanese culture and animation scholar Susan Napier explores the life and art of this extraordinary Japanese…


Book cover of The Woman in the Dunes

Mark Edward Harris Author Of The Way of the Japanese Bath

From my list on books that offer glimpses of ancient and modern Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

My Master’s is in history, so books in the field are particularly of interest, especially those focused on the asides of the subject. One of the most unusual is No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War by Hiroo Onoda. When World War II ended in 1945, a number of Japanese soldiers, mostly in the jungles of the South Pacific, refused to surrender. Onoda was one of them. For three decades, the Japanese government tried to convince him that the war was over and flush him out of his hiding place in the Philippines, but to no avail. I found it fascinating to see his confirmation bias at work and described so clearly.

Mark's book list on books that offer glimpses of ancient and modern Japan

Mark Edward Harris Why did Mark love this book?

The Woman in the Dunes (Suna No Onna, Sand Woman) was a 1962 novel written by Kobo Abe. The story is about an amateur entomologist who ends up as a forced partner to a recently widowed woman living at the bottom of a sand dune. The story, of course, goes far deeper than that.

While reading the book I recalled the Tottori Sand Dunes on Japan’s West Coast, one of the most surprising landscapes in the island nation. After reading the book and visiting Tottori I watched the 1964 film adaption of the book directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara and starring Eiji Okada and Kyoko Kishida. It is one of the few instances where the film is at least equal to or perhaps surpasses the book version. I highly recommend first reading both books then watching the films to see how skillfully the written word can be converted…

By Kobo Abe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Woman in the Dunes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Woman in the Dunes, by celebrated writer and thinker Kobo Abe, combines the essence of myth, suspense and the existential novel.
 
After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seashore, an amateur entomologist is offered lodging for the night at the bottom of a vast sand pit. But when he attempts to leave the next morning, he quickly discovers that the locals have other plans. Held captive with seemingly no chance of escape, he is tasked with shoveling back the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten to destroy the village. His only companion is an odd…


Book cover of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics

Gianni Simone Author Of Otaku Japan: The Fascinating World of Japanese Manga, Anime, Gaming, Cosplay, Toys, Idols and More!

From my list on otaku Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Japan for the last 30 years but my love for manga, anime, and games is much older and dates back to when UFO Robot Grendizer was first shown on Italian TV a fateful summer evening in 1978. Many years later, I was able to turn my passion for all things Japanese into a job and now I regularly write about politics, society, sports, travel, and culture in all its forms. However, I often go back to my first love and combine walking, urban exploration, and my otaku cravings into looking for new stores and visiting manga and anime locations in and around Tokyo.

Gianni's book list on otaku Japan

Gianni Simone Why did Gianni love this book?

This book came out only a few years after my first encounter with anime and just blew me away, introducing me to a completely different world – a world that at the time was mostly out of reach because Western translations were still rare. 

Having been published in 1983, it may be considered outdated, but manga translator and historian Frederick Schodt is a master narrator and does a great job of explaining how Japanese comics evolved during manga’s golden age. Now we can find any kind of information on the internet, but Schodt’s thorough analysis and engaging prose are second to none. 

If you are into cultural history and like to go beyond simple manga talk, this is still a must-read.

By Frederik L. Schodt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Illustrated with the most representative examples of the genre, this book in English explores the world of Japanese comics. Since first published in 1983, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics has been the book to read for all those interested in Japanese comics. It is virtually the bible' from which all studies and appreciation of manga begins. More than that, given the influence of Japanese manga on animation and on American-produced comics as well, Manga! Manga! provides the background against which these other arts can be understood. The book includes 96 pages'


Book cover of The Tale of Genji: The Authentic First Translation of the World's Earliest Novel

Alina Lee Author Of Paper Crane Memories

From my list on the history, folklore, and mythology of Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I was introduced to Japanese culture and history through anime. But I decided to dig a little deeper, reading history books and looking up more and more information. I was fascinated by what was presented of “Old Japan,” both the misconceptions that were spread by pop culture and by the surprising details that it gets right that no one would believe. This fascination is one of the most consistent things about me through the years, and the idea of delving into works of my own that merged samurai drama with lesbian relationships has been a recurring desire of mine for years.

Alina's book list on the history, folklore, and mythology of Japan

Alina Lee Why did Alina love this book?

Though potentially incomplete (some scholars argue we're missing one or two chapters, or that the story was never meant to end), The Tale of Genji manages to paint a vivid picture of the life of a lost age, with its own array of traditions, values, and fashions; a world where one's skill with poetry was just as valuable as political acumen and their outlook is so different from a modern perspective. At the same time, it presents the timeless complexity of relationships between men and women, and the social expectations and norms that impact those connections.

By Murasaki Shikibu, Kencho Suematsu (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tale of Genji as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written centuries before the time of Shakespeare and even Chaucer, The Tale of Genji marks the birth of the novel and after more than a millennium, this seminal work continues to enchant readers throughout the world. Lady Murasaki Shikibu and her tale's hero, Prince Genji, have had an unmatched influence on Japanese culture. Prince Genji manifests what was to become an image of the ideal Heian era courtier: gentle and passionate. Genji is also a master poet, dancer, musician and painter. The Tale of Genji follows Prince Genji through his many loves, and varied passions. This book has influenced not…


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