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  • RoundtableYoung Women Designers Speak (1956)
  • Kon Wajirō
    Translated by Haley Blum (bio)


Kon Wajirō, Professor of Architecture at Waseda University

Clothing and Accessories:

Aoki Ikuko, Renown Labs (Renaun Kenkyūshitsu); Graduate of the Design Department of Joshibi College of Art and Design (Joshi Bijutsu Daigaku)


Matsuzawa Hatsue, Inoue Kazunori Architectural Firm; Graduate of the Life Arts Department of Japan Women's University (Nihon Joshi Daigaku)


Okuno Reiko, San-Ai Co., Ltd., Advertising Department; Graduate of the Design Department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkō)


Nakahara Nobuko, Ikebe Kiyoshi Architectural Firm; Graduate of the Musashi Institute of Technology (Musashi Kōgyō Daigaku)

Stage Design:

Nagase Sachiko, Yoshida Kenkichi Set Design Institute; Graduate of Dressmaker Women's Academy (Doresumēkā Jogakuin) [End Page 128]

Words from the Moderator


I studied design forty-some-odd years ago, but as I've grown older, I feel that I have forgotten some of its particular hardships. Yet, I have had some amount of experience each with architecture, interior design, clothing design, and stage design; work that always made me question just what design is. In any case, the scope of design is broad; so broad that there is no product connected to our daily lives, indeed no product at all, that isn't somehow related to design, and because of that I don't regret having studied design in my youth. These days I study something like everyday life itself, which can be said to be the foundation for design.1 As a craftsman I have done various things, including more technical work and architecture, but I do not view myself as working in the front lines of design.

In recent times, many women have developed an interest in design jobs and studying design. Today I would like you to speak about things that could be useful for those thinking of stepping into and learning about the world of design. I wish to hear everyone's point of view, so please speak without reserve. First, Ms. Aoki, please start by telling us about your workplace.

From School to Workplace


It's actually only been half a year since I started working.


Were you born in Tokyo?


I was born in Osaka, and went to Tokyo later. Then we evacuated to Niigata because of the war, and I graduated from high school there. I first entered the fashion department of a junior college, where I stayed in the dorms. I then studied dressmaking for two years and was admitted as a third-year student in the design department.


Was your dressmaking teacher Kuwasawa Yōko?2


Yes. I also learned various things from my teachers Kōno Takashi, Yura Reikichi, Arai Sen, and Norimatsu Iwao while studying dressmaking from Kuwasawasensei.

I graduated this March and joined the research labs at Renown.3 I make various things for Renown. I am in charge of products for women in general, but I deal mostly with things like sweater or underwear design.


I would like to ask you some more questions later, but for now, Ms. Matsuzawa?


I graduated three years ago from the Life Arts Department of Japan Women's University. I entered Arita Architectural Firm through the connections of my drafting teacher, Chūzenji-sensei. I left Arita two months ago to join the Inoue Architectural Design Office,4 where I am now. [End Page 129]

I have been working with furniture and interior design, but at the moment I'm willing to try just about anything.


Are you a Tokyoite?


Yes, I think I fall within the Tokyoite category. During the war, we relocated to Yamanashi, but I'm a native of Tokyo.


Ms. Okuno, a word from you?


Soon after leaving the design department of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, I entered San-Ai in Ginza.5 I graduated in March of 1952.


Was that after it had changed to the Tokyo University of Arts (Tōkyō Geijutsu Daigaku)?


Yes, I was there the last year of its existence as the Tokyo School of Fine Arts

(Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkō).6



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