About us

Founding Principles of the Japan Design Committee

Art, design, and architecture are inseparable components of human activity in pursuit of the good form of the times. They are often regarded as isolated cultural areas and activities that are at odds with each other, but specialization and differentiation can only be accepted on the basis of the total progress of human civilization.
But specialization and differentiation can only be accepted on the basis of the total progress of human civilization.
We reject mutual incomprehension, preconceptions, and the dogmatism to which experts are prone.
We reaffirm the necessity for architects, designers, and artists to cooperate with each other for the sake of human civilization on a global scale.

Masaru Katsumi Founding Member / Critic

Japan Design Committee and Matsuya

The activities of the Japan Design Committee would not be complete without the presence of Matsuya.
In the first half of the 1950s, the Japan Design Committee was a group of 15 volunteers, including Isamu Kenmochi, Yusaku Kamekura, and Chikara Watanabe, who wanted to develop the “Good Design Movement” and were searching for a concrete place and method for its activities. It was during this time that Ryuichi Hamaguchi, one of the founding members, and his wife Miho were involved in an exhibition held on the seventh floor of Matsuya Ginza, which opened the door to the relationship between the Design Committee and Matsuya. Until now, the members of the Japan Design Committee have been engaged in various activities under the banner of “design enlightenment”. The act of selling well-designed products, symbolized by the “Design Collection,” is one of the main pillars of the Japan Design Committee’s activities.
It is the role of the Japan Design Committee to select various products from a designer’s point of view, and Matsuya, a professional retailer, is responsible for selling the selected products to a large number of customers. The Japan Design Committee, working in tandem with Matsuya, has forged a strong bond with this relationship. Half a century later, this relationship is still alive and well on the 7th floor of Matsuya.
We, the Japan Design Committee, cannot help but pay tribute to Matsuya, which has continued to provide a place for the Design Collection since 1955.


Passion for Good Design

It was the Milan Triennale, the world’s leading design festival, that triggered the launch of the project. Italy decided to formally invite Japan to participate in the 10th Triennale, and a letter of invitation was delivered to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, Isamu Kenmochi, then head of the design department at the Industrial Arts Research Institute, and critic Masaru Katsumi expressed their strong desire to have Japanese design participate in the Triennale. This action led to the establishment of the International Design Committee, which was officially requested by KBS to participate in the Triennale. Twelve designers, architects, critics, and others who were active at the center of Japanese design at the time, including Masaru Katsumi, Yusaku Kamekura, Isamu Kenmochi, Kiyoshi Seike, Kenzo Tange, and Chikara Watanabe, came together to create the committee (in addition to three advisors). The organization, later renamed the Japan Design Committee, officially participated in the Milan Triennale in 1957. Furthermore, in 1960, it played a central role in organizing a design conference for 26 countries around the world. Since then, it has been pushing forward cultural exchange with various countries through exhibitions and conferences. It would not be an exaggeration to say that these activities over the past half century have been the history of good design in Japan.
Currently based in Matsuya Department Store in Tokyo’s Ginza district, it sponsors various exhibitions at its design gallery, as well as competitions and public design forums. In addition, in cooperation with Matsuya, the Design Collection (known as the Design Corner when it first opened) was established in 1955 as a pioneering design store, and has continued to this day with the support of many people. Under the banner of “Enlightenment of Design,” which was the philosophy at the time of its establishment, this highly ambitious movement has been continued by designers of various genres who gathered under the spirit of volunteerism.


We are a group of designers who work in the front line of various fields such as graphics, products, interior design, and architecture. In this group, problems that cannot be solved by each field alone, or even larger design problems that cover those fields, can be discussed smoothly, and there is a great possibility that they will be put into practice.
Independence is an independent design group that is not subject to any restrictions or pressures.
This is not a group for personal gain. We have been working “for the sake of design” with our own hands, so to speak.
Global Eye
In addition to addressing domestic design issues, we have been expanding our circle of exchange with overseas countries, which was our original idea when we started the group, and will continue to be one of our most important issues in the future.


  • Design Collection

    This is one of the most important activities of the Nippon Design Committee. It sells excellent design goods from around the world selected by the members. The store is full of concrete examples and hints on how to incorporate design into our daily lives. It is known as a pioneer in Japan as a store that mainly deals in design goods.

    Design Collection

  • Design Gallery 1953

    The Design Gallery was established in 1964 on the seventh floor of Matsuya Ginza to introduce a variety of designers from around the world and various genres of design. With over 700 exhibitions (775 by 2021), the Design Gallery is probably the oldest design gallery in the world. The gallery is organized by its members from planning to management, and the variety of exhibitions attracts a lot of attention.

    Design Gallery 1953

  • Design Forum Public Exhibition

    From 1979 to 1999, the Design Forum was held in the form of a biennial competition, inviting the public to submit designs of various genres.
    The competition served as a gateway to success for students and young designers, but has recently been suspended in order to reevaluate its role. The revival of the Design Forum competition will be held with a new look and a new concept. There have been public competitions before 1979, but they were held irregularly.

    There was a time when domestic design-themed projects were called “Design Forum”. Between 1979 and 1999, it was held in the fall of odd-numbered years.

  • Planning exhibitions

    This is an exhibition that takes into account the current trends of the time and sets various themes. The Design Forum Open Call Exhibition was held in odd-numbered years, while the Special Exhibition was held in the fall of even-numbered years.
    In 1996, “Designers x Local Industry: From the Region to the World” was held, followed by the “Cultural Heritage Poster Exhibition” in 1998 (co-hosted by the Japan Graphic Designers Association), “VIVA20C: Material and Image Design in the 20th Century” in 2000, and in the 21st century, the “Design in its Original Form” exhibition in 2002. In the 21st century, the following exhibitions have been planned and held: “The Original Form of Design” in 2002, “Icons of the Times” in 2004, and “Design with Respect - Respect from the Heart” in 2006.