- Volume 17 Issue 1
Keiji Kobo is a unique self-generated design research group in Japan, which was founded in 1928 when Bauhaus movement was in its peak, and which lasted ten years until the end of the Second World War, when any activity of the group became virtually impossible due to the war. With insight to see the future, the group aimed at Modern Design advocating a new spirit in architecture, and played a significant role in prosperity of Japanese Modern Design assimilating Western design trends. Pursuing of craft works for everyday life--practical furniture works--Keiji Kobo actively executed various projects to realize modern philosophy. The range of the works of this group was very large: survey, mock-up, experiment, research, exhibition, lecture, order-based sale, advertising and writing. The works of the group were oriented to serious academicism, not compromising with commercialism. Considering the peculiar political situation such as Japanese Militarism, the spirit of functionalism that the group pursued was surprisingly academical and pure. This group was relatively small and clumsy, which lasted as short as around ten years. However, strong motivation was in their seemingly quiet movements, and the influence of the group cannot be underestimated even with today's criteria. There were a number of pioneers who contributed to today's prosperity of Japan and Keiji Kobo can be estimated to be one of the pioneers in the field of design. It was found that the contemporary intellectuals hoped that the committment and activity of the group would contribute to modernization of the life quality of ordinary people. In a sense, Keiji Kobo can be estimated to be a little Japanese equivalent for Bauhaus that could not fully bloom.