Japanese Art and Design

Presentation by Jayne Moon summarized by Eliot Kersgaard

As part of our 2017 Summer Internship program, we have asked each of our interns to prepare 15 minute presentations on topics of their choice to present to the team. The purpose of these presentations is to expand the knowledge base of our team, develop our interns rhetorical skills, and give us a chance to know each other better. We will be summarizing their presentations on Myra’s Musings for reference later and to help give an inside look into the operations of Myra Makes. Our first presenter was Jayne Moon, who discussed Japanese Art and Design and its influence on global culture on June 8, 2017.


Pointing to architecture, the geisha, and Japanese culinary traditions, Jayne pointed out that the Japanese make art out of everything. With a unique blend of deep heritage, traditionalism, and future-obsession, the Japanese art and design style is one of the most distinctive in the world.

But what is the difference between art and design in the first place? Jayne’s interpretation is that art is created solely for oneself, whereas design also takes into consideration of the person who will be experiencing it. In this way, design can (and should!) be art, but art is not necessarily design.

Now, here are the five traditional elements of Japanese design:


These design elements are present throughout Japanese art and design. Jayne discussed some of the different media found throughout Japanese culture that utilize these elements:



Ukiyo-e, woodblock printing







Sumi-e, black ink painting

From DeviantArt, DeepRed1981





Ikebana, flower arranging

(image from http://www.ikebana-larochelle-sudouest.com/spip.php?page=bouquets_ikebana_moribana)


Overall, design in Japan tends toward efficiency, simplicity, and elegance. These days, Japan is also known for producing offbeat consumer goods and high-tech robotics and video games.



About the Author:

Eliot Kersgaard is an artist, educator and entrepreneur working to facilitate a cultural shift emphasizing justice and play. He is the founder and director of Myra Makes.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for information.

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