5 Product Design Lessons from Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 

Time-tested ancient procedures can likewise be applied for current product success, as opposed to dazzling new tools. During this era, where “invention” is the new mantra, it’s easy to ignore the truth that some of the best ideas come from tried-and-true ancient traditions.    

Japan has a long history of producing goods that are both visually beautiful and long-lasting. The nation has a reputation for excellence throughout industries, from electronics to automobiles, and this image is not new. Japanese craftsmen have always strived for excellence in their work, and the things they produce today reflect this dedication to perfection. What can we learn about product design from the Japanese perspective, then? These are the top five tips:  


The design has to be a whole experience.

The phrase “mono no aware,” which means “the profound awareness of the beauty of passing moments,” is a Japanese idiom. Most Japanese items, which are made to be appreciated for both their aesthetic appeal and their functionality, reflect this idea.  

Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 

The Furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping fabric, is one item that best represents this concept. These cloths, which are frequently created from exquisite materials, can be used to carry items or wrap gifts. A piece of art that may be used again is created by folding the fabric into a precise form in a contemplative manner.   

The “mono no aware” idea may be used to create modern items as well. For instance, if modest luggage is well-made and appealing to the eye, it may be turned into a sumptuous experience. This Japanese idea inspired the name of the baggage and travel company Monos.com, which has just secured $30 million in investment, highlighting the high desire for goods that go beyond mere functionality.  

Form needs to come after the function.

Wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic, accepts imperfections; this idea is frequently used in product design. The concept is that an item should be made to effectively fulfill its function, with the form coming in second.  

Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 


The traditional Japanese swords’ design reflects this concept. These swords’ shape follows function since they were made primarily for combat. Instead of being beautiful items, they are intended to be effective, lethal weapons.  

Ironically, these swords’ efficiency frequently enhances their beauty because of how attractive and effective their modest designs are. The wabi-sabi concept is a welcome reminder that less may be more in an environment where many things are crammed with pointless features.  

Keep things simple.

Shibui, another Japanese style, is defined as “beautiful simplicity.” Numerous Japanese goods, which are made to be as straightforward and effective as possible, reflect this attitude.  

A good illustration is the bullet train, which was intended to be a quick and effective means of moving between cities. The trains are streamlined and elegant, lacking any superfluous details. They are effective and in their unique manner lovely due to their simplicity.

Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 

Materials matter

The choice of materials is given a lot of weight in Japan. The best materials are carefully chosen by artisans, and they frequently prepare their creations using age-old techniques.  

kozo tree

For instance, the Kozo tree is used to produce Japanese paper. The tree’s bark is collected, cooked, and then made into a pulp. Paper sheets are made from this pulp and then allowed to dry in the sun. The outcome is a robust and long-lasting paper that may be used for everything from traditional buildings to arts and crafts.  

Quality preceding quantity

An item should be created in Japan to last a lifetime. The term “monozukuri,” which means “the art of producing things,” is used to describe this idea.  

Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 

Monozukuri is a comprehensive method of product design that considers everything from raw materials to the production process. The objective is to produce things that are not just trustworthy and practical but also attractive and enduring.  

Japanese Traditions That Entrepreneurs Can Use 

Japanese vehicles, which are renowned for their quality and longevity, are a clear example of this attitude. Even decades after their initial production, several Japanese automobiles are still in use today. This demonstrates the high caliber of the components and the attention to detail used in their creation.  

Japan has a long history of producing high-quality goods, and we can learn a lot from its methodology. We can design things that are not only practical, effective, and dependable but also aesthetically attractive and ageless by using the ideals of “mono no aware,” “wabi-sabi,” and “monozukuri.” 



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