Member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network since 2008
10 Things to Know About Nagoya
1 - Roots (Origins) of Nagoya
The development of Nagoya began in 1610 with the construction of Nagoya Castle. Top engineers gathered from all over the country and created advanced designs and technology such as mechanical dolls that can be said to be the foundation of today’s monozukuri manufacturing. Since modern times, Nagoya has maintained a functional urban infrastructure and has gone on to use design to promote international exchange through such activities as hosting three major international design conferences and opening the International Design Center as a hub for creative design since its Design City Declaration in 1989. In 1999, the city abandoned plans for the construction of a landfill and chose to protect a wetland area abundant in nature, and since then, the city, along with residents and businesses, has been seeking sustainable design, a balance between development and the environment.
2 - Design-related Industries and Schools
Design-related industries had yearly sales of 12.7 billion yen and accounted for 9.1% of the domestic share in 2003. Manufacturing businesses in such cutting-edge fields as automobiles, machine tools, and aerospace, and the design-related sections of semiconductor, information and electrical machinery, iron and steel, and chemical manufacturers are concentrated here. Including the School of Design and Architecture at Nagoya City University, Nagoya and its periphery is home to more than 50 design-related public and private universities, junior colleges, and vocational schools, making it second place in the country.
3 - International Design Center
Through the support of the national government, the City of Nagoya, the Aichi Prefectural Government, and members of the local business community came together in 1992 to establish the International Design Center with the objectives of developing regional industry and culture and creating a center for the release of information in order to contribute to international society. The building was opened in the downtown area of Nagoya in 1996 and spans an area of approximately 20,000 square meters. The Center is equipped with a multi-purpose hall, a museum, a gallery, a library, an incubation facility, and a shopping mall, making it Japan’s first integrated design center.
4 - Council of Chubu Design Organizations (CCDO)
The Council of Chubu Design Organizations was established in 1988 for the purpose of promoting design through an effective alliance based on partnership by 16 design organizations active in the Nagoya area in fields such as industrial, interior, graphic, and architectural design. The CCDO performs many functions including the hosting of design events, competitions, and social gatherings as well as editing an information magazine.
5 - International New Designers Workshop
A workshop aimed at the next generation of designers, students and design researchers from all over the world. This event which began in 2000 strives for comprehensive human resource development through going beyond the strict definition of design, placing more and more emphasis on the social experience of collaboration with people of different nationalities, cultures, and fields.
6 - Nagoya Fashion Contest
Started in 1980, the contest receives more than 5,000 entries each year from Japanese and international students and young designers, and it is highly-esteemed as a gateway to success for budding designers. The fashion-show style final judging board which welcomes eminent designers as judges is open to students and the general public.
7 - International Competition Nagoya Design DO!
A biennial event started in 1998, Nagoya Design DO! is a competition for young designers up to age 40 and entries on the pre-chosen theme from all fields of design are given recognition. Award winners are invited to an international workshop, making the competition a place for human resource development and exchange.
8 - Intellectual Assets
The Design Museum within the International Design Center, based around American Art Deco movement, houses more than 2,000 pieces of design art works and collections. The museum introduces the world of design of things close to us in daily life from a historical point of view, from furniture to appliances, tableware, and magazines. Furthermore, there are many industrial museums in the area contributing to the development of the next generation of designers and the advancement of regional culture. For example, the Toyota Automobile Museum systematically displays automobiles gathered from around the world which tell the history of design, and the INAX Gallery holds planned exhibitions 4 times a year seeking designs of various unique subjects not limited to ceramics. There are also other facilities, such as the INAX Tile Museum which studies the beauty, design, and technique of earth and glaze; the Noritake Garden which displays the history and current state of the ceramic tableware of Noritake, the leader in the production of modern Japanese ceramics; and the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology which has genuine articles on display from the history of the innovation of design and production techniques of textile machines and automobiles.
9 - Historical Assets
Many assets connected with the modern samurai culture of Nagoya are concentrated here. In addition to Nagoya Castle, an important historical heritage built by order of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the hero who laid the foundation for the Edo period which lasted approximately 200 years, there is the Tokugawaen, a chisen-kaiyu-style Japanese garden. Within the Tokugawaen is the Tokugawa Art Museum, which houses the Tale of Genji picture scrolls—a national treasure—and the Hosa Library, which is home to the furnishings and precious book collection of the Owari Tokugawa family, which have been designated important cultural properties. The area spanning from Nagoya Castle to Tokugawaen has an amassment of historical architectural heritage conveying the transition to modernization from the Meiji Era, and the city is working hard on maintaining the scenery and promoting tourism in the entire area as a “Cultural Path.”
10 - Music and Art
There are an authentic opera hall, small theater, art museum and large and small galleries, a library, and other facilities at the Aichi Arts Center, and there are many more art museums including the Nagoya City Museum and the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Including the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra which was formed in 1966 and the Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra which was formed in 1982, Nagoya is alive with music, dance, theater and other art and cultural activities.