Interview #85

Book Corner: “考現學” by Wajiro Kon

islanders.zine @ Islanders Space 島民

Written and Images by islanders.zine @ Islanders Space 島民
Translation by Wendy Yiu

A book is like a friend. We understand the world and life, or even observe ourselves through texts, and have a deep realization of oneself that we are not alone. PMQ invites different people from design and culture sectors to recommend a book, so that you can enrich yourselves as book therapy.

Why would you recommend this book?

islanders.zine @ Islanders Space 島民: There are so many things happening around us, sometimes we don't know where to look to feel reassured, to find peace, to remember what makes sense to us, our society, our culture.

The key, tells us Wajiro Kon, is in the details. The way is in the observation of daily life, the analysis of every little single detail; how we dress, how we walk, how we interact -or not - with others, how we look around. And when we look and we lay an infinite number of drawings on paper to the point we're falling into the domain of boredom, then something starts to appear. A pattern? Better, an understanding of who we are.

In the 1920s, designer and architect Wajiro Kon started a systematic observation of Tokyo citizens to understand what modern Japanese society about. His observations and notes, coupled with an extensive number of drawings offer an in-depth look of the modern urban life of Japan. When you expect to be bored, you are in fact surprised by the quirkiness and humour of diving into so much precision.


Author: Wajiro Kon

Publisher: 行人文化實驗室出版

The methodology is easily transferable and it is very fortunate. When we look at the details, we see how our culture is unique, because it is made of a variety of rich ways to live that are deeply anchored in our soil. And these details cannot easily be changed.

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