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Kansai Create

This urban project focuses on the creative cultures and industries in the cities of Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. Creative industries are RESEARCH-based, with the potential to generate revenue from trade and intellectual property rights; they are SHARING-based, representing a cross breeding between artisan, services and industrial sectors, and they are also PRODUCTION-based, using creativity and intellectual capital as primary inputs. 


Our research indicated that many initiatives and forums have already been set in place throughout the region, and that each of the cities is particularly strong in creative based activities. How can we take advantage of this condition to strengthen collaboration networks at a regional level and pursue global recognition?


KANSAI CREATE is a network of creative industries in the Kansai Metropolitan Region.


Its center is the former Osaka Expo site takes advantage of a strategic location and connectivity to Osaka city, Kyoto, and Kobe. It further “capitalizes” on the historical significance of the success of the Expo ’70 to establish itself as the idea tank that envisions the future of creative industries in the Kansai region.

Why creative industries? Why Osaka?

Over the years Japan has developed a strong cultural identity that is recognized worldwide. Aspects that come to mind when we think of Japan include its meticulous design and craftsmanship, innovative wood construction, a strong industrial design component, and a mastery of technology, as reflected in the high quality of life today.  


Complimenting this identity is the fact that over past 50 years Japan has worked to attract international attention through prominent global events and tourism. Starting in 1960 with the World Design Conference, Japan put itself on the world stage and pursued these ambitions by hosting several Olympic games and international expositions, most recently the 2005 Expo in Aichi.  It could be said that these events have opened Japan’s doors to an international audience and boosted the tourist industry of the country as a whole. 


However when we look at the regional scale the story of success is still a work in progress. Our perception is that Kansai is still struggling to pin-down an image that they can project and build on. It seems that they are currently debating several different paradigms: (1) amusement/theme park engine; (2) industries based on design and fabrication; (3) focusing on the entertainment businesses that are already in place; and (4) encouraging the growth of the region’s strong manufacturing industries.  


Our group questions the validity of these paradigms. We are interested in how Kansai can develop a regional and international identity that addresses other social, economic, and environmental goals. What paradigm should they choose in order to create a more sustainable future?  



Harvard Graduate School of Design

Instructor: Hiromi Hosoya

Collaboration: Jordan McTavish and Misato Odanaka.

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