chapter  1
100 Pages

New Vision and a New World Order

Moriya and Kogure's travels emerged as part of greater state strategy to develop an indigenous industry in wooden Western-style furniture, and to increase furniture industry profits in national and overseas markets. By contrast, travel outside Asia led designers both to position themselves as members of an elite international profession, and to assert national cultural difference between Japan, Asia and the west. Travel played an important role in the creation of the disciplines of furniture design and interior decoration. The Iwakura Mission traveled to the United States and Europe between 1871 and 1873 to observe Western institutions and practices. While stressing the traveler's responsibilities to the nation, the Overseas Research Fellow system also recalled the English grand tour, with its emphasis on personal refinement. Travel and the recording of travel experiences in print for a mass audience was one way for them to begin to position them in the center.