During the 1980s, Japanese design became the expression of a changing society where radical innovation was to be found alongside a strong attachment to traditions. The famous designer Issey Miyake revolutionized the fashion world with his cuts and pleats while the designer Shiro Kuramata, who was close to Italian theoreticians, played cleverly with poetry and the misappropriation of material.

In graphic work, Shigeo Fukuda stands out for his visual combinations of Japanese heritage and western spirit and Ikko Tanaka allies traditional Japanese motifs and geometric abstraction. While the artistic professions remain an area of excellence for ceramicists and glass makers, new sectors of creation have also become more important such as toys with companies such as Nintendo revolutionizing the universe of figurines and electronic games.