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Books: How design revolutionized Japan

Innovators used form and aesthetic sense to reform country's economy and social system

"Designing Modern Japan," by historian and design expert Sarah Teasley, has much to offer readers interested in Japan's cultural history. The image on the right is a line drawing of an electric percolator from 1946. It was part of a project to produce household goods for the Allied Occupation. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Masayuki Hayashi/courtesy of Sara Teasley)

In Sarah Teasley's book, "Designing Modern Japan," there is a striking image of five eggs sitting vertically in a straw carrier set against a stark black background.

The image, taken by photographer Michikazu Sakai in 1972, epitomizes the simple yet visually captivating aesthetic of Japanese design. But there is more to the story of this egg carrier than its graphic appeal.

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