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Aesthetics Of The Japanese Lunchbox
by Kenji Ekuan
ISBN 0756776201 / 9780756776206 / 0-7567-7620-1
Publisher Diane Pub Co
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Beginning with the Japanese lunchbox, Kenji Ekuan, Japan's foremost industrial designer, launches into a book-length meditation on "the source of the Japanese style of making things." For anyone interested in design as a culmination of all things cultural, or design as a moral force in the service of beauty and efficiency, this lovely book is indispensable. It will set every aesthetic synapse snapping and provide enough food for thought to nourish the reader for weeks, if not years.
The lunchbox, or makunouchi, is a closed, compartmented, lacquered or wooden box containing small, beautifully arranged foods. As the mouthwatering pictures in the book amply demonstrate, everything about the box and its contents is considered from the standpoint of visual pleasure. Ekuan gives the long history of the makunouchi as an everyday object, first introduced in the Edo period for a light meal eaten at the opera during intermission. He traces the evolution of the boxes' construction and analyzes the contents--tidbits "from mountain and sea." Variety is key, for ideally there is something--in the lunchbox and in this book--to satisfy every palate, aesthetic or otherwise. [via]