About the School

In 1954, the year that Kuwasawa Design School (KDS) was founded, domestic demand in the design field was expanding amidst Japan’s economic recovery and companies had begun competing to generate new design products. But even though the social role of design was garnering increasing attention, public awareness regarding the field was still low. It was at that time that Yoko Kuwasawa, an active journalist and clothing designer, became aware of the need for specialized education on the fundamentals and overall concepts of design, and opened KDS.

The School provided a place for experimentation in modern Japanese design. At the same time, numerous famous architects, sculptors, stage designers and other designers became instructors, helping KDS to become a passionate and pioneering educational institution that would play a significant part in design history. This enthusiastic approach has been passed down over half a century to the modern day and still supports the innovative mindset present at KDS.

1954 Apr. Kuwasawa Design School is founded
(two-story wood and mortar building designed by Tetsuro Hashimoto, located in Aoyama-Kitamachi, Minato-ku, Tokyo)
President: Yoko Kuwasawa
1958 Apr. The new KDS building is completed
(three-story reinforced concrete building designed by Makoto Masuzawa, located in Kitaya-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
1959 Apr. Section I (Daytime Program) Dress Design Research Department (2-year) is established
1963 Dec. An event commemorating the 10th anniversary of KDS’s foundation is held
1964 Sep. Yoko Kuwasawa takes part in the design of uniforms for the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics
1966 Apr. Tokyo Zokei University is opened (president: Yoko Kuwasawa)
1973 Nov. Yoko Kuwasawa is awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in honor of her achievements through many years of academic endeavors
1974 Feb. A ceremony is held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of KDS’s founding (venue: Japan Center for Cities, located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
1975 Feb. Misa Konda becomes the 2nd president of KDS
1976 Dec. KDS is recognized as a specialized vocational school and its name is changed to Senmon Gakko Kuwasawa Dezain Kenkyusho (“Specialized School Kuwasawa Design School”)
1977 Apr. School founder Yoko Kuwasawa passes away
1979 Dec. A ceremony is held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of KDS’s founding (venue: Togokinenkan, located in Shibuyaku, Tokyo)
1980 Dec. A bust of Yoko Kuwasawa is installed (artist: Churyo Sato)
1981 Masagiku Takayama becomes the 3rd president of KDS
1984 Nov. A ceremony is held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of KDS’s founding (venue: Togokinenkan)
1987 Kenji Ekuan becomes the 4th president of KDS
1990 Kenzo Kiga becomes the 5th president of KDS
1993 Norisada Yokoyama becomes the 6th president of KDS
1996 Shoji Ichinose becomes the 7th president of KDS
1998 Apr. The General Design Department (daytime program, 3-year course) is established
The name of the Design Department (nighttime program, 2-year course) is changed to Advanced Design Department
2000 Mar. The Living Design Research Department and Dress Design Research Department are dissolved
2002 The name of the General Design Department’s Dress Design Course is changed to Fashion Design Course, and the name of the Advanced Design Department’s Dress Design Course is changed to Fashion Design Course
2003 Feb. The school is relocated to the Akasaka district (Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo) during construction of the new KDS building
2005 Feb. The new KDS building in Shibuya is completed
 (eight-story reinforced concrete building (8 floors aboveground, 1 floor underground) designed by the Obayashi Corporation, located in Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Kazuyuki Oda becomes the 8th president of KDS
Apr. The Basic Molding Course (ancillary education) is established
2008 Apr. Shigeru Uchida becomes the 9th president of KDS
2009 Sep.

The first “Super Open Lecture” series is held
 Instructors: Toyo Ito, Tokujin Yoshioka, Naoto Fukasawa, Taku Sato
2010 100th anniversary of the birth of founder Yoko Kuwasawa
Apr. Lectures begin for the Strategic Design Course “STRAMD”

The second “Super Open Lecture” series is held
 Instructors: Shinichi Takemura, Fumikazu Masuda, Shigeru Uchida
Nov. The “SO+ZO” event is held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of founder Yoko Kuwasawa
2011 Oct. Katsumi Asaba becomes the 10th president of KDS

▲Walter Gropius visits KDS (1954)

▲At the Aoyama KDS building (1956)

▲The former Shibuya KDS building, which stood at the current location

▲Approach to the former Shibuya KDS building

▲A classroom scene inside the former Shibuya KDS building

▲Exterior view of the new Shibuya KDS building (2005)