TWO EXHIBITIONS ON JAPANESE AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING AND CUSTOMIZATION
THE ROOTS OF MONOZUKURI: THE CREATIVE SPIRIT IN JAPANESE AUTOMAKING
This exhibition seeks to be a comprehensive representation of the products of the Japanese automotive industry before 1970, and as such will be part one of a two-part exhibit. By seeking to include vehicles that have never been shown in America before and therefore have not yet shaped contemporary American perceptions of Japanese auto making, we will explore how and why Japan’s automotive industry has come to dominate the roads, paying special attention to the interesting cultural interchange between the US and Japan that grew into the symbiotic relationship of these economies and cultures.
The selection of vehicles exemplify the creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, and continuous improvement central to Japanese manufacturing monozukuri - that provides the basis for the long-term success of the Japanese automotive industry. Monozukuri is far more than just “making things,” although that is the direct translation; a more nuanced but simplified translation might be “the art, science, and craft of making things.”
FINE TUNING: JAPANESE/AMERICAN CUSTOMS
Japanese custom cars can be categorized into several styles, from the classic tuner style to wild and elaborate customs. Many of these vehicles have never been examined in a museum setting, making their inclusion an opportunity to augment visitors’ perceptions of Japanese cars. This exhibit seeks not only to expose our publics to cars they may not see elsewhere, but to explain the ideological and stylistic conversation between Los Angeles and Japanese car customizers.
Fine Tuning: Japanese/American Customs will run concurrently with The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking, which will be on display in the Bruce Meyer Gallery, adjacent to the Customization Gallery. It is intended to bridge visitor interest between Japanese manufacturing and the prominent interest in customization of Japanese cars in Los Angeles. The roots of car customizing in Japan can be traced to the 1950s and 1960s when motorcycle street gangs (commonly referred to as “bōsōzoku”) customized their bikes to be louder and faster.
People worldwide have come to appreciate cars as machines that embody and convey a variety of appealing concepts including style, innovation, freedom, utility and distinction. Japanese/American Perspectives will present intriguing vehicles in pairings representing these five concepts, offering visitors an opportunity to compare and contrast approaches to car design on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.