A custom is defined as a “cultural idea that describes a regular, patterned behavior that is considered characteristic of life in a social system.” It can give shape to a society and provide norms that enhance the community or create efficiency. However some customs become outdated and inhibit the growth of a society as a whole.
Japanese Formalities is an instructional website catalog that outlines the rules of social engagement defined by gender and class hierarchies within modern Japan. Using informational aesthetics of popular Japanese manner manuals, both analog and digital, I created a website that outlines these strict formalities in exact detail.
Inspired by Jorgen Leth’s 1967 satirical cult short film The Perfect Human, I model the ideal Japanese woman, displaying the correct form of a bow, arrangement and service of tea, even the proper laughing gesture of a desirable lady.
My project was an opportunity to understand why women in Japan are not seeing more progress; and to start questioning how to start eliminating outdated social norms that limit gender equality, while preserving the beauty and efficiency of Japanese tradition.