IHCD Announces Opening of a Japan Office

Jun 4, 2009

IHCD Press Release

June 1, 2009 - Hakuhodo Universal Design, a new arm of Hakuhodo, Inc. focused on popularizing and informing the world about universal design, opened today the first Japan office of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Hakuhodo Universal Design will also invite people working on this issue internationally to become advisors and undertake joint research and international projects with Japanese governmental offices, companies and other organizations. Shigeki Inoue, who will head the new office, is a former IHCD Visiting Fellow (2006-2008). Hakuhodo Universal Design and the Japan office of IHCD will be located at Akasaka Bix Tower in Tokyo.

Japan leads the world in its embrace of universal design as a response to its hyper-aging society. Nikkei Design reported in a July 2007 article that 67.5% of the Japanese population is familiar with universal design. “Our relationships in Japan are rich and diverse, our respect for the caliber of universal design research and innovation unparalleled. We are delighted to have a presence there,” noted Valerie Fletcher, IHCD Executive Director.

Three initial global advisors have also been announced for Hakuhodo Universal Design. They are IHCD Board member Larry Goldberg, Director of the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH in Boston; Dr. Ricardo Gomes, Department Chair and Professor of the Design & Industry Department in the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University and IHCD National Advisory Board member. Yves Behar, founder of Fuse Project and one of the most high profile designers on the global contemporary scene, is the third advisor named today.

Hakuhodo, incorporated in 1924, is Japan's second largest advertising agency and ranks eighth in the world in both billings and profits. The agency has extensive relationships with all aspects of Japanese media. The agency is known for its Institute of Life and Living, which was set up in 1981 to study consumer and sociological trends. Hakuhodo has extensive overseas operations and in this respect is a pioneer among Japanese agencies. Also notable is Hakuhodo's ability to respond rapidly to changing trends within the industry and its use of technology in its approach to producing advertising. Hakuhodo has 3200 employees.

The Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) is an international nonprofit organization, headquartered in Boston, dedicated to enhancing the experiences of people of all ages and abilities through excellence in design, founded in 1978 as Adaptive Environments, selected a new name to coincide with our 30th anniversary in the Fall of 2008. Our work balances expertise in accessible laws and codes, best practice in universal design and research to address new frontiers and gaps in the field. IHCD undertakes projects in five categories: Funded Projects, Consultation, Education and Promotion, Research and Public Engagement. It the largest organization in the US focused on universal design. www.HumanCenteredDesign.org

Media Contacts

Institute for Human Centered Design

Valerie Fletcher

Boston, MA 617-695-1225 voice/tty