There are lots of characteristics of good design and manufacturing. Among them, an object should function well and look good. But many designers in Japan seem to be after something more.
A constant refrain is their desire to make sustainable goods. For some this means using environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing methods. For others it means making objects that will not be cast aside or, worse yet, discarded.
In Japan, a country with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the new, this goal is particularly challenging since it entails overriding the deeply entrenched habit of replacing something with an updated version even if the old one is still usable. But if someone truly loves an object and enjoys using it, they will keep it for a long time, perhaps even their entire life. This is not only the true meaning of sustainability, it is also an essential quality of good design.