Nerd Talk

Where’s the wasabi

Jun 03, 2023

Japan has been famous for its distinct culture in many different fields, but in terms of digital design, we cannot say we have a global initiative. Many of the design practices in Japan are western based, and that is one of the reasons why Ryo has run UX MILK, a webzine based on translation of English design articles, and has become the biggest UX design community in the past 7 years. After creating a local design community, Ryo begins to wonder, “Is this really the design trend we want to follow?”. Of course, Japan is still in the middle of a slowly progressing digital transformation, so any global trend will work in some ways, but after knowing all the common design practices, it’s time we start finding our own ways. How can Japan fork and branch a new trend?In this talk, Ryo will talk about his story on how he started his design communities and why he feels discomfort in the common western based UX trends as a Japanese designer. He will show some examples based on cultural differences, and also share some hints in defining the Japanese Style Design he has found so far along the way.

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Ryo “Roy” Sampei

Workshop Host, Flying Penguins Inc.

Ryo is a global business development manager and brand & content strategist at Flying Penguins Inc., a UX design firm in Tokyo. Growing up in various countries outside Japan, his mission is to introduce Japanese design culture worldwide and hopefully bring new insights and styles back home. In his past career, Ryo founded UX MILK, the largest UX design community in Japan, and contributed to cultivating UX design amongst web/app developers. During his six years at UX MILK, he hosted countless meet-ups and high-quality design conferences. His high reputation eventually led him to get a chance to host Design Matters pop-up in Tokyo 2020, the first Design Matters pop-up event held outside of Copenhagen. He is now officially part of the Design Matters team as head of Design Matters Tokyo, preparing for the next Tokyo Pop-up in 2022.