World Design Assembly Tokyo 2023 Authorized Program

Conference for thinking about the future of Japan’s design cities

Conference “往来|Correspondence”

October 26, 2023 18:30–20:00

Venue: WeWork Marunouchi Kitaguchi

Click here for event report

The World Design Assembly (WDA) will be held in Tokyo from October 27 to October 29, 2023. Organized by the World Design Organization (WDO), this event returns to Japan for the first time in 34 years.

Asahikawa, Kobe, and Nagoya has been Design Cities as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), and are jointly organizing the “往来(ourai)|Correspondence” conference to be held on October 26, 2023. This conference will welcome a variety of guests who focus on design, and it will include a keynote lecture themed around civic pride by Kaori Ito of the Tokyo University of Science, a talk session about the possibilities and future of design cities through the UCCN.

The three organizing cities will use this event as an opportunity to launch the UNESCO Cities of Design Conference, and strengthen exchanges and collaborations between Design Cities in Japan.


18:30–20:00 October 26, 2023


WeWork Marunouchi Kitaguchi
9F 1 Chome-6-5 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo



Keynote speech
“Urban Creativity and Civic Pride”
Kaori ITO, Professor, Tokyo University of Science
Cross talk
Kaori ITO, Professor, Tokyo University of Science
Hiroki TOKUYAMA, Editor-in-chief, AXIS Magazine
Tomohide MIZUUCHI, Associate Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology
Shinji YAJIMA, Executive Director, Japan Institute of Design Promotion

Kaori ITO
Professor, Tokyo University of Science

Born in Tokyo. She graduated from the University of Tokyo and received PhD in engineering. After working at the Center for Spatial Information Science, the University of Tokyo, she worked at Tokyo University of Science. Her areas of specialization are urban space analysis and design. Her research interests include the relationships between public space and public life. She leads the artist group Tokyo Picnic Club and is involved in creative projects for urban public space both internationally and domestically. She also leads Civic Pride Research Group. Her major publications include “Civic Pride” and “Civic Pride 2.”

Editor-in-Chief, AXIS design magazine

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1979. After graduating from Hitotsubashi University, he worked for an electronics manufacturer and a music publisher before joining AXIS Inc. in 2023. Appointed to current position in May of the same year.

Associate professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology

An associate professor at the Center for the Possible Futures at Kyoto Institute of Technology. He specializes in metadesign, systemic design and design for social innovation. He received his Ph.D. from Kyoto Institute of Technology after graduating with an MA in Design Futures from Goldsmith College, University of London. He has conducted research and practical projects with a wide range of actors, including “Food Scope ‒ Rediscover the tastes of futures”. He is also the Creative Director of Issue+Design.

Executive Director, Japan Institute of Design Promotion

In charge of numerous design promotions including the Good Design Award, Tokyo Midtown Design Hub, and Tokyo Business Design Award. He is a part-time lecturer at Musashino Art University, Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduate School, Kyushu University Graduate School, and Tokai University. He is a member of the Mainichi Design Award research committee. He writes serial articles on the themes of “semi-public” in “Corocal”, business design in “Jigyo-Koso (Project design)”, and education in “Advanced Education”. He was in charge of the original idea and co-planning of the exhibition "Art in Love with Design ♡ Design Envious of Art" held at the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka.


Admission free

Reservation required First 30 arrivals


UNESCO Cities of Design Conference, Japan
[ Asahikawa | Kobe | Nagoya ]

Under the auspices of Creative City Network of Japan (CCNJ), Japan Industrial Design Association (JIDA), Japan Interior Architects/Designers' Association (JID), Japan Graphic Design Association Inc. (JAGDA)


UNESCO City of Design ConferenceE-Mail

*An archival video will be available at a later date. More details will be updated on this website.

About WDA

The World Design Assembly (WDA) is presented by World Design Organization every two years. It will be held in Tokyo in October 2023, the first time it returns to Japan in 34 years, having previously been held in Kyoto in 1973 and Nagoya in 1989.

About World Design Organization (WDO)®

World Design Organization (WDO)® is a globally recognized non-governmental organization that aims to promote and advance the discipline of industrial design and its power to enhance economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life. Founded in 1957, WDO services over 190 member organizations around the world, engaging thousands of individual designers through our innovative programming and initiatives that champion ‘design for a better world’.