Japan is more disgusted than anyone else at its own predilection to copy designs of foreign goods.
Japan is more disgusted than anyone else at its own predilection to copy designs of foreign goods. This is the consensus of opinion at a Tokyo department store, where an exhibition of the Jap imitations is aimed at stamping out the practice. Backed by the Jap Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the show is drawing huge crowds everyday. Many people leaving are highly critical of the reputation Jap industry is gaining. They are asking for legislation to ban design piracy.
Many countries are suffering from Jap undercutting on similar-looking goods. In England recently, sock manufacturers have shown Jap hose packaged in identical cartoons to their own star lines. Even the names of the firms have been copied. In America this month, a Jap camera manufacturer was sued by the U.S. distributors of the famous Rollei cameras. At the same time, a suit was filed by the German manufacturers in Brunswick.
Tokyo, in the department store exhibition, is seeing these copy-cameras side by side with the originals. A Jap "pirate" motor-cycle is displayed alongside a German "genuine". Beside a distinctive Danish toy doll rests a Jap imitation and a copy of a cloth showing the head of the British Queen Elizabeth is shown at the side of the original.
Two design students of Tokyo University of Art, on being interviewed, are reported to have said: "At the recent France Exhibition, we saw a man perspiring as he worked over one of the exhibits, with the obvious intention of copying it."
This exhibition shows that the Jap conscience is now thoroughly roused and that a more ethical approach to such matters may well be ordered by the government shortly.