Modern Iki Project

The goal of this website is to revive iki, deepen its understanding,
 and promote it thorough its use in art and design.

Modern iki

During the course of modernization, Edo was transformed to Tokyo and some classic iki aspects were lost along with the Edo culture. In a way, classic iki was bound to the time and the place of Edo. It had also some exclusive aspects. Edokko were proud to be iki, and they despised boorish samurais from the countryside.

After all, iki was not completely lost. Iki survived and adapted itself in modern times. And yet, the notion of iki has been not well organized, and often misunderstood. By redefining iki as "modern iki" in today's context, iki brings fresh ideas to design, art, and lifestyle.

Although iki is originated in Japan, modern iki is open and universal. It is not bound to Japan. Iki has many aspects. It is hard to pin down to a single translation. Behind its refined simplicity, iki is related to maturity, uprightness, unobtrusive consideration, largess, rebelliousness, clever exchange of words, impromptu, contrivance or scheme, "get the message," generosity etc. Having this variety of aspects does not mean that iki is inexplicable. Rather, any cultures around the world share these aspects more or less. For example, you might find iki in flamenco, jazz, R&B, choice of ties or shirts, etc.

Iki and colors

Edo Purple

Certain colors are traditionally thought to be iki, such as Edo Purple. They are appreciated even today. However, people's preference of colors has changed over time. Also, some bright colors didn't exist in the past for technical reasons. This means that some bright colors, such as bright orange or light blue were never considered in the light of classic iki. Many people today might find classic iki colors, too subdued and plain. As iki crossed the confined border of Edo, we might need to redefine modern iki color. As color is also closely related to patterns and designs, we also need to take them into account. In general, a color may be iki even if it is bright, if the overall impression is not messy or garish.