Japanese Cultural Influence on Lexus Design

Sashiko, origami, Takumi, omotenashi, Kaizen… these are some of the key philosophies and crafts that make Lexus a leader in its class.

A Lexus is a display of the most advanced technology at work, and Japanese influence plays no small role in its excellence.

Japanese heritage is rich and its ancient philosophies, dating back centuries, continue to find expression in all aspects of modern life. Even with the advancement of technology, heritage is part of the DNA across Japanese corporations. At Lexus, these ancient philosophies have permeated and influenced all aspects of the manufacture of luxury cars and are every bit as important as robots and machinery.

The L-finesse design philosophy draws on the deeply rooted principles of Japanese hospitality and aesthetics and refers to the depth of thinking behind the luxury found in Lexus vehicles.

Lexus endeavours to do more than simply meet a person’s needs and desires. By anticipating them, the brand can seamlessly deliver on that promise, be it in the exterior design, the smooth and responsive power, or the discreet guiding sequence of interior lighting. These skills and techniques that date back centuries can never be replicated by a machine.

"They develop almost superhuman senses and use sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste in every aspect of Lexus design and development."

Takumi craftsmen

A Takumi is a highly skilled artisan focused on one area of craftsmanship. They take considerable pride in the quality of their work. They could be a chef, a carpenter, a tailor… any profession where the skill level improves over time. To earn the prestigious title of a Takumi master, the individual needs to have spent at least 60,000 hours (about 30 years) perfecting their craft. Owing to their wealth of experience, Takumi master craftsmen are guardians of this artisan philosophy. They develop almost superhuman senses and use sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste in every aspect of Lexus design and development, be it paintwork, welding, vehicle dynamics or interior crafting.

Takumi master craftsmen are guardians of this artisan philosophy

The art of origami

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding and a great way to keep the mind sharp and hands busy. It’s all about art, precision and creativity and requires dexterity and a high level of concentration. Before the craftsmen and women at Lexus can have the Takumi status bestowed upon them, they are challenged to fold a paper into an origami cat in under 90 seconds using their non-dominant hand. It is all about reinforcing the value of creativity and ensuring that a Lexus customer is exposed to only the absolute best.

Sashiko stitching

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese embroidery style that consists of a simple running stitch – repeated little stabs that interlock and form traditional geometric patterns. The craft has evolved since the Japanese Edo period, from 1615 to 1868 – when it was used to reinforce worn areas in fabric or to repair the worn-out pieces and torn areas by stitching on patches – to a beautiful form of art that consists of decorative stitching. At Lexus, this form of stitching is used on the seams of the luxurious seats. The handcrafted lines contrast beautifully with the innovative technology of the car’s gauges and dash instruments. Their simplicity and elegance do not betray the difficulty involved in creating them. A fine display of sashiko stitching can be found across the luxurious LS range.

Sashiko Stitching Detail on Luxurious Lexus Seats

The spirit of Kaizen

Kaizen is the quest for continuous improvement and while Lexus continues to stay true to its heritage, the engineers are always striving for better and are committed to reimagining automotive technology, sometimes in unexpected ways. So while the innovations found in each Lexus are the most advanced, they are also designed with the driver in mind – intelligent and intuitive technology means better anticipation on the road and an enhanced driving experience.




An artist with a passion for paper, Maia Lehr Sacks has taken the art of origami to new levels of creativity.