Kenya Hara’s White is a wonderful view of Japanese culture and design history through the perspectives of white and emptiness. He discusses white as an entire design element, rather than as a color.
That said, the ideas somehow felt completely unrelated to one another, as you’re reading, you get the feeling of jumping from concept to another without fully understanding anything.
There is also a lot of repetition of ideas throughout the book, for example the concept that “White is all colors, but is also no color” is repeated through various paragraphs throughout the book.
In my opinion, the author’s attempt at philosophy wasn’t all that successful, it feels as though he had a few great ideas and concepts about the entity “white”, but he himself didn’t quite fully understand them. Or perhaps, he intended the book to have a bunch of broad concepts without any exploration whatsoever.
The overall tone of the book as whole can be seen as prejudiced, because of the condescending manner in which the ideas were presented. After I finished the book, it felt as though the author was saying the Japanese invented White, Emptiness and even Design!
Taking it all in, the book is an OK read. Although it has some great design concepts and ideas to think about, for me, it fell a little short.