Miku Sawabe's educational toy wins award in Japan.
09 Dec 2015
Japanese exchange student Miku Sawabe has won the Grand Prix of the Japan Typography Almanac 2016 for her educational toys, which she developed and produced while studying at the University of Brighton.
Miku’s design consists of a series of 52 Japanese Hiragana language characters which she made using a bent wood technique. The finished characters were then set on small wheels that each produce a unique onomatopoeic sound to represent the character. This helps children to identify and learn Hiragana characters through enjoyable play, enabling them to join them up to form word trains.
Initially only an idea in graphical form Miku worked hard to develop her skills in wood-working to make the toys. The Ash wood used was sourced from a forest a 30-minute bus ride away from Brighton, which Miku visited to learn about the nature of the trees and the properties of the wood.
Miku said: “I wanted to make something of social value that had the effect of achieving two things through one object. Learning is achieved through play, and communication becomes easier for children and parents.”
Miku’s time at Brighton is part of an annual student exchange programme run by the University of Brighton’s College of Arts and Humanities with Nagoya University of Arts.
Brighton 3D Design and Craft tutor Alma Boyes said: “We are very proud to hear of Miku’s most recent success. She was a lovely student to have on exchange. She worked so hard and made great progress while at Brighton. Our students have also benefited immensely from the experiences and the knowledge they have gained from their visits to Nagoya University.”