Kansei Studies

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Kansei Studies is an interdisciplinary research field focusing on kansei. It intends to understand what kansei is, how it works, and how to apply understanding of kansei in the design of new products and services.


Kansei (感性) is a Japanese word that covers the meanings of sensitivity, sensibility, and intuition in English and is akin to the German concept of Ästhetik. Researchers have proposed three major definitions for its applicability in psychology and design:

  • In 1998, Akira Harada collected 60 definitions provided by researchers involved in the research related to Kansei, and analyzed the responses statistically. This arrived at five major dimensions of kansei:
    1. Kansei is a subjective and unexplainable function.
    2. Kansei, besides its innate nature, consists of the cognitive expression of acquired knowledge and experience.
    3. Kansei is the interaction of intuition and intelligent activity.
    4. Kansei is the ability of reacting and evaluating external features intuitively.
    5. Kansei is a mental function creating images.
  • In 2005, Simon Schütte, working on Kansei engineering, recalled Nagamachi's proposition and defined kansei as an individual subjective impression from a certain artifact, environment or situation using all the senses of sight, hearing, feeling, smell, taste, recognition and balance.
  • In 2005, Pierre Lévy proposed to describe kansei as a mental sense of subjectivity.


  • Akira Harada, "On the definition of Kansei," in Modeling the Evaluation Structure of Kansei 1998 Conference, Vol. 2, p. 22, 1998.[verification needed]
  • Simon Schütte, "Sensing the Kansei in Kansei Engineering—The Affective Flow Model," in the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Kansei Engineering and Intelligent Systems, KEIS'06, Aizu, September 5–7, 2006.[verification needed]
  • Pierre Levy, "Interdisciplinary Design for the Cyberspace by an approach in Kansei Information—Methodology and Workgroup Communication Tool Design Approach in Kansei," doctoral thesis, University of Tsukuba, December 2005.[verification needed]

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