Designing the Japanese Walking Bag

First introduced to the Japanese market in 1997, The Swany Walking Bag functions as a kind of rolling cane. Relatively small and lightweight, the device looks like a soft suitcase with gently curved handle. It rolls on wheels that pivot 360 degrees, allowing the Bag to function like a gliding handrail. This case study of the Swany Walking Bag, developed in Japan by Etsuo Miyake, explores a design innovation that grew in response to Japan’s cultural reception of physical difference and growing national awareness of disability.