US-Japan cultural exchange was an element of the 1960s and '70s experience that had a surprising impact on the 1971 Story.
Following the devastation of World War II and the subsequent Allied occupation (1945-1952), Japan quickly turned its situation around, rebuilding its infrastructure and developing and modernizing its economy. The 1950s and 1960s saw rapid Japanese manufacturing growth, with production of consumer and electronic goods becoming a mainstay of the national economy. With growing family incomes, leisure time also expanded and people looked to find new ways to spend their time and money. American influence was strong during this era and well into the 1980s, and consumer and leisure culture were partly shaped by this influence. Handicrafts, including American-style quiltmaking, made their way onto the Japanese scene. Needlework, with which many Japanese women were already adept, became especially popular. Once the Abstract Design in American Quilts pieces arrived in Tokyo and Kyoto in 1975-1976, Japan was primed for a quiltmaking bonanza.