As a North American designer, most of the graphic design theory I've encountered can be traced back to the Bauhaus in Germany. I've also read there was a less famous Russian equivalent to the Bauhaus school, called Vkhutemas.
Were there Bauhaus equivalents for Asian countries (i.e. a school or institution where the early graphic design theory was defined?) or was the Bauhaus' influence global?
My best lead so far: http://www.mplusmatters.hk/asiandesign/paper_topic6.php
[In 1981,] none of the histories of industrial design made any reference to Asian design, while the prevailing history of graphic design by Philip Meggs only mentioned Japan among all the other Asian nations. [...]
I did eventually discover books like Scott Minick's and Jiao Ping's book Chinese Graphic Design in the Twentieth Century and Richard Thornton's Japanese Graphic Design...[...]
In 1989, Design Issues, the journal I co-edit published a special issue on Design in Asia and Australia. Our authors included Matthew Turner, writing about Hong Kong, as well as other authors dealing with design in India Japan and China. Since then we have sought other articles on Asian design and have managed to publish a number on design in China, Japan, Indonesia, and India.
Self-answered from chat for China:
In the article Chinese graphic design history since 1971 by Wendy Siuyi Wong:
China had been cut off fro the outside world, and there were hardly any commercial art activities there for three decades. Under such circumstances, the modern Chinese design movement started in the 1930s by the Shanghai designers was not able to keep pace with the international design trends throughout this period. [...] With the introduction of the latest design trends through an increasing number of international exchanges, very little influence of the older generation of mainland designers was passed on to the younger generation in the 1980s and 1990s. The main direction of the design education system in mainland China, in today's context, is still based on a skill-training curriculum from the 1960s Russian model.