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Commemorating the 100th Birth Anniversary of Yusaku Kamekura


  • DATES : April 6 (Mon) – May 21 (Thu), 2015
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays, holidays, and April 29 (Wed) through May 6 (Wed). Admission free.

In the days before the concept of “design” took root in Japan, Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997) was like an explorer delving into uncharted territory. In addition to the multitude of his most famous works – his Tokyo Olympics posters, Good Design symbol and NTT logomark, to name just a few – during his long career Mr. Kamekura continuously devoted himself to establishing and promoting the field of design through activities that included participation in the founding of the Japan Advertising Artists Club (JAAC), Nippon Design Center, Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA), and the Good Design program. Today Yusaku Kamekura is widely recognized and hailed as one of the most important and influential figures within the history of graphic design in Japan.

To mark the centennial anniversary of Mr. Kamekura’s birth, this exhibition has been organized with the intent of shedding light on his achievements as a designer from two new perspectives: Mr. Kamekura’s abundant exchanges with many of the world’s most esteemed artists, and his committed devotion to editing “CREATION” magazine, one of his most cherished projects of his later years. The exhibition will feature numerous works, photos, letters and other materials never shown before, as well as works spanning from his debut as a designer to his well-known core body of work.

Through his exchanges with the great giants of design and other artistic fields, what did Mr. Kamekura feel, and what legacy did he bequeath us? We hope this exhibition dedicated to Yusaku Kamekura will provide a rare opportunity to get to know this man who so loved his involvement with design throughout his brilliant, long career.

1 Mr. Kamekura (far right) at his home in Yotsuya (Tokyo), with (from right) Shuzo Takiguchi, Bruno Munari, Max Huber, (Mrs.) Fumiyo Kamekura (1960)
2 With Herbert Bayer (1960)
3 With Paul Rand (left) and Isamu Noguchi at the New York ADC (1987)
4 Letter from Raymond Savignac (1989)
5 Letter from Brad Holland (1990)
6 Letter from Milton Glaser (1991)
7 “CREATION” page layout (1989)
8 Mr. Kamekura’s first book design (“Night Flight” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery), at age 19 (1934)
9 1964 Tokyo Olympics poster (1962)
10 1964 Tokyo Olympics poster (1961)
11 Cover of Vol.1 of “CREATION” (1989)
12 Japan World Exposition, Osaka (Expo ’70) poster (1967)
13 Yamagiwa International Competition for Lighting Fixtures Exhibition poster (1968)
14 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics poster (1970)
15 Hiroshima Appeals poster (1983)

Yusaku Kamekura

Graphic designer, born in Niigata Prefecture on April 6, 1915. 1933: Upon graduating from the Second Middle School of Nippon University, began working at an advertising office directed by Hideshige Ota. 1938: Joined Nippon Kobo, where he was art director of “NIPPON” and other magazines for overseas readers. 1951: Participated in establishing the Japan Advertising Artists Club (JAAC). 1960: Took part in the establishment of Nippon Design Center Inc. and became its managing director. 1962: Went freelance and established the Kamekura Design Institute. During his lifetime Mr. Kamekura received numerous awards both in Japan and from abroad. In 1980 he was bestowed a Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the Japanese Government. In 1991 he was designated a “Person of Cultural Merit” by the Government. In 1993 he was inducted into New York ADC Hall of Fame. In 1994 the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw bestowed on him its first Honorary Doctorate. Mr. Kamekura served as president of the Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA) for 16 years, commencing with its founding in 1978. He succumbed to acute pneumonia on May 11, 1997. His representative works include posters for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Expo ’70 in Osaka, the World Design Exposition in Nagoya and the Hiroshima Appeals campaign, and logomarks and logotypes for Good Design, NTT, Nikon and Yamagiwa.

Exhibition Content

From exchanges with artists all over the world, to editing of “CREATION”
The exhibition will display materials, many never shown before, relating to Mr. Kamekura’s exchanges with many of the world’s leading designers and other artists: including Herbert Bayer, Paul Rand, Max Huber, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Yoshio Hayakawa, Ikko Tanaka, Kazumasa Nagai, Shigeo Fukuda, Isamu Noguchi, Sofu Teshigahara and Ken Domon, among others. Visitors will also be given a behind-the-scenes look at Mr. Kamekura’s editing work for his magazine “CREATION.”

The works of Yusaku Kamekura: from his debut as a graphic designer to his most famous works
Also on display will be a thoughtfully selected array of Mr. Kamekura’s representative works: from his early book design for “Vol de Nuit” at age 19, to his posters for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Expo ’70 in Osaka.


The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Office

Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA)

Special Commemorative Exhibitions

“100th Anniversary Celebration: Yusaku Kamekura Exhibition”
July 11 – August 30, 2015
The Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum
5-1, Bandaijima, Chuo-ku, Niigata 950-0078
TEL: 025-290-6655

“100th Anniversary Celebration: Yusaku Kamekura and ‘CREATION’”
November 14, 2015 – January 17, 2016
The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art
3-278-14, Senshu, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata 940-2083
TEL: 0258-28-4111