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The 18th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Exhibition


  • DATES : Mon. May 9 - Thu. June 2, 2016
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays. Admission free.

The Yusaku Kamekura Design Award was established in 1999 to honor the achievements of the late graphic designer Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997), and to contribute to the further development of the graphic design field. Operation of the award program and selection of the winner, chosen annually, are performed by the Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA). JAGDA awards the prize to the designer whose works are judged most worthy among all entries featured in its yearbook, Graphic Design in Japan.

The 18th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award was bestowed on Ken Miki for his “APPLE+” posters created to publicize his own solo exhibition.

Ken Miki established his design office, Ken Miki & Associates, in 1982. From that base in Osaka he has been active in a remarkably broad spectrum of design genres, including branding, advertising, packaging, editorials and spatial design. Among his most prominent works to date are his kit created for the 2003 Icograda Congress in Nagoya, promotion materials for IBM Japan for the ThinkPad, and logomarks for BELLE MAISON and KEIKYU Department Store. As a professor at Osaka University of Arts he also devotes his vast talents to educating tomorrow’s designers.

The works for which Mr. Miki won the 18th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award are his “APPLE+” posters created to publicize his one-man show held at ginza graphic gallery (ggg). This exhibition introduced the education method developed by Mr. Miki himself for students just beginning to learn about design, a methodology that employs the everyday apple to teach the fun and profundity of designing. At the judging sessions, Mr. Miki garnered high acclaim both for the bold design of his posters and for his unique approach to education behind their creation.

CREATION GALLERY G8 takes pleasure in hosting a solo exhibition to commemorate Mr. Miki’s winning of this highly coveted award.

The award-winning “APPLE+” posters

Illusions supervised by Akiyoshi Kitaoka

Ken Miki
Born in Kobe in 1955. In 1982 he established Ken Miki & Associates. Throughout his career he has undertaken “design by talking” – developing a design by a process similar to speaking – and “design by listening” – designing by probing the origins of things. Working from an underlying theme of “becoming aware of awareness,” he infuses emotional communication into serene expression. His major works to date include: the kit for the 2003 Icograda Congress in Nagoya; promotion of the ThinkPad for IBM Japan, Ltd.; logomarks for BELLE MAISON, Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, KEIKYU Department Store, etc. In recent years he has been developing his “APPLE” project about designing how to learn. A book introducing the project’s content has been published by Lars Müller Publishers of Switzerland. In 2015 Miki held the “APPLE+ Learning to Design, Designing to Learn” exhibition at ggg. Among the awards he has received to date are the JAGDA New Designer Award, Japan Typography Annual Grand Prix, Tokyo Type Directors Club Bronze Award, the International Poster Triennial in Toyama Silver Prize, and the New York Art Directors Club Bronze Award. He currently serves as a professor at Osaka University of Arts.

Message from the Award Winner

I have vivid memories of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. I was in the fourth grade of elementary school at the time. On my desk I had a triangular-shaped coin bank from what was then the Tokai Bank, and on its three sides were the Olympic emblem – a red sun on a white background, representing the Japanese flag, and five gold rings – and two Olympic posters, one depicting track and field and the other about swimming. At the time I knew nothing at all about Yusaku Kamekura. It was only after I later aspired to become a designer that I came to know of him.
I’ll never forget the day I first met Mr. Kamekura. It was in 1994, when I was holding a one-man show at Creation Gallery G8. In those days Mr. Kamekura had his design office on the second floor of the Recruit Building, where G8 is located, and I went to pay my respects. All this occurred just as I was eagerly awaiting the outcome of the competition to design the logo of the Tokyo International Forum. No sooner had I offered Mr. Kamekura my words of greeting than, straight off, he said, “Your logo for the Tokyo International Forum wasn’t selected in the final round of judging. Designing such things isn’t easy.”
Those were the first words I received from this man I looked up to as the “grand deity of design.” “With your logo, you’re assuming you’d be working up all its applications. Logos have to stand up to anything. That’s not easy to achieve, especially in the case of logos of a public nature. They have to be strong enough not to budge regardless of who tries to develop something from them, even if they’re placed somewhat obliquely. More than anything, they have to express an idea with complete clarity. That’s what logos are all about.” Those words remain indelibly etched in my memory even today.
Quite a long time has passed since then, and I never dreamed that someday I’d be notified that I’d received the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award. I received the award for my posters publicizing my “APPLE+” exhibition, which evolved out of my “APPLE” design education program. This is a framework aimed at getting students to realize both the enjoyment and the profundity of design, through use of the everyday apple. Through a variety of unique exercises – for example, observation employing embodiment, extraction of colors lurking in the natural world, the true meaning of things found within restrictions, creative thinking involving serendipitous encounters, etc. – “APPLE” functions as a textbook that makes students become aware of and ultimately remember all of these processes. It makes me very happy to receive acclaim for design having “education,” a social issue, as its theme.
In undertaking this project, the optical illusions featured in the posters were created under the supervision of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a renowned psychologist and professor at Ritsumeikan University. I also received cooperation from many other specialists. I have continuously asked what design means, using media of every kind: posters, spatial design, interactive design, video, music, 3D modeling, books, etc. And with great seriousness students have anguished over their responses. It is thanks to the diligent efforts made by everyone that I have received this award. I wish to take this occasion to express my deep gratitude to you all.

Ken Miki


Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA) Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Office

Protech, Inc. Heiwa Paper Co., Ltd.

inter office ltd. Nakagawa Chemical Inc.

Osaka University of Arts

Yusaku Kamekura Design Award

The Yusaku Kamekura Design Award was established to honor the design achievements of the late Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997), as a way of contributing to the ongoing development of the graphic design field. Made possible through a gift from the Kamekura family, the award program is operated by the Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA), where Mr. Kamekura long served in the role of its founding president. Under this program, the “Yusaku Kamekura Design Award” is presented to a Japanese graphic designer once annually and the “Yusaku Kamekura International Design Award” to an internationally active non-Japanese designer once every three years. The former award is bestowed upon the creator of the work or works deemed most outstanding among all entries for inclusion in the JAGDA yearbook, Graphic Design in Japan; the latter is awarded to what is judged to be the best work, especially in terms of universal global appeal, among entries for the International Poster Triennial in Toyama held at the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama.

Mr. Kamekura garnered wide acclaim for his design of the posters used to promote the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Never satisfied to rest on those laurels, however, he subsequently continued to create graphic works always at the forefront of artistic invention, often vying against designers far his junior. He also devoted his energies to pursuing the quintessential artistry of graphic design as founder and editor of “CREATION” magazine; and it is this commitment to graphic design – both its universal appeal and innovative vigor – that the awards established in Mr. Kamekura’s name aim to carry on. Each award comes with a prize of JPY 500,000 and a plaque designed by Taku Satoh.

Previous Award Winners
Ikko Tanaka (1999), Kazumasa Nagai (2000), Kenya Hara (2001), Kashiwa Sato (2002), Masayoshi Nakajo (2003), Kazunari Hattori (2004), Mitsuo Katsui (2005), Shin Matsunaga (2007), Taku Satoh (2008), Ryosuke Uehara (2009), Katsumi Asaba (2010), Katsuhiko Shibuya (2012), Keiko Hirano (2013), Kaoru Kasai (2014), Kenjiro Sano (2015). (No works were judged worthy of the award in 2006 or 2011.)

Award Ceremony
June 25 (Sat), 2016 in Kyoto (at the site of JAGDA’s 2016 Regular General Assembly)

Publication of the Award-winning Works
Mr. Miki’s award-winning posters will be featured in Graphic Design in Japan 2016, scheduled for publication in June 2016 (Rikuyosha Co., Ltd. / Price: JPY 16,200)