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The 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Exhibition

Yoshie Watanabe: “Making Pictures”

  • DATES : Tue. April 4 - Sat. May 20, 2017
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays, holidays, and from April 29 (Sat) through May 7 (Sun). 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 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award was bestowed on Yoshie Watanabe for her package designs for the “AUDREY” brand of sweets. As both art director and graphic designer, Ms. Watanabe creates illustration-based works manifesting her inimitable worldview. The scope of her creative projects is remarkably broad, encompassing advertising, package and textile design, commercial design for the “D-BROS” brand, clothing design for her original “CACUMA” brand, and picture books.

Watanabe received the 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award for her package designs created for a chain of shops selling sweets made from chocolate from around the world and, prevailingly, strawberries carefully selected from all around Japan. At the judging sessions, Ms. Watanabe received high acclaim. “Her works have in recent years evolved from expressions of the ‘individual’ to designs symbolic of their times,” one judge offered. “Her lettering and designs make attractive use of white space, a style that brings out the unique worldview seen in her illustrations all the more,” commented another.

For this exhibition, in addition to Ms. Watanabe’s package designs for AUDREY, the gallery will also incorporate a retrospective of her illustrations and other works. We eagerly invite visitors to come and experience firsthand Ms. Watanabe’s design world and the compelling and sensitive pictures she continues to create like spinning wondrous tales.

The award-winning package designs for “AUDREY”

Yoshie Watanabe

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1961. Graduated from Yamaguchi University. In 1986 she joined the Satoru Miyata Design Office (now, DRAFT). In 2012 she established KIGI together with Ryosuke Uehara. Besides her graphic design work, Watanabe continues to serve as director of DRAFT’s “D-BROS” product brand. In 2013 she launched the “CACUMA” clothing brand together with Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (Hobonichi), an “almost-daily” newspaper published by Shigesato Itoi. In 2014 with Uehara she launched the “KIKOF” product brand – currently encompassing ceramics, furniture and cloth products – in partnership with artisans of traditional crafts based in Shiga Prefecture. As part of her design activities, she actively creates artworks and holds exhibitions. In 2015 Watanabe and Uehara opened OUR FAVOURITE SHOP, a shop & gallery in Tokyo’s Shirokane area that displays and sells products designed by KIGI.

Watanabe’s publications to date include “BROOCH” (text by Yayako Uchida), “JOURNEY” (poetry by Hiroshi Osada; jewelry by Etsuko Sonobe), “UN DEUX” (text by Naomi Takayama), “Only yours: Little Red Riding Hood, The Nutcracker, and Alice in Wonderland” (text by Takashi Ando), and two collections of KIGI’s works: “KIGI” and “KIGI_M” (publisher: Little More). Awards Watanabe has received to date include the Tokyo ADC Grand Prize, a D&AD Yellow Pencil (Gold Award), a Gold Pencil at One Show Design, and a New York ADC Gold Prize.

Message from the Award Winner
I was once asked what my favorite poster is, and I replied the official posters from the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. I still feel that way. One consists of a huge red dot representing the Japanese flag combined with the five “Olympic rings” all in gold; another captures the instant sprinters spring from their starting blocks. Every time I see those posters, I’m always filled with joy, proud to be Japanese. Even today, despite the long passage of time since they were created, these posters still dazzle, never losing their luster. My own creations are quite different: as time passes, I often find myself reflecting ruefully over my earlier designs. It’s strange, I think, how it’s only after time has passed that I make such realizations, but I like to take a positive view and tell myself that perhaps I’ve grown a bit in the interim. Lately I have a powerful desire to create designs that can withstand long measures of time without fading.

AUDREY, featured in the works for which I received this award, is a brand of sweets made mostly of chocolate and strawberries. AUDREY’s first shop opened in the Takashimaya Department Store in Yokohama, and the second in the same store’s main branch in the Nihombashi area of Tokyo. Happily, both shops are so popular that before Christmas and Valentine’s Day, fairly long lines of shoppers form. When I was a child, I treasured the paper used to wrap candy and chocolates and the wrapping paper and boxes of the different department stores, all so beautifully designed. How happy it would make me if someone were to cherish the AUDREY package designs that I create in the same way. But what I always try to express isn’t just something that’s pretty, but something that stands on its own as a design.

Mine is a job I’m truly grateful for. Making the client or its customers happy, and being able to create designs, makes me happy. On top of all that, now I’ve won an award like this. It will serve as an inspiration for me to strive to get more and more people to know about AUDREY. It will also serve as an impetus for me to reexamine my creations objectively. Whether walking at a leisurely pace or running, I’m eager to continue on my path forward.

Yoshie Watanabe


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

Plaisir Co., Ltd. TOLI Corporation

Exhibition Layout
Nao Harikae Architectural Office

An exhibition of Yoshie Watanabe’s original drawings will be held to coincide with the event at CREATION GALLERY G8:

Dates: Wed, April 12 – Sun, May 14, 2017
Hours: 12:00 – 7:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays (except holidays)
Venue: OFS gallery (within OUR FAVOURITE SHOP)
Address: 12-21, Shirokane 5-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0072
TEL: 03-6677-0575

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 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), Ken Miki (2016). (No works were judged worthy of the award in 2006 or 2011.)

Award Ceremony
Fri, June 23, 2017 in Tokyo (at the site of JAGDA’s 2017 Regular General Assembly)

Publication of the Award-Winning Works
Ms. Watanabe’s award-winning works will be featured in Graphic Design in Japan 2017, scheduled for publication in June 2017 (Rikuyosha Co., Ltd. / Price: JPY 16,200)