Graphic design in Japan

Graphic Design in Japan: Connecting Aesthetics to Society’s Pulse

Graphic design in Japan

A new display of books, focusing on the evolution of graphic design in Japan is now on show and available for browsing in the Library at Japan House London until late September. Book curator Haba Yoshitaka presents a collection of books and images which examine a selected history of graphic design — and designers — in Japan, against the backdrop of their changing society.

Delve into the works of Japanese designers such as Kamekura Yūsaku, who created the main poster for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, and Hara Kenya, the Creative Advisor for Japan House London, as well as others like Tanaka Ikkō, Nagai Kazumasa, Hayakawa Yoshio, Fukuda Shigeo, Katsui Mitsuo and Sugiura Kōhei. Discover their different approaches to design and how they succeeded in gaining international recognition.

Also on display is a poster and video showing the work of the artist and designer Tokolo Asao whose exhibition [CONNECT] Individual and Group is open on the Ground Floor until 7 November 2021. The art poster is of the official Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games emblem, created by Tokolo using just a compass and a set square. The video, Time Measurement volume 1 by Tokolo Asao x Horiyama Takashi of Hokkaido University, is an animation played on an hourly cycle. Using the three types of rectangles which make up the emblem design, the animation shows a variety of possible combinations. One way of counting yields 23,779,492,214 possible combinations of the 60 pieces and at the pace of one combination per second it would take around 754 years to return to the original sequence if all the possible combinations were used.

Time Measurement volume 1 (30s version) by Tokolo Asao x Horiyama Takashi (Hokkaido University)

Many of the books are available in Japanese language only, however, they are filled with a variety of striking images of art and design that can be understood universally. There is no need to book your visit to the Library, but guests numbers are limited to six people at any one time.

Japan House London is a COVID-secure venue. Our staff continue to wear face coverings and from Tuesday 30 November 2021 guests are required by UK Government regulations to do the same. Please visit our COVID-19 webpage for more information on our continuing measures we have implemented to ensure your safety.

About the Book Curator:

Haba Yoshitaka
Haba Yoshitaka is a Book Director and representative of BACH, as well as an associate lecturer at Waseda University and Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. In order to create opportunities for people to have greater access to books and pick up unknown books, Haba produces shop floors, library displays and reading areas that connect book stores and different industries.

His recent works include Wacoal Study Hall Kyoto (a venue that comprises a school, library, gallery and co-working space), ISETAN The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur and Japan House São Paulo. Haba is a book connoisseur, his love of books goes beyond book curation to include writing and editing. Watch Japan House London interview with Haba Yoshitaka here.