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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Katsumi Asaba

Graphic designer, art director


Interview: June 19, 2018, 16: 00 ~ 17: 30
Interview place: Katsumi Asaba Design Room
Interviewee: Katsumi Asaba
Interviewer: Seki Yasuko, Tomoko Ishiguro
Writing: Tomoko Ishiguro



Asaba Katsumi

Graphic designer, art director

Born in Kanagawa prefecture in 1940
1958 Kanagawa Prefecture Kanagawa Industrial High School Graduate Design Course
     In the same year, he joined the department store Matsuhiya publicity department
Learning at the Kuwasawa Design Institute Living Design Basic Course in 1959
1960 Noriyuki Sato Joined the Typography Institute.
     Learn typography and character design for 5 years
Joined Light Publicity in 1964
1975 Established Katsumi Asaba Design Room
1987 Tokyo Type Directors Club (TDC) founded
1996 Film "Sharaku" The 19th Japan Academy Award for Best Art Prize Award
    (As art director)
2002 received the Purple Ribbon
2008 "Traces of Prayer."Exhibition
     This exhibition space design and exhibition work "Katsumi Asaba" in the diary
     Received the 2nd Tokyo ADC Award Grand Prix
Inauguration of the 10th generation director of Kuwasawa Design Institute 2011
Received Koaki Akira Asahi 2013

Katsumi Asaba



Katsumi Asaba is a rare existence that has driven the graphic world at both axes of art direction and typography.Asaba talks that Art Direction is a combination work, Asaba has found such interesting things as early as possible, with its insatiable curiosity and keen sense of smell, and has been supplying many advertisements and designs to people.In Seibu Department Store "Delicious Life", Woody Allen was appointed, Suntory's "Yume Roadway" realized the advertisement shooting in China's Silk Road for the first time in Japan at that time.In Nissin Cup Noodles, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a kettle.
Actually he was dreaming of becoming an illustrator like Saul Steinberg when he was young.That he came deep into the world of letters was the encounter with Satoru Sato Keisuke Sato, a lettering owner.Sato will meet, "The painting remains for only 500 years."The letters will be left for a thousand years," he said enthusiastically about the depth of typography.Then I learned everything about letters, from teacher design to genealogy of typography in the world for 5 years.It was also around this time that I took a special learning of lettering that pulls 10 lines to 1 mm with a crown.Although he was a researcher, Sato was not from design, he had no way to embody his own theory.Asouba demonstrated its power as a craftworker who puts his research results into concrete form, which bloomed the talent as a typographer.Interest in the world of letters was accelerated by encountering Tompa characters of existing hieroglyphs, and after 50 years of age they entered the calligrapher, Ishikawa Kyouji, and learned the script.
More than 60 years have passed since design was made a living but the motivation for the world of creation has not declined yet. "The daily routine can be said to be its representation.I write a diary every day so that I always think of a letter or mark as "one day's picture".Have a brush and write each morning.Challenging is written by Xuanzhou Sanzang contained in the big goose tower in China / Xi'an, quietly striking down and looking at the script, various thinking goes around, and the image comes to boil.
It was energetic enough to be told that he was active 24 hours a day without sleeping.I think that reading a lot of books, training the body including work, and "blooding" the information gathered in that way will be the foundation of their own design.



Advertisements, posters, etc.

Kewpie mayonnaise "vegetable series" Kewpie mayonnaise (1974),
Suntory Old "Yume Kaido" Suntory (1980), Seibu Department Store (1981),
Seibu Department Store "Delicious Life" Seibu Department Store (1982),
Alinamin A 25 "No, it is a fishman" Takeda Pharmaceutical (1986),
Nissin Cup Noodle "Schwarzenegger, to eat."Cup Noodles. " (1989), 
Typography in Asia Exhibition "A View from Tokyo" (1990),
Independent Production Poster "Asia 22 Characters" Tokyo TDC "Hot Asia and 89 Typo Directors" Exhibition (1991),
Film "Sharaku" art director, Poster Shochiku (1994), Nagano Olympic Official Poster (1998)
Concert Notification Poster "Dry Gin Sumikin."Hayashi Hayashi meets Yosuke Yousuke (2003),
"WATER FOR LIFE / a glass of water" Japan Graphic Designers Association (2005),
"Misawa Design Bauhaus" Misawa Home (2009), "Continent to live ink and writing" Taiwan · Myoko Nature Exhibition (2011), Atsushi Nakajima "Character episode" special book books Ichihara Lakeside Art Museum (2015), others



Yokohama Museum of Art (1977), Democratic Party (1998), STOP AIDS (1992),
Toppan Printing "Blood Mandala Project" (2002), 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE · IN-EI ISSEY MIYAKE (2010),



"World graphic design series 18 Asaba Katsumi" gggBooks (1995),
"Please give me the power to live. "KK bestsellers (2002),
"Earth character explorer" Niiroga (2004),
"Tompa's Asa Bible" Advertisement Conference (2008),
"Katsumi Asaba Design Diary 2002-2014" graphic company (2015), others



"Seven Faces Asaba" Exhibition Ginza Graphic Gallery (2005),
"Traces of prayer."Exhibition 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT (2008),
Katsumi Asaba's typography exhibition "ASABA'S TYPOGRAPHY."Ginza Graphic Gallery (2015),
Katsumi Asaba Solo Exhibition "Blood Asaba" Kyoto ddd Gallery (2016),
Katsumi Asaba Solo Exhibition and Mr. Dean Poole Production "ASABA Table Tennis Base" presentation New Zealand (2018), others

Works by Asaba Katsumi



I would like to create a typography art museum.
Direction is important for archiving.

Traces of the edition are kept, all

- In 2016, I interviewed DNP Culture Promotion Foundation Nagasawa Nagashi, and I heard that about 1,300 posters by Mr. Asaba were donated to the previous year.What kind of circumstances was it?


Asaba Typography Exhibition in DNP DNP Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg) in 2015 "ASABA'S TYPOGRAPHY."has been held. Catch copy is "Design life 60 years, table life 40 years, calligraphy life 20 years."I've named art director and graphic designer so far, but typography is on the axis.I planned to vomit everything that I carried on.I have located the exhibited works from the warehouse in Harumi, which I borrowed for many years.Besides posters as well as old publications are included in it, the arrangement of archives has been promoted as a result of this, and it was decided to donate 1,300 posters, which are part of the work, to the DNP Culture Promotion Foundation.


- It is valuable to have a version underneath.In the interview survey so far, graphic designers also have problems with the storage location, but it seems that they thought that everything printed was not obsessed with the process, or that the copy was thrown away There are many people.


Asaba I have been treating the publications forever.But what you do as a job is a mock-up shop.Since traces of himself are here in the first place, I have thought that I have to leave.However, I only stuffed it in the warehouse after I finished work.We saved works and textbooks in pieces all together.A sketch and a copy when I wrote Tompa characters also appeared.Since I wanted to see the real thing at the exhibition, I made 10 collage works based on this copy, and exhibited it.I also took out the "delicious life" that I was framing, and collaborated by appropriately cutting down the contents of paper and baked paper as well.I did it overnight in about 3 months.Both works and publications are still kept in warehouse.


- It is wonderful to be able to touch such traces.Because the current era is all advanced in the computer, I can not feel texture at all.


Asoue yeah, it's boring.I can do the current graphics quickly, at a great speed.I feel that it is still light.Expression and thinking are light.


- Did you notice again in the work of actually reconstructing the version?


Asaba I think that my breathing is amazing when I face the thing that moved the hand.


- In addition to design activities from typography to advertisement, Mr. Asaba was also investigated and collected as a character researcher.Being the president of the Japan Graphic Designers' Association (JAGDA) until last year, and currently serving as director of the Kuwasawa Design Institute, we have many important positions.Are all documents such as books related to various organizations still left?


Asoru As always keeps anything, I am always angry.Although the secretary organizes the collections, there is no space, so how can I organize? If you have archive know-how, you are saying that I want you to tell me.As a locus of activity, I write it in my diary sometimes and I refer to it as a guide.I write a diary every day for about 1 hour or so before going to bed at night.Sometimes I wrote it with drunken characters.Together with the diary written and related works, at the timing of the previous exhibition, I publish "ASABA'S DIARY Katsumi Asaba Design Diary 2002-2014" from Graphic Arts.This is also one archive.Normally, the diary comes out after a hundred years since the death, but announced it while he was alive.


- Looking back on this diary, you can see the works of the past.In the advertisement work, I visit many unknown places and unknown places.


It was a good encounter to say that commercial shooting set in Asaba Silk Road was the first time for Japanese people.Since we go only in remote areas, we have a synonym for "remote explorers".I have been to 250 areas so far and also met many ethnic minorities.After getting small information I first go to the location hall and take a method to visit again in order to shoot if it seems interesting.


I will not make my own shape


- Why does Mr. Asabi seek unknown things?


It is Asaba's lifetime traveler.It seems like Matsuo Basho.There is an interesting discovery in remote areas.It is interesting that customs and customs are different.Tri Pandora in southern India is different in custom from us and shakes his head when "YES".Such discovery is interesting.


- Is it because such surprises and discoveries are at the root of the work, Isao 's work has no "shape" that briefly shows Asaba work?


Asaba Yes, there is no shape. "It is sky ". "It is a colorful sky.


- It is a word such as "Wakushinkai".All things of this world have a form but that is a temporary figure, the essence is empty, not that it is not immutable.Was it conscious, or did it naturally do so?


It is Asaba conscious thing.I chose the way to develop in various ways without making my own shape.I thought that was more interesting.


- That's why you can change yourself freely.Is there a routine way of keeping it empty?


I wonder if it is written in Asako.I am doing it every morning.I began studying the scripts for Ishikawa Ko Yang since pasting 50 years, more than 20 years passed.The history of the book is long and Professor Shirakawa Shira daught it back.I heard the lecture and shuddered with abundance of knowledge.Since the lecture remains, please read it.Mr. Shirakawa is an editor who can not readily meet, but I am seeing you five times.I liked it when I joined the NHK program.I had a wonderful bone character, but something broke when I was touching.After that I searched every time I went to China, but I could not find that much clever character.


Encounter with letters


- Graphic design and characters are inseparable, but what inspired Mr. Asaba to be interested in letters?


Asaba It is that he met Keizo Sato, a landlord owner of the lettering, and entered the typography laboratory, Keisuke Sato.I first wanted to be an illustrator.When studying at the prefectural Kanagawa industrial high school design department and being employed as a designer at Yokohama department store · Matsukiya's advertising department, one day, Torao Tomii belonging to the publicity department - he is a pre-war famous designer - a high school It was also my senior, but I took me to a coffee shop.It appeared there that Mr. Seiji Sato was a student.It is said that he was a friend who worked together in the information department of the resident.Mr. Sato invited me to come and see you, so staying there, it was amazing.There was a place like a nest of characters, a beaker was placed, and there was a mysterious laboratory like a mysterious doctor.I was told Mr. Sato hotly about letters, the world of letters was deep, I thought that it would be nice to learn letters while drawing illustrations.For the next 5 years, I learned character design under Professor Sato.I quit Matsukiya and joined the Kuwasawa Design Institute.Miura Aoba and Noritomo Nagatomo are classmates, I was teaching lettering to their classmates.


- In Japanese, there are kanji, hiragana, katakana, but Mr. Asaba first got interested in kanji.


It is Asaba Hiragana.If you are writing Hiragana, you may be surprised to Mr. Sato as "nice".So I decided to go to learn calligraphy and I also went to a cram school in Haruka, a town that I was doing at Yokohama Takashimaya.It quit in a year and thrown away the bamboos that I was using, but since I became a 90's I knew Ishikawa Ko Yang from the exhibition and started learning again.


- It was because I was able to show my talent before I learned, because I was familiar with letters since I was a child.


Asaba I think now, it is the influence of Kanazawa Bunko.I was born in Kanagawa Bunko in Kanagawa Prefecture, but the Kanazawa Bunko is the National Diet Library in the Kamakura period and manages national treasures and important cultural assets.Adjacent Kanji is a family temple of Mr. Hojo Kanazawa, I have been there for a while since I was a child.I grew up watching Nichiren's books and sculptures of Keikyu and Zenkei from the usual stage.I woke up in the morning, taking the middle of the sculpture of Baekje and Zanqing as a position, I was watching "I will win this" while being aware of the force.Even when I go to sketch at elementary school, I knew where to draw because I was playing and knowing every day.When I got a piece of paper and drew it, I was praised by your teacher "You are nice."From that I began to think of drawing.By the way my family line has been the Kanazawa Bunka for my entire ancestry, apparently I was serving as secretary of the Hokujyo family.


- DNA from its ancestors may be connected to now.How did you meet Tompa letters (Nashi's hieroglyphics)?


Asaba In the bookstore he casually dropped in in the 1990's in Paris, his eyes stuck to the book "seeing the world's letters" in the Japanese book.Ryu Akira Nakanishi who runs a printing company in Kyoto gathered characters gathered around the world.Mr. Nakanishi is a collector who visits 108 countries and gathers lost characters throughout their lives.After starting up the Tokyo Type Director's Club (TDC) with 89 friends in 1987, the interest in letters from this book was further raised.I saw characters gathered by Mr. Nakanishi at my house in Kyoto and sometimes borrowed stored materials (Nakanishi collection is currently in the National Museum of Ethnology).The work "Asian 22 characters" using Asian representative 22 letters was made based on that material.
Next I thought that I wanted a theme with Tompa letters, and when I asked Mr. Kohei Sugiura who is the leading person, he told me that Mr. Ryuu Nishida is a teacher.Mr. Nishida was then the director of the library at Kyoto University, and he was a prominent researcher as a reader of Nishi-shi letters.Since Nakanishi was also a member of a former colleague, we asked Mr. Nakanishi to make a trip to me, we asked Mr. Nakanishi to plan a trip and asked Mr. Nishida and Mr. Nakanishi for sixteen groups for 17 days to look for the Nazi Tompa letter in Lijiang, Yunnan I went to.It is said that searching for letters is a spy act and changed to the name "ethnic minority friendship group."It is a long trip that you will travel from Kunming by car and will arrive in Lijiang at last only two days after passing the Dali.We call the person who reads the scriptures tomba, but we listened to the old (Lao) Tompa and got the scriptures.After that, I visited Liji five times in 17 years and I have been conducting research.Characters are those invented by humans, but research and research are important as we are losing more and more now.


- You can understand ethnic thoughts by writing letters.


Asaba: Yes, the Edo character is unique in Japan.That is the character that the people made.Although calligraphers deny it, it is interesting.Signs of Kabuki, parliamentary letters, Sumo wrestlers, basketballs of thousands of company tenders.I say that the character of Joruri is made from the sound of a shamisen.Sometimes, I also find such materials in rural secondhand bookstores.


- The collection including the Tompa characters collected in this way is truly precious.I think that photographs of the unexplored areas such as Africa who went in by coverage are also difficult to obtain.


Asaba As for valuable things, it is likely that the Wide Lux camera produced by Panasonic Commerce and Industry in 1964.It has been 55 years since I shot with this.Made in Japan, I bought it at the last Tokyo Olympics.There are only a few left in the country now.Besides that, since I also write sentences with handwritten manuscripts, I also keep the manuscript.


Future archive concept


- In 2011 he took office as the 10th president of Kuwasawa Design Institute.At Kuwasawa Design Institute, or at the same Kuwasawa Gakuen Tokyo Zokei University, is there any movement concerning archiving?


Asaba Now, the archive has attracted attention nationwide.Since I got a budget from Kyushu Sangyo University in the past, I was told to send 20 poster works.With this industrial university, parents of Choki, a member of creators named Goo Choki Par (GCP), were professors and received requests at that moment.Other posters are also stored in the Toyama Prefectural Art Museum.Regarding Kuwasawa Gakuen, archives related to Yuuko Kuwasawa, the founder of the Kuwasawa Design Laboratory, are underway.Kuwasawa Design Institute was established as a model of Bauhaus.The educational philosophy is to cultivate the driving force of design.Schools that inherit the spirit of Bauhaus were born around the world, but the main schools are said to be three schools in the USA · North Carolina Black · Mountain · College, Chicago's New Bauhaus, and the Kuwasawa Design Institute in Japan, Currently there are no two previous schools already, only Kuwasawa Design Institute has become.At the Kuwasawa Design Laboratory, students are now going to Bauhaus every year.The Bauhaus can be accommodated, and there are also schools of architecture and theater.It is like an observation tour, but it is a good experience for students to see the scene.I encourage students to stand under the BAUHAUS logo and take pictures. "If you stand under the logo, design will come down from heaven. "


- It is an archiving activity that continues from Bauhaus to the present.In Japan, the Japan Design Association Council D - 8 etc has started to investigate and encourage archives, but how do you think Mr. Asaba?


Asouba I really want to create a typography art museum.Thirty years have passed since the establishment of Tokyo TDC, and there is also the Japan Typographic Association that lasts 50 years.I want to be able to see prints and prize-winning works anytime.Besides that, I would like to leave knowledge of the characters I've been exploring so far.Professor Shirakawa gets great respect in China, but it is because of the depth of knowledge of kanji and letters, which Chinese characters did not understand.Hong Kong and Chinese designers are paying attention to me, so I am interested because there are not so many designers doing the books.In fact, there are times when I was asked to archive to Alan Chan (Chen Kang).He has a gallery.Last year I came to Japan by printing experiment with Toppan Printing.Speaking of Toppan Printing, we restored and reproduced 300 million yen by casting an important cultural property of the Kimonoji Temple, "Big Big Mandala" (also known as "Band Mandala").That technology is only in Japan and it is one of the techniques for archiving, leaving it.There is also a museum in Toppan Printing, and is not it good to investigate?


- As you are talking to Mr. Asaba, it is an equal expression to live?It is only work that I can not do when I think of work.If you leave the overflowing energy and imagination as an archive as it is, you will think that there is no choice but to use this office.


Asaba This building was designed by Aldo Rossi, Shigeru Uchida and Masayoshi Mihashi handled interior decoration.At first, I put a table tennis table in the middle.


- As for the archive, although you are interested, in many cases, if the writer himself dies, you can arrange it, but you can not set the direction and it will be difficult to navigate.


Asaba direction may be important.I also have to do concrete.


- I think that people who are like Mr. Asaba speaks will help to encourage archival activities.Thank you for all the interesting stories today.






Where archive of Asaba Katsumi is located


Contact address

DNP Culture Promotion Foundation

Kyushu Sangyo University



Toyama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Poster 'Delicious Life', Musashino Art University Library Library Poster 'Nagano Olympics', Miyake Issei Design Cultural Foundation Hanging Scene '1, 2, 3', Mino Japanese paper's Sari Kaikan (Gifu Prefecture) Hanging Scale 'Three, Four, Five' , Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Museum Poster "Misawa Design 2009 Bauhaus", Admuseum Tokyo Poster "Misawa Design 2009 Bauhaus", Hofu Tenmangu Shrine (Yamaguchi Prefecture) Stone Monument "LOVE Shrine", Ninta Shrine (Ota Ward) Stone Monument "LOVE Shrine" Akiyama Stone Store (Ehime Prefecture) "Stone Table Tennis Table", Kakudahama (Niigata Prefecture) Stone Monument "Hieroglyph", Berlin Bauhaus Archive Museum Poster "Misawa Design 2010 Bauhaus", Shigeo Fukuda Taiwan Design Art Museum Poster "Kamekura Award winning commemoration exhibition "" Katsumi Asaba and the Misawa Bauhaus poster exhibition "" Heaven and Hell "



what is going on?
Design archives of these people

There is also the possibility of changing subjects of survey.

The subjects (individuals) to be surveyed have been selected, including those who have already died, referring to the 2006 Asahi Shimbun publication "The Great Masters who have designed Nippon".

* Is a person who has died.




Let's talk about Shiro Kuramata

Symposium held

Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) is a legendary designer who was active in the 1960s and 1980s.
His character and his work continue to fascinate people all over the world.
Thirty years before his death, he held a symposium to connect the design of Kuramata to the younger generation from the past to the present and the future as "Introduction to Shiro Kuramata".


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