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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Ryohei Kojima

Graphic designer


Interview 01: June 29, 2020 13: 00-14: 30
Interview 02: July 8, 2020, 13: 30-15: 00



Ryohei Kojima

Born in Iwate Prefecture in 1939
1960 Graduated from Musashino Art Junior College, Department of Commercial Design, joined Ginza San-ai Advertising Division
Joined Light Publicity Co., Ltd. in 1963
1976 Established Ryohei Kojima Design Office
2009 died




The Japanese design world in the late 1960s and 1990s, when Ryohei Kojima was active, was a time when many talents blossomed at once as if it could be combined with economic growth. In particular, the graphic design world must have had many job opportunities due to national projects such as the Olympic Games and the Osaka Expo, the rapidly expanding advertising and publicity media, and the rush to launch magazines. Furthermore, with Yusaku Kamekura, Kazumasa Nagai, Ikko Tanaka, Kiyoshi Awazu and other leading figures in the postwar graphic design world at the top, Eiko Ishioka, Masuteru Aoba, Katsumi Asaba, Shin Matsunaga and other unique young people I was competing. Ryohei Kojima, as one of them, embodied the vibrant aspect of Japan in the form of graphics through advertising and promotion of large companies such as Isetan and Kikkoman, and art direction of leading magazines such as CI and "Mrs." It was.
Kojima seems to have learned a lot from Austrian-born Harvard buyers who also participated in the Bauhaus, but it is true that the design, which is a fusion of concise formability and rich colors based on a clear composition, is "color and shape. We will continue to pursue the creation of works that are simple, clear, and easy for anyone to see "(from Ginza Graphic Gallery WEB), supporting Kojima's idea. Kojima has worked on various jobs, but especially the posters on the theme of wild birds, animals, and nature, which were his life work, had a desire to convey his thoughts on the destruction of nature and wild animals with graphics instead of words. It can be said that it is the true value of Kojima design. We asked Mrs. Yoshiko and her son, Ryota, a graphic designer, about the current state of Kojima's works and design materials.



From "Home Book Encyclopedia, Volume 4, Medicine" (1968)
Isetan image poster (1973-)
"Wild Bird Society of Japan" Wild Bird Society of Japan (1985)
Toyota Automobile Museum CI Toyota Automobile Museum (1989)
BIOSPHERE Poster (1991)
"LIFE" poster Japan Institute of Design Promotion (1994)
KIKKOMAN Newspaper advertisement Kikkoman (1995)
"Shiro Kuramata Exhibition Catalog" Hara Museum (1996)
Cover of "Design News" Japan Institute of Design Promotion (1981-2002)
Uogashi Meisha Tea Ginza Logo Package Uogashi Meisha (2002)


Major awards

Nissenbi Exhibition Special Selection, Tokyo ADC Award (1965), Nissenbi Encouragement Award (1966),
Semi-Asahi Advertising Award (1972-) for 4 consecutive years),
Mainichi Advertising Design Award Special Selection / Japan Sign Design Award (1978) ),
Mainichi Advertising Design Award Best Award (1980, 1987),
Mainichi Advertising Design Award Color Advertising Award (1991, 1994),
Nikkei Advertising Award Excellence Award (1996) and many others


Major exhibitions

"K3 Exhibition" INAX Gallery / Tokyo (1980), "FLAG Exhibition" TDS Gallery / Tokyo (1982)
"BIOSHERE Exhibition" TDS Gallery / Tokyo (1991),
"TROPIA GRAFICA Exhibition" Ginza Graphic Gallery / Tokyo (1993)


Main books

"Graphic Designers of the World: Ryohei Kojima" Ginza Graphic Gallery (1999)
"Ryohei Kojima" Trans Art (1999),
"Visual Message Ryohei Kojima Design World" Guangxi Bijutsu Shuppansha / China (2000)



Interview 1

Interview 01: June 29, 2020 13: 00-14: 30
Location: The Westin Hotel
Interviewee: Yoshiko Kojima
Interviewer: Hiroko Kubota Yasuko Seki
Writing: Yasuko Seki



People who are good at balancing design and play

About the current status of design archives

 It has been 10 years since Ryohei Kojima passed away. First, please tell us about the current status of Mr. Kojima's works and materials.


Yoshiko Kojima The staff of the office for generations kept sketches, photographs, and prints as well as works, but since Kojima died and decided to live in an apartment house, I had to organize the stock, such as paper bags. Unfortunately, the three-dimensional object was disposed of.


 How did you decide what to keep and what to organize when you proceeded with the organization?


Kojima The final selection was done by my son (graphic designer, Ryota), so please ask for details. However, it seems that he asked an acquaintance photographer to take digital photographs in order to keep only the photographs as records.


 What kind of work does Mr. Kojima have?


Kojima Mainly posters, but sketches and interesting block copy are left. Musashino Art University has collected most of the posters. Other collections include the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art, the CCGA Contemporary Graphic Art Center of Dainippon Printing, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Rheinbolt Brown Gallery in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. There were many opportunities for exhibitions, and it seems that posters were often donated as they were after the exhibition was over.


 Mr. Kojima has been widely active in corporate image advertisements of Isetan and Kikkoman, visual design of Toyota Museum, architectural logo and sign design, art direction of "Mrs." and "High Fashion", but those works and materials how is?


Kojima I said that work related to advertising, logos, magazines, etc. is "designed with a client", so I think that I took a picture as a record and organized the actual thing.


 Mr. Ryota did about Mr. Kojima's archive.


Kojima My son worked with him as a staff member of Kojima Design Office, so it is a form of reorganizing what the staff from generation to generation left behind. It seems that my son was supporting Kojima who couldn't work on the PC, and after his death, he has taken over the office. I wasn't directly involved in Kojima's work, so I didn't know how much I could talk about today, so I brought it with reference to the office catalog.


 Thank you very much. So what is Kojima's archive that left a lasting impression on you?


Kojima I was very particular about the sketches and colors that I had drawn when I thought of it anytime, anywhere, so I wonder if it was a color sample, colored pencils, or a piece of colored paper purchased in a foreign country. It's also a notebook with a sketch of a trip.


 Do the sketches also include design ideas?


Kojima The travel notes are not directly related to work as my memory, but they are fun like a travel diary because they show the food, dining table, ingredients, buildings, and town of the destination. When I was traveling, I bought various items such as antiques and old toys with my own choice.


 I'm excited. In terms of collection, how about the collection?


Kojima There was a large collection of books, but I think I disposed of all the books that Kojima himself liked and had. A long time ago, there was a bookstore called Tokodo, and I came to door-to-door sales every month, and I bought a lot of books such as foreign magazines, foreign books, art books and photo books that were difficult to obtain at that time as well as magazine subscriptions. .. Unlike now, it wasn't a society where you could know anything on the net or SNS, so you probably got a lot of information from books.


 How about the tools that Mr. Kojima used?


Kojima Colored pencils, compasses, pencils, etc. are available. Since he was a person who cherishes things, he used to use uni habitually and used up the pencil until it became short, and finally stored it in a can.


 As a wife, what was the hardest part of the archive work?


Kojima I was a person who kept everything up to when I was a student, so there were many things, and there was no instruction on what to do with them, so it was really difficult to organize.


 What are you doing with them now?


Kojima It is stored in several places.



As a graphic designer


 Now, let's ask Mr. Ryota about the details of the archive, and I would like to ask about Mr. Kojima as a designer. I remember that the Kojima Design Office in Shirokanedai also operated a gallery.


Kojima Yes. There was an unused space on the first floor of my workplace, so I was exhibiting Kojima's works. Someone was interested in it, so I started to introduce other people's works.


 What kind of work did you handle?


Kojima The theme was the point of contact between design and art. Beginning with American artist VASA (an acrylic artist who is also collected in MOMA, New York), there will be fun exhibitions such as a tea room produced by Professor Ikko Tanaka, sculpture by Tsutomu Yasuda, and ceramic art by Fujiwo Ishimoto of Marimekko. I did a lot and learned a lot. At first, I started the gallery with the help of about two days a week, but it has been going on for 15 years.


 Was Mr. Kojima interested in crafting?


Kojima I agree. Not limited to crafts, I loved anything that suits my sensibility, such as architecture and contemporary art.


 What kind of designer was Mr. Kojima when you saw it from Mr. Yoshiko?


Kojima I was always thinking about design. He was very tough on the job, but he also loved sports and had a very good balance between design and play.


 Mr. Kojima's generation contributed to the further development of Japanese design as the next generation of Mr. Yusaku Kamekura and Mr. Ikko Tanaka.


Kojima There are many unique people in the same generation, such as Katsumi Asaba, Masuteru Aoba, Takahisa Kamijou, Keisuke Nagatomo, and Shin Matsunaga, and everyone has established their own style. Mr. Kamekura and Mr. Tanaka were so big in Kojima that he seemed to be wondering if he could hold a solo exhibition or put together a collection of works.


 I met Mr. Kojima at parties, etc., and he was always cheerful and kind enough to notice this. That's why my work was client-first.


Kojima I agree. It wasn't always client-first, but he always said that advertising and graphic design shouldn't end with self-assertion. On the other hand, the work of volunteers such as the Wild Bird Society of Japan was made with a design that reflected me.


 Because of that personality, I think he had many friends.


Kojima I had a lot of fun playing soccer, tennis, golf and traveling, so I had a lot of friends at each place. When I was young, there was a place where designers gathered and I went out almost every day. It seems that he had a good time meeting people from different industries, interior designers, photographers, sculptors, and architects.


 You were also close to Mr. Kuramata.


Kojima It seems that they met in the San-ai era and participated in a European tour together when they were young. When I consulted with Mr. Kuramata about home interiors and office furniture, he was willing to draw drawings. I still use them at home and in the office. Kojima also designed three collections of works by Mr. Kuramata.


 Thank you for today. I will continue to visit Mr. Ryota.



Interview 2

Interview: July 8, 2020 13: 30-15: 00
Location: Kojima Design Office
Interviewee: Ryota Kojima
Interviewer: Hiroko Kubota Yasuko Seki
Writing: Yasuko Seki



Difficult to entrust design archive decisions to the next generation

Select based on the "strength" of the design

 The other day, I heard from my mother (Mr. Yoshiko) about Ryohei Kojima's archive, but I would appreciate it if you could ask Mr. Ryota for details.


Ryota Kojima There were many posters in the work, and I think there were about 300 types in total. At least one is left, and about 10 masterpieces and works that I have a feeling for are basically left, and most of them are donated to the CCGA Contemporary Graphic Art Center of Dai Nippon Printing and the archive of Musashino Art University. did. I don't leave a list, but CCGA tends to have silk works, and Musashino Art University tends to have offset works. Many of the silk works are self-produced with a social message that was announced at exhibitions, and many of the offsets are commercials requested by clients.


 How about something other than a poster?


Kojima Since the packages and bags are bulky, I have left them in the photo instead of the actual ones. However, there are only a few things related to "Uogashi Meisha". For editorials, "High Fashion" and "SPACE MODULATOR" are the actual products, and the others are scrapped and stored as files. I had a large collection of books, but when I moved, I organized them based on what I wanted to keep and kept them in the warehouse and office.


 I heard that all the works were digitally photographed.


Kojima I asked the photographer not only for posters, but also for packages, bags, proofs, block copy, sketches, etc., and took about 3 months to shoot, and the total was about 4000 cuts.


 Are they listed and converted into data?


Kojima I haven't done anything in particular. If you have the catalog of the office that my mother gave me, I can get an idea.


 Did the staff of Kojima Design Office make a list of Mr. Kojima's work and works at that time?


Kojima Every year, I remember compiling a list for applying for ADC and JAGDA yearbooks, so if you look for it, it may be partially left. Kojima Design Office had a "work bag" in which everything such as sketches and prints was stored. When organizing them, I especially picked up hand-drawn sketches, sorted them as far as I could understand, and left them in a clear file.


 You can follow Mr. Kojima's design process from the hand-drawn sketches.


Kojima Many things are remembered from the sketch. When designing a poster, Kojima sometimes draws a freehand Atari line directly on full-scale Kent paper, or projects a photo or pattern of the material with a projector and adjusts the size while penciling on Kent paper stretched on the wall. The outline is copied in, and the appearance is impressive. The logotype and logo mark were drawn using a Rotring and a French curve. I was impressed with his concentration and daring.


 Ryota-san was working with him. That's why you might have a feeling for it, and wasn't it a difficult task to organize your work?


Kojima I agree. I have tried to keep it as much as possible, but due to storage space restrictions, it was a good time, so I narrowed it down to a certain extent.


 After all the hard work you have done so far, do you encourage the museum to donate?


Kojima I will not ask you from here. Even now, posters are requested to be exhibited in exhibitions, so I keep the main works in preparation for that time. Of course, I would like to donate all of them if I receive a consultation from somewhere. However, even if I can keep it in my generation, it is difficult to leave the judgment to the next generation.


 But I think Mr. Kojima's work is organized by his son, who is a designer.


Kojima Thank you very much. However, I think that the targets that will remain publicly as a design archive are those of a limited number of people, such as Yusaku Kamekura and Ikko Tanaka. As it stands, it will be difficult for many designers' works to be archived.


 I heard that it is currently stored in several places.


Kojima I keep poster works and parts of my collection, sketches, collections, photographs, etc. in two places, and the others in my office.


 It is stored in 3 places, isn't it? In fact, it's really hard to save the actual thing. After all, is it the only way to take a digital picture and leave it as a photo?


Kojima I think the photos are simply good records. However, the real thing is pen pressure, rewriting, etc., and the designer's head remains as a trace, so it is fun to imagine various things from there. Kojima was just making an original sketchbook, so he was very particular about writing ideas and memos. There are pieces of tracing paper ideas everywhere in the sketchbook, and I am inspired by the sketches that understand the design process rather than the work, and I feel the value of leaving them. It would be nice if there was a place where such things were collected in one place and saved as an archive.


 When you look at the actual product, you can feel the pressure of Mr. Kojima. Also, the thumbnail size is as small as 5 cm square.


Kojima The sketch was written in 2B of Pencil Uni. For sketches, I just write down what I came up with and what I twisted. Anyway, I drew the amount, tried and errored, examined whether there was a similar design, and when it was solidified to a certain extent, I made a clean copy on a PC ... and completed the design by repeating the process.




Original sketchbook cover



What I learned from the designer's father

 Ryota himself is a graphic designer, and what do you think about the work and work of his father, Ryohei Kojima?


Kojima Kojima's commitment to design is first about how people who see the design can feel the "meaning", and then whether the thoughts put into the design have "strength". Was important. I was finally able to hear this story just before he died, but when asked, "What do you think most important when designing?", "Strength" ... It is by no means superficial and self-centered, but I take it as the meaning of the "strength" of the content of the design, which is explored from discussions with the other party and formed together through the design process.


 Was that also the standard for organizing?


Kojima In the organizing work, I took a bird's-eye view of all of Kojima's works, and left behind what I felt the "strength" of. I worked with Kojima Design Office for about eight years, but I didn't discuss these essential things until just before my death. I had only one staff member at the office, so I didn't have a chance to ask.


 How was Ryota's childhood?


Kojima My dad seems to have been drinking around Roppongi's Balcon until midnight after work, and I have little memory of playing with him. Even when I went out together once in a while, I was playing soccer and tennis with my friends, and I was playing alone. However, I remember having fun skiing together.


 Why did you decide to become a designer?


Kojima When I was in elementary school, when I went to the office during the summer vacation, I used to draw lines on Kent paper with Rotring. Then my dad came and showed me the design process, and after being interesting, I think I was naturally attracted to the work of graphic design. However, my mother thought that my father was enough for the family, and it seemed that I was against going this way.


 Wasn't it difficult for parents and children to work in the same office?


Kojima I never thought so. The division of work was clear. Because when I entered this world, computers were already the mainstream, but Kojima couldn't be used, so I proceeded with the process of importing handwritten sketches into the computer and finishing it in cooperation with other staff. Was there.


 How did Ryota see Kojima as a designer?


Kojima I respected him as a designer. He valued communication with clients, was always thinking about ways to communicate with others in an easy-to-understand manner, and was a person who spared no effort, such as reading books of various genres and gaining knowledge. I always try to stand on the side of the client, for example, stand on the other person's field with just one word and replace it with something that the other person can easily understand.


 What did you learn from such a father?


Kojima I think that "designing" is the work of accurately grasping the wishes and desires of the other party, cultivating them within yourself, and expressing them as forms. Tell me that the process and way of thinking are the essence of design. I feel like I got it.


 What about the designs that Mr. Kojima was influenced by?


Kojima In 1965, Kojima's work "MONTHLY REPORT Body Science", which won the special prize of Nisshinmi, was fascinated by Harvard buyer's "World Geo-graphic Atlas" from Bauhaus, and was designed based on it. I heard that. The subsequent "Encyclopedia of Home Books" is also a work under the influence of buyers, and if you compare them, you can clearly see that they have learned a lot from the buyer's composition and color scheme. Kojima used to cover and cherish this book as the starting point of his design, but it is a great stimulus for me to know these facts through the organizing work.


 I've been curious about this, what is this sketchbook?


Kojima Perhaps he was freed from everyday life and was interested in it. Kojima always brought a sketchbook with him on his trip and had the most food, but what he saw and what he was interested in, such as Alva Aart. I sketched the architecture, my favorite interior, and pasted museum tickets, shop cards, and pressed flowers of plants. Looking at this, I can see that the fact that it is a sketch rather than a photograph is like a father, and that he is a person whose hands can move freely. There are about 20 such travel diaries, and I also refer to them when I go abroad.



小島良平スケッチブック 小島良平スケッチブック

A sketchbook that notes various scenes of the trip and things that were



 Speaking of Mr. Kojima, the poster of the "Wild Bird Society of Japan" that was produced by volunteers is impressive, but I feel that the number of designers doing such activities has decreased recently.


Kojima Behind this, I think there are various requirements such as the aging of craftsmen involved in printing, the situation where production costs cannot be paid, the number of places for presentations such as exhibitions to decrease, and the development of digital technologies such as inkjet.


 The 70's and 80's when Mr. Kojima was active was also a time when there was still a lot of Japanese design nobishiro.


Kojima At that time, it was natural to stay up all night and I was very busy, but I feel that I was able to spend enough time designing from idea generation to presentation compared to the present. I think it was difficult to work because most of them are hand-painted rather than digital, but I had the time and mental leeway to come up with many ideas and consider them. Nowadays, the time it takes to design is shortened because it can be done in a short time with a computer. There is less time to think and elaborate, and the world has become less valuable at such times. We also have to work harder to communicate with the other person.


 Finally, I heard that Mr. Kuramata's furniture is still being taken over.


Kojima Kojima seems to have been close to Mr. Kuramata. I've only met a few times. At my home where I used to live, Mr. Kuramata designed the furniture, and I still use those furniture carefully. I still use the furniture from Kojima Design Office designed by Mr. Kuramata. I will continue to use Mr. Kuramata's furniture carefully.


 Thank you for your time today. I was able to touch on the origin of Kojima design and hear a valuable story.




Ryohei Kojima's archive


Kojima Design


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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