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Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Hiroshi Kojitani

Graphic designer


Interview: September 27, 2019 14: 00-16: 30
Location: Try Plus
Interviewee: Hiroshi Kojitani
Interviewer: Yasuko Seki, Aya Urakawa
Writing: Aya Urakawa



Hiroshi Kojitani

Graphic designer
1937 Born in Nara Prefecture
1957-1959 Worked for Yoshio Hayakawa Design Office
1959-1966 Worked at Ginza / Matsuya Advertising Department
1967-1970-Delpille Studio, Paris, France
1972 Established and presided over Kojitani / Irie Design Room
1993 Established Kay Plus, presided over

Awards: Japan Advertising Art Association Encouragement Award, Japan Sign Design Award Gold Award, Minister of International Trade and Industry (current Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) Award, Asahi Advertising Award, Mainichi Design Award, Advertising Dentsu Award, etc. He also received the title of Chevalier, a knight of wine from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, the Honorable Sommelier of the Japan Sommelier Association, and the French Government's Order of Achievement in Agriculture for Chevalier. Received the Tea Ceremony Culture Promotion Award.

麹谷 宏



Hiroshi Kojitani was one of the people who saw the upheaval of the Japanese design world from the 1950's to the 70's and experienced it. Graphic design was led by the Kansai group until the 1950s, but with the 1960 World Design Conference, the mainstream shifted from Kansai to Tokyo. After the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and the World Exposition in 1970 (Osaka Expo), graphic design in Japan has blossomed through exchanges with foreign countries.
Among them, Kojitani studied with masters such as Yoshio Hayakawa, Ikko Tanaka, and Hideo Mukai, and honed his skills at Matsuya Ginza in Tokyo and a design office in Paris. After independence, he developed a variety of designs that opened a new era. From friendship with Tanaka Kazumitsu, Seiji Tsutsumi and Kazuko Koike participated as the founding members of MUJI, and developed a logo design and ethical and simple package design, considering a product concept that proposes a new lifestyle.
On the other hand, while living in Paris, he waked up to the taste of wine, spread Beaujolais Nouveau to Japan, and established the NPO "Japanese Wine Lovers' Association". We talked to Kojitani, who works extensively, about the valuable story of the design world at the time, the secret story of the birth of MUJI, the episode with Ikko Tanaka, and his archive.




Ryohin Keikaku (1980-)
Theatrical company four seasons (1984-)



"Agricultural Cooperative Milk" National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (1972)
"Salmon Boiled" Ryohin Keikaku (1980)
"Koshin Shiitake Mushroom" Ryohin Keikaku (1980)


Photo album

"Cats" Theatrical Company Shiki (1984)

麹谷 宏作品



It is important to leave an archive

Encounter with Tanaka Ikko

 What prompted you to become a designer in the first place?


Kojitani Originally, I didn't aim to be a designer, but my parents still ran the Kojitani photo studio in the Kintetsu Nara Ekimae shopping street, so I thought it would be the eldest son so I thought he would succeed. Was.
I was born in Nara in 1937, before the war. I entered local junior high school in 1950, after the war. I couldn't fit my science education and high school entered high school, but when I entered, my classmates were astonished by geniuses and talents from all over Nara prefecture. The only fun I enjoyed in school was the Cultural Festival, where I was good at planning events and gathering people to conduct drama stages and music concerts.
I'm just scolded by my teacher. I thought it was useless in the middle of my first year in high school, and when I asked my father, "I don't want to go to school," she said, "If you don't want to go that much, you don't have to go." I guess my father thought he could succeed the photo studio in the future. He taught me an art school called Osaka Municipal Craft High School in Osaka. In a time when the word design was not yet available, I chose the design department. I was scolded no matter what I did at Nara's school, but at this art school in Osaka, I was praised for doing something different from others, and the world was completely changed. When I woke up to design. While I was having such a fun day, I heard from a few of my classmates that Nara had a genius called "Ikko Tanaka", which made me feel proud.


 Did you come to the design path while attending the art school?


Kojitani No, I still wanted to take over the family business after graduating from school. However, one time, a teacher from the design department told me, "Why don't you just recruit an assistant at Mr. Yoshio Hayakawa's office?" In the graphic design world, Dr. Hayakawa is like a god and is a senior at my alma mater, Osaka Municipal Crafts High School. When I talked to my father, I was told, "I don't have such a good story, so it's good to just meet him." I took the exam and passed it safely, and I decided to work at Dr. Hayakawa's office.
It was about three months after I entered. A somber dark blue business suit, a person like an insurance diplomat holding a furoshiki comes to the office and says, "Hayakawa, are you there?" He said, "Okay," and he returned. When I told my senior, "I just got a insurance agent," I was surprised to say, "I don't know, you're an idiot? That person, Ikko Tanaka-san."
When Hayakawa returned to the office, the senior immediately laughed, telling me that I had mistaken Ikko for insurance agents. Professor Hayakawa immediately called Ikko and talked about it. Oh, I thought that if I missed Mr. Ikko, my design life was almost gone. When I dropped my shoulders, Ikko came back to the office that evening and laughed at my face, saying, "Is this a child?" For some reason Ikko was interested in me, saying, "Let's go back to Nara," and decided to drink at the store on the way home. I was so nervous that I didn't remember what I said at the time. Then Ikko-san did a lot of things. Since he was seven above, he was a teacher and a brother.


 Many of Ikko and Kojitani are from Nara, Hayakawa is from Osaka, and graphic designers are from Kansai.


Kojitani In the 50's, the Kansai group led the Japanese graphic design world in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In addition to Toru Sawamura, Yoshio Hayakawa, and Ryuichi Yamashiro, Toshihiro Katayama, Tsunehisa Kimura, Ikko Tanaka, and Kazumasa Nagai were called young Shitenno. The World Design Conference held in Tokyo in 1960 was a major epoch of the Japanese design world. This triggered the movement of Kansai designers to Tokyo, and the center of design moved from Kansai to Tokyo. Ikko came to Tokyo in 1958, and I followed him in 1959.


Design activities in Tokyo and Paris


 Did you become independent after you came to Tokyo?


Kojitani No, I first joined Matsuya Ginza. Hayakawa-sensei introduced me to Yusaku Kamekura to go to Tokyo, and Professor Kamekura introduced me to Matsuya Ginza where Hideo Mukai was located. Mukai-sensei is the first person in Japan to work as an art director who oversees and directs graphics, photography, copying, and video. While in the advertising department of Sapporo Beer, I was working in the art direction. His work gradually gained recognition at the Tokyo Art Directors Club (ADC), and Dr. Mukai was drawn to light publicity, establishing the genre of authentic art direction.


 At that time, department stores were a longing profession for designers.


Kojitani Matsuya Ginza was requisitioned after the war and became a department store for the occupation forces, and after returning it, the Western atmosphere remained, handling a large number of overseas modern and stylish design products. When I joined the company, the Good Design Corner was founded, selling Scandinavian furniture and gaining a reputation. Takashimaya had an excellent sense of window display, and the design of newspaper advertisements and posters was directed by Dr. Yamashiro.
There were no full-page advertisements in newspapers at that time, and Matsuya Ginza had the opportunity to produce 10-stage advertisements about once or twice a month, and at that time I was so excited that I could not sleep at night. Newspaper advertising at that time was one of the few places where the design culture was announced to society, and gradually received the Asahi Advertising Award, the Advertising Dentsu Award, and the Mainichi Design Award, and the types of awards increased. In addition, I made a variety of things, such as hanging inside trains, posters attached to stations, and DMs. There was a lot of work that needed design, so I was just absorbed in the design, just returning to my apartment to change clothes.


 After that, what made you decide to go to Paris?


Kojitani Around the sixth year, I was interested in seeing the world's designs and attended the Aspen International Design Conference in Colorado, USA. Even after returning to Japan, I did not return to Matsuya Ginza, I was staying at Mr. Ikko for a while, but it was quite difficult for me to go to work, so Ikko was not able to see, and I could not see Mr. Ikko's design work in Paris He introduced the place. After that, an acquaintance introduced me to the Delpille office, and I did a lot of work for major companies such as Citroen, Plisnic, and BNP Bank. I have been in Paris for about four years.


 Have you ever worked and learned in Paris?


Kojitani I had a strong culture shock, learning. Europe is a huge crucible with a mixture of different races, different languages, and different cultures. The atmosphere created by the soil was very interesting, but my job of graphic design and communication design, which I had to assert myself, was a daily sweat and cold sweat. At this time, general demonstrations spread throughout France from student demonstrations at the University of Paris, and the victory and departure of De Gaulle, which was said to be the May Revolution, and during the turbulent period of world culture such as the landing of the supersonic airliner Concorde and Apollo 11 on the moon. So in the heart of Europe, Paris, you learned how important international sensibilities and senses are.


 When did you return?


Kojitani He returned to Japan in 1970, when the Osaka Expo (Japan Expo) was held. Ikko wanted to help create the official guidebook for the Osaka Expo and decided to return to Japan. When I returned home, I was surprised. The world's design information is gathered in Tokyo, not in New York, Paris, London, or Milan, and if I want to keep working on graphic design in the future, I think this should be in Tokyo. He returned to Paris soon afterwards, left the Delpille office, returned to Tokyo after cleaning up his life in Paris.
At first I was living with Mr. Ikko, but after a while I rented a room in an apartment in Minamihiradai in Shibuya and started working freelance. The one who came to help me at that time was Kensuke Irie. I was a junior of Matsuya Ginza and had been friends since then. Ikko says that it is better to have a decent company, and Irie-kun wants to quit Matsuya Ginza and work with me, so I established a company with the name Kojitani-Irie Design Office. did. That was in 1972.


"Agricultural Cooperative Milk", "MUJI", Work of the Shiki Theater Company


 One of the most well-known work after independence is the package design of “Agricultural Cooperative Milk”.


Kojitani Shortly after returning to Japan, the agricultural cooperative (National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives) decided to enter the milk market and was asked to work on package design. So I drank again the milk of all the Japanese manufacturers and wondered why it was not so delicious compared to the milk of France. Investigation shows that cows are lean and low in summer, fat is high in winter and fat is high in winter, but in Japan, the value of low fat in summer is legally regulated so that it is the same yearly It was because it was adjusted to.
We suggested that we should deliver the original, delicious taste that was strange and natural, so we decided to make milk with no fat adjustment. The package design was so gorgeous that the other company's package, so I was asked to do a more flashy and gorgeous French-style design. However, I argued for a simple design that it was better to imagine nature that smells of soil and grass. I think it was difficult, but I also had stomach ache.
And the product name is straightball, emphasizing the funky “Agricultural Cooperative Milk”. Also, at that time, there was no message other than the product name on the package, but I put two words, "Natural is delicious" and "No ingredient adjustment". This product was released in 1972 and has been a long seller for more than half a century. From now on, I think it was a job that was rooted in the spirit that led to MUJI later, in terms of establishing product concepts, eliminating waste, and organizing information into graphics.


 It seems that MUJI was created mainly by Kazumitsu Tanaka, Kazuko Koike, and Mr. Kojitani. What was the first trigger?


Kojitani At one point, I talked to Ikko and I about the planning of the magazine, and Koike was involved in it, and I think the sponsor was Seiyu, where Seiji Tsutsumi was the president at the time. The story eventually disappeared, but I had so many editorial themes and article ideas that I often met with four people. At that time, the licensing business of overseas brands flourished in the late 70's and early 80's, and brand logos could be attached to anything, and the presence of a logo added value, but the price was not necessarily good It was an era of getting higher. From the story of dissatisfaction and criticism in the Bubbly era, a brand-less, no-brand philosophy was born, and the basics were returned to the basics, such as simplifying the materials and eliminating or reviewing the waste of manufacturing and packaging. The concept that is good was born.
And from that point of view, when I looked into the background of things I had been wondering about, I came up with a lot of things that I couldn't afford. For example, Mr. Tsutsumi seems to have been wondering if Shiitake mushrooms of the year-end gift and Nakamoto are beautifully packed in the same size. Upon examination, it seems that only beautiful things are sorted and packed, and those that are missing or broken are discarded. Shiitake mushrooms are chopped and used for cooking, so there is no need to be well-formed, and even if the shape is broken, the taste does not change. Products that continue to be produced without questioning the values ​​of the times when it was deemed good to have such appearances came out one after another.


 I remember selling ragged shiitake mushrooms at first. The MUJI project involved everything from your philosophy, not just product design.


Kojitani That was the most important point. Being a good product, even though it was unbranded, was the same stance that Agricultural Co-operative Milk claimed that nature was delicious. It is a design before the design. Then it's not just a designer's job anymore. what do you want. This led to the launch of a project from a chance meeting, and product creation began in earnest. By chance, Mr. Tsutsumi, a businessman, was at the table, so we realized that this was something that we, designers alone, couldn't do with the bitches of the era.


 How was the naming of MUJI decided?


Kojitani "Muji" was decided immediately, and the word that followed was "Good", but it was difficult to decide because it would be a multi-box reading. But in the end, it was decided that the language was good and the concept was easy to understand at a glance. Regarding the design of the logo, we originally thought that the logo was useless because this product had the philosophy and spirit of the anti-brand logo, but when we first designed the poster to announce the product, it was still MUJI I thought that a logo for product announcement was necessary, so I thought that the most neutral newspaper type was good, and I told Mr. Ikko about Gothic characters, and they agreed with it. At first, I used the type of the newspaper as it was, but after that Ichimitsu-san tried to sort it out, and straight lines were straightened, and those facing diagonally down were straightened. So I think the logo design credit is the name of the art director, Ikko.
Then, as in the case of "Agricultural Cooperative Milk", we suggested that the reason for the product be good in the package. In addition, we decided to make the contents visible from the outside as much as possible, do not over-design, and do not use extra packaging.


 What was the logo design fee, etc.? When I asked other people, he had never seen a contract.


Kojitani I have not received any design fees. During the chat, a plan is created to try and do this, so there is no orderer. I thought it would be nice if there were such a logo, and made it without permission. About 10 years later, the board was formed, and the first member became an advisor. I left MUJI's job about 10 years ago when I retired.


 I would like to ask about another representative work of Mr. Kojitani, a poster from the Shiki Theater Company. What made you start working?


Kojitani Cats was premiered in Japan in 1983 and was a great success, and the following year, the first anniversary commemorative photo book was produced, and the art direction was assigned. He looked down on the stage from a high place, photographed only stage equipment with no people at all, and worked out various ideas. The result was very popular, and it was liked by Keita Asari, the founder of Theatrical Company Shiki, and I started to work on advertising and posters. However, even if I issued 10 or 20 design proposals, it was difficult to get OK. In Lion King, the rules on the Disney side were very detailed, so it was hard and hard.


Efforts to archive Hideo Mukai


 I would like to ask about the design archive. Many graphic designers want to donate them to universities and museums for posterity, but how about Mr. Kojitani?


Kojitani When I started working on design, I had been working on my work for a while, but I had no intention of doing anything later. Those that were widely introduced during that era will be published in design yearbooks, etc., so I think that's enough. Because, for a long time, I have worked on advertising and received awards, and there are things that I think I could do well, but the times are going on and on. Looking back, I feel like old events, old memories, old times. Regarding my work, I wonder what it means to leave it. Where have you put those things in place? When opening an exhibition, I want to show something new, not something in the past.


 In the work of the Shiki Theater Company, you said that you had drafted 10 or 20 plans, but did you discard the plan?


Kojitani If you think about it from now on, it might have been interesting if you took it. Mr. Ikko and Makoto Wada were the types that were kept properly. Moreover, at that time, it suddenly comes out. I have no interest in passing about myself. Of course, it's important to preserve the design archive. The Japan Advertising Art Association was dissolved in 1970 due to the student movement, and after that, a professional organization was also needed. Founded the Designers Association. "JAGDA" is the name I proposed and decided. At that time, I proposed that the archives be preserved, but that didn't work either.


 How will your own archives be done in the future?


Kojitani You don't need my archives for any reason. I think there are more people who should do that. What surprised me was that there was nowhere to accept the work of Mr. Mukai, the leading art director in Japan. Dr. Mukai, who established the art direction world in Japanese advertising design, thought that he had to preserve the archives, and I went to museums and universities from scratch. Most of the archives were owned by the bereaved family and Light Publicity, but if this was the case, newspaper advertisements and other papers would have damaged the paper and felt the danger of work being lost. But they all showed reluctance. At one point, Kiyoshi Awazu introduced the new Kawasaki City Museum. For the first time, I met the director and heard that the management and maintenance of such archives was enormous. It also costs a lot of money to save a single newspaper ad. However, Dr. Mukai was so special that he accepted the archive. It was only a work, but I really wanted you to pick it up. We hope that exhibitions and workshops will be held based on the archives.


 Ms. Mukai's archives were collected by Mr. Kojitani, and they went to the recipient. I've heard for the first time that a designer has worked hard to accept a designer archive.


Kojitani I'm my benefactor and teacher. Muko-sensei's work is an important advertising cultural heritage of the times.


 As with design, Mr. Kojitani seems to be working vigorously as part of his creative activities, such as making glass works and wine and tea.


Kojitani Since 1995, we have begun making glass works with up-cycled waste wine bottles. The Okinawa Summit has produced a glass decanter for the head of supper party. In 1998, he established and presided over the Rokushikai, a group of men's tea, and has been working to propose new pleasures to tea ceremony. Although I retired from graphic design in 2009, I continue to make glass works and hold solo exhibitions.
The work of glass, in short, is love for wine. I first met the taste of wine in Paris. I thought it would be cute to throw away the wine bottle after drinking, so I thought about reusing it to make a new work. I told everyone that it was interesting and that was enough. I don't even think of making glass works as archives for posterity.
Anyway, every day I play with myself to see if there is something different or interesting. For the sake of convenience, my title is still a graphic designer, but now I'm just a playful person, and I'm living a stress-free and very happy day.


 I am looking forward to future new works. Thank you for today.




The location of Hiroshi Kojitani's archive

Contact information


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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