Kamekura, Yusaku: YUSAKU KAMEKURA: HIS WORKS. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, 1971. An Inscribed copy in Slipcase.

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Yusaku Kamekura, Herbert Bayer [introduction]

Yusaku Kamekura, Herbert Bayer [introduction]: YUSAKU KAMEKURA: HIS WORKS. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, 1971. First edition. Square quarto. Text in Japanese [Bayer’s intro in English and Japanese]. Printed blue papered boards over stamped black fabric binding. Black endpapers.  200 pp. 238 black and white reproductions. 123 color images. INSCRIBED by Kamekura on half-title page. Boards lightly scuffed and a couple of random spots to textblock. Slipcase worn along edges, mildling scuffed and sunned to spine. A nearly fine copy in a very good or better example of the Publishers Slipcase.

10.5 x 10 hardcover book with 200 pages and 238 examples [123 in color] of Kamekura's  modern graphic design. Foreword by Herbert Bayer and an essay by design critic Masaru Katsumi. The first monograph devoted to "the Father of Japanese Graphic Design"  covers two decades of his best work in the fields of posters, marks, packaging, book and magazine covers, neon signs and miscellaneous graphics.

Kamekura's own frank comments on the illustrations reveal insights into his design philosophy, working methods, and personality.

Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997) was one of the pioneers of Japanese graphic design who was at the forefront in promoting graphic design as an essential factor of modern society, culture and art, and whose achievements helped to establish the reputation of Japanese graphic design internationally. His designs included a wide diversity of projects such as logos, packages, books, and page layout, but some of his most memorable achievements were in posters, many of which can be seen in this book.

The symbol and poster designs for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were Kamekura’s best-known work. The Tokyo Olympic symbol is a powerful, concise design, while the posters capture the dynamism of athletes. The poster design also incorporated photos, marking the first time that a photograph was used in an Olympic poster. Kamekura's other well-known poster designs include Hiroshima Appeals, a poetic image of falling, burning butterflies; Expo '70 in Osaka; and a series entitled, I’m Here.

Aesthetically, Kamekura’s style is characterised by powerful, clear-cut designs using abstract forms, planes, and lines, as well as photography. With colour, Kamekura favoured bright, mixed hues and only rarely used primary colours. His skilful use of black in the background, for the image or the title, gave his work strength and tranquility.

After his death in 1997, Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA) honoured Kamekura in 1999 with a design award in his name, recognising him as a key leader of JAGDA and for his "profound influence on design both at home and abroad." The Yusaku Kamekura Design Award is offered to a Japanese or international designer "producing the most outstanding work of the year, regardless of age or career."