The 2nd Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Kazumasa Nagai

Award-winning work: Posters for solo exhibition “Life”

Message from the awardee

When it evolved that my work was included among the three finalists in the last round of screening for the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, I absented myself from the judging venue. I exited the room and plopped myself down on a chair in the corridor, to await the results in solitude. Time seemed to pass eternally slowly, and a profusion of complex feelings crossed my mind. This was to be the 2nd award and, as Ikko Tanaka had said when he received the 1st award last year, I hoped that the honor would be received by a young designer with a long future ahead in which to explore artistic possibilities. It was for that reason that starting from this year’s award, it had been decided that each designer would be eligible to submit only one work (or series) for consideration, as a way of opening the door to many designers, young and otherwise. Nominess for the award would be selected from among the numerous works submitted for inclusion in Graphic Design in Japan, and the work judged to be most brilliant would be given the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award.
On one hand I felt that just making the finals should be sufficient reward in itself. Yet at the same time I had the desire to win this prize, a monument to Yusaku Kamekura, a man for whom I have always had utmost respect as both an artist and as a human being.
When the judging was finally over, I was called back into the room. I was informed that I had been selected for the award, although the judging had been very close. On reflection, I called to mind how Mr. Kamekura had started Creation, his design magazine of global scale, at an age even surpassing my own. And as I pondered this and other facts, I came to feel that in winning this award I had received a very large gift–of courage–from Mr. Kamekura.

Kazumasa Nagai

Kazumasa Nagai

Born in Osaka Prefecture, 1929. In 1951, withdrew from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. After a brief tenure at Daiwabo, in 1960 participated in founding Nippon Design Center, an organization in which he now serves as executive vice president. Since 1994, he has also served as president of JAGDA. In the summers of 1998 and 1999, he held his one-man “LIFE” poster exhibitions at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the International Design Center NAGOYA. Prizes received to date include the ADC Grand Prize, Mainichi Art Award, “Recommended Artist’s Award” from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Medals of Honor from the Japanese Government, Grand Prizes at international poster competitions in Brno and Moscow, and many others.
(As of June 2000)

Book containing the design: Graphic Design in Japan 2000