The 16th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award KASAI Kaoru

Award-winning design: Works created for art museum’s anniversary celebration “The 60th anniversary of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo” (cl: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)

Message from the awardee

The first graphic designer whose name I came to know was Yusaku Kamekura. One day, as a second-year student in junior high, I saw two Tokyo Olympics posters hanging in our school gymnasium. I remember it all very clearly, even today. The one to the left of the stage was a poster based on the Japanese flag; the one to the right had a photo showing runners starting a sprint race. From that day on, the old gym took on a completely different atmosphere that somehow made me feel like I was in a foreign country. The excitement I felt that day was the first thing that led to what I now do for a living. When I met Mr. Kamekura several decades later, I was able to tell him all about it.
It’s the only occasion I ever had to speak with him. Mr. Kamekura designed the very first “HIROSHIMA APPEALS” poster. When I was picked to create the 16th poster in the series, I was very nervous and struggled a great deal. “What was I capable of doing?” I asked myself. “And what, for that matter, is a poster capable of doing?” Before too long, as I continued to stare at the blank sheet of paper before me, the white page began to suggest the dazzling brightness of a sunny day in summer – at which point my brush just began moving and wouldn’t stop. Summer at its height always passed so quickly to me, and yet summers were always filled with so many unforgettable memories. Blue skies are sometimes tinged with sadness: the faces of people I’ve known – this one, that one – come to mind. The person in my poster represents somebody, but it’s also me. Thinking about it now, it seems that having been able to forget about my job and return to myself this way enabled me to confront the topic of Hiroshima.
There could be no greater happiness for me than if my winning of this award were to contribute, even a little, to peace.

Kaoru Kasai

Kaoru Kasai

Kaoru Kasai was born in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in 1949. After initially working at Bunka Printing Co., Ltd. (1968-1970) and then Ohtani Design (1970-1973), he has been employed at SUN-AD Company Limited since 1973. His creative activities span a broad spectrum, including: long-term production of advertising for Suntory Oolong Tea (1983 to date), United Arrows (1997 to date), etc.; CI, spatial planning, package design, etc. for Toraya Confectionery; CI and signage planning for Suntory, Suntory Museum of Art and Roppongi Commerce Association; cinema and theater advertising art; book design; etc. Among the awards he has received to date are the Tokyo ADC Grand Prix, Mainichi Design Award, Asahi Advertising Award, Kodansha Publishing Culture Award for Book Design, and the Ayao Yamana Award at the Japan Advertising Awards. In 2010 he published a catalog of his works titled KASAI Kaoru 1968 (Art Design Publishing). Mr. Kasai is a member of JAGDA, Tokyo ADC, Tokyo TDC and AGI.
(as of January 2014)

Book containing the design: Graphic Design in Japan 2014