The 364th Ginza Graphic Gallery Exhibition Kouga Hirano and Shobunsha
January 22, 2018 - March 17, 2018
For roughly three decades between 1964 and1992, Kouga Hirano was in sole charge of the covers on books published by Shobunsha. Indeed, it is a rare feat a single designer to handle all a publisher's output. Shobunsha was the standard-bearer of the counterculture days, and Hirano's unique style blew a breath of fresh air through the publishing establishment.
Here, some 600 of the more than 7,000 titles Hirano Produced over nearly half a century are on display, focusing mainly on his work with Shobunsha.
There will also be around 80 works printed on Japanese washi paper on display, including distinctive decorative hand written letters; works freshly returned from an incredibly popular exhibition in Taiwan this spring, and many of his theater and concert posters and flyers that have been retouched by Hirano himself, some even with added notes.
Visitors are able to take the book covers in hand-just as if they were in a secondhand bookstore - to see and feel the close bond between books, publishing, cover designers, and the times.
DNP Ginza Building 1F/B1
7-2, Ginza 7-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
TEL: 03-3571-5206 / FAX: 03-3289-1389
Open hours: 11:00am - 7:00pm
* To hold a closing event on March 17th, Gallery B1F will close at 2:00 pm. Gallery 1F and 2F graphic archive libraries are open until 7: 00pm as usual.
Closed on Sundays and holydays / Admission free
Shobunsha, Awagami Factory, Sono Fune ni Notte (On the Boat)
Date: January 22, 2018 (Mon.) 4: 00 –5: 30pm
Speaker: Kouga Hirano + Kaitaro Tsuno
Venue: 3F, DNP Ginza Building
Admission free, Reservation required, 70 seats available
* The registration is closed because of full reservation.
Date: January 22, 2018 (Mon.) 5: 30 –7: 00pm
Venue: ginza graphic gallery / 2F, DNP Ginza Building
Book cover artist, graphic designer.
1938: Born in Keijo, Korea(now Seoul),where his father was posted on business.
1957: Entered Musashino Art School, forerunner to today's Musashino Art University. While still a student in 1960, Hirano was awarded a special prize for his work on Kenzaburo Oe's Leap Before You Look by the Japan advertising Artists Club, then considered a gateway to success for graphic designers. After graduation, he joined Takashimaya Department Store's advertising department, and later went freelance as a graphic designer.
For nearly 30 years between 1964 and 1992, Hirano served as the solo cover designer for Shobunsha. This led to work from other clients, and Hirano's distinctive "decorative text" and dynamic designs graced the covers of some 7,000 books.
In the mid-1960s, Hirano began participating in theater along with Kaitaro Tsuno, his esteemed friend and also an editor at Shobunsha.
Give his talents, he was drafted to make posters, flyers, and even stage decorations for troupes such as Rokugatsu Gekijo and the Black Tent Theatre.
1973: Hirano was appointed art director of Wonderland magazine, edited by Jinichi Uekusa, and his vibrant page designs become the stuff of legend.
1978: Hirano joined Suigyu Gakudan, a band formed by Yuji Takahashi et al, and joined the staff of Suigyu Tsushin, a newsletter reporting on Asian popular culture, finding new outlets for his creativity. The influence of these activities can still be seen in Hirano’s works today.
2005-2013: Hirano opened Theatre Iwato, a small theater in Iwato-cho in Tokyo's Kagurazaka district.
2014: Hirano relocated to Shodo Island in Kagawa Prefecture.