Exhibition information

The 306th Exhibition DNP Graphic Design Archives Collection IV -The 10th Memorial to Ikko Tanaka- Ikko Tanaka Posters 1980–2002

January 13, 2012 - February 25, 2012

poster design: kazumasa nagai
poster design: kazumasa nagai
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The year 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of Ikko Tanakafs passing, who is one of the greatest Japanese graphic designers in its history. Ginza Graphic Gallery will bring about the exhibition gDNP Graphic Design Archives Collection IV: Ikko Tanaka Posters 1980-2002h.
In January 2010, on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of Mr. Tanakafs demise, a grand retrospective was held of works gleaned from the gIkko Tanaka Archivesh established in 2008, with a focus on those created between 1953 and 1979. Specifically, the exhibition showed 161 posters from Mr. Tanakafs early to middle periods.
For this second exhibition, 150 of Mr. Tanakafs representative works have again been selected, this time concentrating on his later period spanning from 1980 through 2002. Within Mr. Tanakafs remarkable legacy, his achievements as a poster artist merit special notice. In particular it was during his later years that Mr. Tanaka established an unshakable reputation as one of the worldfs foremost poster designers.
It was during this period that Mr. Tanaka produced a wealth of his very finest posters – gNihon Buyoh, for instance, that drew enthusiastic encomiums. Even in his later years, through to the very end, he fully retained his creative freshness and acute sensibility. This exhibition of Mr. Tanakafs greatest works from this period will surely serve as an occasion for making new encounters with the timeless appeal of this eminent and unparalleled artist.


ginza graphic gallery (ggg)
DNP Ginza Building, 7-7-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel. 03 3571 5206
11:00am-7:00pm (until 6:00pm on Saturdays)
Closed on Sundays and holidays
Free admission

Gallery Talks

-Thursday, 26 January 6:30-8:00pm
Hiroshi Ito (GROOVISIONS) x Kenjiro Sano

-Thursday, 16 February 6:30-8:00pm *The date has been changed.
Kazuko Koike x Kenya Hara

Venue: 3F, DNP Ginza Building
Free admission, Reservations required, Seating for 70
*Booking starts from the new year on this Japanese website.
*Please note that the dates may change. Please check back this site regularly or/and when you book.


Born in Nara City in 1930. Majored in design at the Kyoto City College of Arts (now the Kyoto City University of Arts), graduating in 1950. After working as a textile designer at Kanegafuchi Spinning Co., Ltd. (now Kanebo), Tanaka became involved in graphic design at the Osaka headquarters of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper. During his roughly five years there, Tanaka studied under artist Jiro Yoshihara and was influenced by the work of Yoshio Hayakawa.
Tanaka became a member of the Japan Advertising Artists Club in 1953 and received its Member Award in 1959. In the meantime, he moved in Tokyo in 1957 and joined Light Publicity. A founding member of the Nippon Design Center in 1960, he then established the Ikko Tanaka Design Studio in 1963.
In 1965, he gathered together colleagues for the Persona graphic design exhibition and also held his first overseas solo exhibition, in the Netherlands. In the 1960s he expanded into spatial design, working on large-scale events for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 1970 World Expo in Osaka.
In 1975, Tanaka became Creative Director for the Seibu Retailing Group (now the Saison Group). There, through his work in retail space and environmental design, marks and logos, product packaging, and art direction for theaters and museums, Tanaka provided comprehensive design support for corporate image strategy and brought diverse creative minds together to link the company with the wider world.
Taking an active role in introducing Japanese design overseas, Tanaka served as art director or producer for numerous exhibitions and publications. Within Japan, Tanaka was an active member of the Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA) and contributed to the establishment of creative spaces such as the Tokyo Designers Space, Ginza Graphic Gallery and Gallery Ma.
The excellence of Tanaka's work was recognized early overseas, and in 1994 he was awarded the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the Japanese government. That same year, he was elected to the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. In his later years, he received the Asahi Prize in 1997 and the inaugural Yusaku Kamekura Design Award in 1999. In 2000 he was both named a Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government and inducted into the Tokyo Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and remained a leading figure in the world of Japanese graphic design until his untimely death in 2002.


Ginza Graphic Gallery (Contact: Ozawa) Tel: 03-3571-5206