Past Exhibition

Masayoshi Nakajo Exhibition — Forgetting makes things easy; remembering drives you crazy.

The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to announce that it will host an exhibition by Masayoshi Nakajo, one of Japan's premier graphic designers, from June 23rd (Sat) through August 12th (Sun), 2012. Nakajo will present several new graphics created specifically for this show.

Masayoshi Nakajo was born in Tokyo in 1933. He graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1956, and later that year joined the staff of Shiseido's advertising department. In 1959 he moved on to Deska, but shortly thereafter turned freelance in 1960. For over forty years he was involved in the art direction and design for Shiseido's Hanatsubaki culture magazine, said to be his most representative body of work. He worked on art direction and design for The Ginza / Tactics Design, logotype and package design for the Shiseido Parlor, logotype and signage planning for the Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building (including the Shiseido Gallery logo), and worked on numerous other projects including corporate identity for Matsuya Ginza Department Store, Spiral Hall, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Nakajo created the pictures for a karuta game cards used on the NHK television program Fun with Japanese, and he has also done cover art for Kurashi no Techo magazine.

Nakajo's unique design philosophy includes his idea that “if you make the graphic attractive, it won't take hold. ...I just keep driving the creative effort forward, and when it seems to be done, I go and break it. The way it breaks also gives a new sense.” With this philosophy, Nakajo's designs have always leaned toward new approaches and highlighted a distinct sense of presence. And while their sharp attunement to the times lend them a definite modernity, they also bring in a bit of the unique avant-garde expressiveness that stands out even in the design world, and is still influencing younger generation of designers.

This exhibition coincides with the renewal of Shiseido's culture magazine Hanatsubaki and Nakajo's departure from his art direction activities there, and it will certainly receive attention as one aspect of that new direction.

This show will feature about thirty of Nakajo's recent works, divided into themes, and will highlight the logotypes, surrealistic landscapes, and new fonts characteristic of his work. Additionally, a number of byobu folding screens will also be produced and displayed. The title of the exhibition, too, comes from Nakajo's oft-quoted sayings and his unique sense for language.

Look forward to Nakajo's distinct worldview filling the spaces of the Shiseido Gallery.

Exhibiting works

  • Series B  #12  2012
  • Series C  #2  2012
  • Series B  #2  2012
  • Series C  #9  2012

Masayoshi Nakajo

1933  Born in Tokyo

1956  Graduates from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music

1956  Joins Shiseido's advertising department

1959  Leaves Shiseido to join Deska

1960  Becomes freelance

1961  Founds the Nakajo Design Office


Tokyo ADC member; JAGDA member; TDC vice-chair; TIS member

Major Works

1966-2011 Art direction and design for Shiseido's Hanatsubaki magazine
1974 Art direction and design for The Ginza
1977 Art direction and design for The Ginza / Tactics Design
1980 Corporate identity planning for Matsuya Ginza
1984 Art direction and design for Cuisine Shiseido
1985 Corporate identity planning for Spiral Hall
Interior design for The Ginza refurbishment
1986 Package design for “Alex” cigarettes
1988 Design for Mazda Tactics Design DOHC Sedan
1988 Design for The Ginza Harajuku
1990 Logotype and package design for Shiseido Parlor
1994 Corporate identity planning for the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
1995 The Ginza 20th Anniversary campaign and interior design renewal
1998 Corporate identity planning for the Hosomi Museum (Kyoto) and exhibition poster design
1999 Logotype and mark design for Granduo (Tachikawa)
2001 Logotype and signage design for Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building
2003 Corporate identity planning for Uchino and visual identity planning for the “Touch” brand
2005 Hiroshima Appeals poster design
2007 Cover illustration for Kurashi no Techo magazine
2010 Limited edition product renewal for Shiseido Parlor Ginza shop


1973 “Studio” exhibition at Gallery Kono
1988 “Nakajoish” exhibition at Ginza Graphic Gallery
1992 “Design Marathon” TDC planned exhibition at Roppongi AXIS
1997 “Nakajo Masayoshi ○○○” exhibition at Ginza Graphic Gallery
1999 “Simple” HB gallery planned exhibition at HB Gallery
2002 “Nakajo no Fuji no Yamai” (“Incurable Disease”) exhibition
Held simultaneously at Creation Gallery G8 and Guardian Garden
“Who Jeer Ma” exhibition for “Creators of the Hara Hiromu Memorial Prize — 2”
Tokushu Paper Mfg. Research Center PAM
“Wasuretai koto Ga Aru,” (“Picturing a thing I want to forget”) exhibition at HB Gallery
2003 “Continued ― Fuji no Yamai” (“Incurable Disease — Continued”) for the 5th Yusaku Kamekura Design
Award Winners Exhibition at Creation Gallery G8
2005 “Shiku ― Hakku Age 72” (Struggles at 72) exhibition at HB Gallery
2006 “Hanaji” (Nosebleed) exhibition at HB Gallery
2008 “07” exhibition at HB Gallery
2009 Masayoshi Nakajo vs. Kazunari Hattori “Nakajo Hattori Double Suicide in Hatchome” exhibition at Creation Gallery G8
2010 “After the Double Suicide” exhibition at HB Gallery
2011 Kurashi no Techo” cover art exhibition at HB Gallery

Awards received to date include, among many others, the ADC Membership Grand Prize, TDC Members Gold Prize, JAGDA Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, Mainichi Design Award, Japan Advertising Award — Yamana Award, Japanese Government Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, and Order of the Rising Sun.

Related Events 1    Gallery Talk (in Japanese language only)

A discussion between Masayoshi Nakajo and fellow graphic designer Kazunari Hattori and poet Hiroshi Homura will take place as follows:

Schedule: July 20th (Fri) 2012, 18:30 - 20:30
Location: Word Hall, Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, 9th Floor
Capacity: 60 guests
Participation Fee: None
Inquiries: The Shiseido Gallery (Tel 03-3572-3901 or Fax 03-3572-3951)

Related Events 2    Stamp Rally

Those who visit all four venues (Shiseido Gallery, Ginza Graphic Gallery, Creation Gallery G8, and Guardian Garden) during the exhibition duration and collect a stamp from each will receive a special can badge designed by Masayoshi Nakajo.

Exhibition Details for Masayoshi Nakajo Exhibition — Forgetting makes things easy; remembering drives you crazy.

Sponsor: Shiseido Co., Ltd.
Support: Butter Inc.
Duration: June 23rd (Sat) through August 12th (Sun), 2012
Location: The Shiseido Gallery
Ginza Shiseido Building, B1, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel:03-3572-3901; Fax:03-3572-3951
Hours: Weekdays 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Sundays 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed: Mondays (including holidays falling on Monday)
Admission is free.

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