Japanese poster art _ Ikko Tanaka

The next contributor refers to Ikko Tanaka, devoting his time to poster design. Why I want to research him is because of his unique visual language, same as that of Fukuda in simplistic expression. However, there is a different utilization of motifs between them.

The first example is “Nihon Buyo” in 1981. There are several geometric components, including round, square, rectangle and triangle shapes, to constitute a pretty geisha. An abstract expression combining geometry with Japanese features is obvious in his posters. According to Heller’s report, Tanaka stands for the designer “ whose fusion of Japanese tradition and the International Style contributed a modern sensibility to Japanese poster”. (Heller, 2002) Cartwright (2012) gives a similar comment to Tanaka’s works, “utilizing strong geometrical forms as the basis for bold, communicative imagery with a distinctive Japanese twist”.

Another proof is related to “The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku”. A traditional kabuki’s portrait is made up of circular forms and the lines of calligraphy.

In his works, I found a different method to simplify illustration by geometry that I can use in my poster design. Also, as LA times’ news mentions that Chee pointed out “he looked back to tradition but he also enjoyed the global conversation” (Silsbee, 2015) , Tanaka’s creativity could give me a suitable guide to have a possible balance between Eastern and Western styles in my poster. Therefore, finding Eastern objects to establish my visualization is able to connect a Eastern discussion in my posters.

Reading list_

Cartwright, J. (2012) It’s Nice That. Retrieved 31 Oct 2016 from http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/ikko-tanaka

Heller, S. (2002) Ikko Tanaka, 71, Japanese Graphic Designer. The New York Times [online]. 24 January. Retrieved 31 Oct 2016 from http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/24/arts/ikko-tanaka-71-japanese-graphic-designer.html

Silsbee, K. (2015) Artist Ikko Tanaka’s work shows design as a primer on culture . Los AngelesTimes [online]. 16 April. Retrieved 31 Oct 2016 from http://www.latimes.com/tn-gnp-design-as-a-primer-on-culture-20150416-story.html


The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku & Nihon Buyo: http://japanesedesign.pl/2012/ikko-tanaka/