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Masaru Katsumie

(1909—1983)


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(1909–83)

Katsumie held an important place in the development of the design profession in Japan as well as the promotion of a greater understanding of Western, especially Modernist, design. The latter was evidenced through his organization of the 1954 Gropius and the Bauhaus exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, his 1957 translation of Herbert Read's celebrated Art & Industry text of 1934, and his own book Guddo Dezain (Good Design) of 1957 (1957 was also the year in which Pevsner's Pioneers of Modern Design was translated into Japanese). Along with a number of other key figures in the development of Japanese design consciousness and practice after the Second World War (including Isamu Kenmochi, Yusaku Kamekura, Riki Watanabe, and Sori Yanagi) he was involved in the formation in 1953 of the International Design Committee. (This was subsequently renamed the Good Design Committee (1959) and Japan Design Committee (1963).) This sought to bring together Japanese critics and creators to develop an international design consciousness through the development of links with overseas design organizations and participation in conferences and exhibitions. In 1953 he founded the Japanese Society for the Science of Design (JSSD), an important body in the establishment of design as a significant academic discipline. He also taught at the pioneering Kuwasawa Design School (established in Tokyo by Yoko Kuwasawa) which was visited by the German designer Walter Gropius in its first year, 1954. Katsumie also played a significant role in design journalism through his contributions to Industrial Art News (Kogei Nyusu, a publication of the influential governmental agency, the Industrial Arts Institute) in the late 1940s and founding of the periodical Graphic Design in 1959. The 1960 World Design Conference (WoDeCo) was held in Tokyo and did much to bring notions of visual communication to the fore. Influenced by such ideas Katsumie came to wider international attention through his role as design coordinator and art director for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and subsequent involvement in Expo '70 at Osaka and the 1972 Winter Olympics at Sapporo.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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