Iwataro Koike


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A highly distinguished Japanese teacher of design, Koike worked from 1942 to 1969 at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music from which he had graduated in 1935. Subsequently he worked at the Industrial Arts Institute of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in the late 1930s, gaining further practical design experience in the lacquer industry before taking up teaching at the Tokyo School. One particular group of his students in the early 1950s, comprising Kenji Ekuan, Shinji Iwasaki, Kenichi Shibata, and Haratsugu Ito, became known as the ‘Group Koike’, the core of GK Design, an early Japanese design consultancy. Koike himself participated in GK Design. His pedagogic influence extended to writing, as exemplified by his pioneering 1956 book on Basic Design: Composition and Formation. His considerable influence on the Japanese design climate was furthered through his involvement in the Japan Industrial Designers Association (JIDA), an important pressure group that had been established in 1952 for the professionalization of design in Japan. He was its director in 1957 and again from 1965 to 1966. He was also involved with wider international industrial design promotional initiatives, speaking at the Tokyo World Design Conference in 1960—officially declared Design Year in Japan—and at the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) conference in Paris in 1963. In 1985 he was awarded the Kuni Industrial Art Award and the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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