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  • A Testimony from the Postwar Period (2008)
  • Nakai Kōichi
    Translated by Kim Mc Nelly (bio)

From Wartime to the Postwar Period—The Rebirth of Advertising

Before speaking of the situation within the postwar advertising industry, let me touch on the state of things during the war. With the wartime paper shortage, newspapers became single-page collotypes. I was at the battlefront by then, so I only heard about this later. Evidently, with the war and shortages, there was no room for newspapers to waste on advertising. However, corporations still had publicity managers. Arai Seiichirō and Imaizumi Takeji, who were working for Morinaga and Marumiya at the time, were saying we can't just sit around and do nothing: we should be working for our country.1 So they called on their fellow advertising managers and in 1940 formed the Society for the Study of Media Technology (Hōdō Gijutsu Kenkyūkai).2 Even the government realized their need for a news media outlet and created a Media Department (Hōdōbu). Hanamori Yasuji, who later became the publishing editor of the magazine Notebook of Everyday Life (Kurashi no techō, 1948-present), became their external civilian liaison. In making him the liaison, first Arai and Imaizumi, then later Yamana Ayao, Itō Kenji, Maekawa Kunio, Hara Hiromu, Fujimoto Michio, Takada Shōjirō and other advertising managers cooperated in the war.3

After the end of the war, the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Tōkyō Shōkō Kaigisho) asserted that the reconstruction of Japan was to begin with the restoration of commerce and industry. Today we have the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) and the Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Dōyūkai), but at the time it was the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce that served this role. At the chamber's request, Arai and Imaizumi called upon their wartime associates and formed a new advertisement research society in the postwar period, which would become a forerunner to the later Tokyo Art Director's Club (Tōkyō Āto Direkutāzu Kurabu, ADC). [End Page 118]

During the war, the government also created the Japanese Advertising Association (Nihon Kōkokukai). Led by Sugiura Hisui, it was made of designers gathered from across the country. After the war, and prompted by the Chamber of Commerce, this organization reformed as a new design group in 1947 while retaining the same name, and continued its activities for seven years.

Sugiura was someone whose studies had centered on art nouveau. Japanese modern design began, then, with people like Sugiura and Hashiguchi Goyō, of art nouveau; the person who brought the movement to Japan, however, was Kuroda Seiki. He had a remarkable eye for judging his apprentices and divided them by artistic form: "You'll become a painter," or "You're well suited for design." That's how Sugiura became a designer. The Japan Advertising Association grew out of the art nouveau movement, and that's why it emerged with an old-fashioned disposition. Moreover, after losing the war, new groups appeared. While Japan was at war, new concepts emerged one after another around the rest of the world. Stating how much they loathed belonging to the old-fashioned Japan Advertising Association, Yamana Ayao, Kamekura Yūsaku, Hayakawa Yoshio, Hara Hiromu, Yamashiro Takaichi, and Ōhashi Tadashi formed the Japan Advertising Artists Club (Nihon Senden Bijutsukai, known as Nissenbi). Itō Kenji was also part of this group.

When Nissenbi came together in 1951, those in the Japan Advertising Association moved to the Tokyo Commercial Artists Association (Tōkyō Shōgyō Bijutsuka Kyōkai [TCAA], today the Tokyo Graphic Designers Club [Tōkyō Gurafikku Dezaināzu Kurabu]). The root of this divide was Tōgō Seiji, who formed the Nika Association's Commercial Art Section (Nikakai Shōgyō Bijutsubu, hereafter Nikakai), which is why after the war, the design world was separated into three groups—TCAA, Nissenbi, and Nikakai—which continues to this day. Tōgō was politically extremely powerful and became the central figure in boosting the whole Nikakai organization after the war. A design department (dezainbu) and photography department (shashinbu) were created, at the same time, within it. I have asked the famous photographer Akiyama Sh...


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pp. 118-127
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