Kamekura Osaka Expo ’70

The Osaka Expo was the first world’s fair that was being held in Osaka Japan that was intended to bring people in Japan and all over the world together for a celebration of peace and prosperity. Naturally, a man with similar design ideals was hired to begin working on a poster design for the event. Kamekura’s work on the Osaka expo poster was, in my opinion, one of his best performances that exemplified his efforts to unify the aesthetic themes of Bauhaus and Constructivism with Japanese ideals and traditions. The simple geometry of the cherry blossom in the middle is easily recognizable and further brought out when pair

ed with the vivid array of color that makes up the rest of the poster. These “blooms” are an excellent representation of Kamekura’s understanding of texture and dynamism in print and poster design. His love for bright, contrasting colors is also on full display here with the composition being placed on one of his iconic black backgrounds.

The typography takes a backseat to most of the poster, which is a common trend with most of Yusaku Kamekura’s works. This might be because of his goal of bridging the east and west together through design. Geometric forms and symbols are a universal language and as such he would not want to exclude a non-Japanese speaking audience by placing most of the emphasis on the typography. This is what I believe, Kamekura’s basis might have been for being so heavily focused on the composition of his posters rather than the information embedded in them through type.

I, personally, like this poster a lot because of how dynamic it appears while still being decisively minimalist. The colors carry this piece a lot further than a monochromatic theme. There is another version of the same poster that has all the bright colors replaced with a muted yellow and the whites have turned to red. This version feels a lot more sinister than the bright and playful tone that the other one gives off, which makes sense given the poster was being designed for a large family-oriented event taking place in Osaka, Japan.


Yusaku Kamekura, Osaka Expo (Yellow), 1970


Works Cited:

“Expo 70 Osaka: A Futuristic Experience.” Culture Trip, 6 Nov. 2013, theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/expo-70-osaka-a-futuristic-experience/.

Flask, Dominic. Yusaku Kamekura : Design Is History, www.designishistory.com/1960/yusaku-kamekura/.

“社団法人 日本グラフィックデザイナー協会 JAGDA.” JAGDAAbout JAGDA, www.jagda.or.jp/en/about/.https://medium.com/@kailindong/yusaku-kamekura-biography-8b15c3fcb0c7