- Museum number
- Object: The Rising Sun and the Olympic Emblem
Poster, colour photogravure. First official poster for the 1964 Olympic Games held in Tokyo. Red rising sun, with five Olympic rings and 'Tokyo 1964' in gold, on a white ground.
- Production date
Height: 102.20 centimetres
Width: 55 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The Tokyo Olympics of 1964 was a major event for the nation, which marked the beginnings of Japan's postwar international rehabilitation. The games brought about great development in the city's infrastructure, notably the construction of the elevated freeway system. Kamekura was a leading graphic designer and was unanimously commissioned by the Olympic Organising Committee to do this set. They are widely considered to be one of the most seminal design achievements of the postwar period (see bibliography below). The posters will serve as a very effective means to tell the story of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in future rotations of the modern sections of the Japanese Gallery displays, especially in the run-up to the London Olympics of 2012.
- The Victoria and Albert Museum has two of the set of four, currently touring as part of the exhibition A Century of Olympic Posters (2008), pls. 60 & 61.
-The whole set of posters are also in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the National Museum of Japanese History, Sakura. The latter will be included in new displays of the period 1940-70 which will open to the public in March 2010
-Philadelphia Museum of Art, Japanese Design: A Survey since 1950, Philadelphia, 1994, pp. 88-9, pls. 65, 67-8, where it also lists the many prizes won by these poster designs.
-See Grove Art Online, which includes the following: "Outside Japan, his best-known designs are his posters for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and for Expo '70 in Osaka. Exhibitions of his work were held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1953), and Normandy House, Chicago (1956)."
Timothy Clark, Dec 2009
In February 1961, the first official poster was published - the first of a series of four. These four official posters which were to be seen widely throughout the world were:
No. 1 "The Rising Sun and the Olympic Emblem"
No. 2 "The Start of Sprinters Dash"
No. 3 "A Butterfly-Swimmer" and
No. 4 "An Olympic Torch Runner."
All four were designed by Mr. Yusaku Kamekura, and for No.`2 onwards, he had the cooperation of Messrs. Osamu Hayasaki and Jo Murakoshi as staff photographers.
All these posters were in multi-colored photogravure, a distinct technical accomplishment for Japan`s printing industry, the quality of printing was the subject of favourable comments both at home and abroad, and the posters themselves received a number of prizes for their excellence, including the Milan Poster Design Award.
The first poster with its striking design from Japan`s National flag, to some extent served to renew the appreciation of the Rising Sun`s dynamic simplicity. Some 100,000 copies of this poster were printed and sistributed before the Games.
The second official poster was modeled with the cooperation both of athletes of the American Forces stationed at the Tachikawa Air Base in Japan and of Japanese amateur athletes. The photo was taken on one wintry night in February, 1962, at the National Stadium. Ninety thousand copies of this poster were distributed.
The first photos for the third official poster were taken at the Tokyo Metropolitan Indoor Swimming Pool in February, 1962, with swimmer Furukawa and other Japanese free-style, backstroke and butterfly swimmers, and also Mr. W. Yorzyk (USA) who was 1956 Butterfly Gold Medalist at Melbourne, acting as models. None of these photos, however, were accepted, and later a butterfly trio of Waseda University, Izutsu, Yoshimuta and Iwamoto were called in to cooperate, and a picture modeled by Koji Iwamoto was selected for the poster. Some 70,000 of these posters had been distributed by the opening of the Games.
The final official poster was made at the beginning of 1964 and 50,000 copies were distributed. The Olympic Torch Runner selected to adorn this last of the poster series was athlete Tanaka of the Juntendo University track and field team.
In Japan, these posters were distributed to all local government offices, Amateur Sports Associations, public buildings, news media, airlines, prominent trading companies, tourist agencies, business firms and banks, etc, The overseas distribution included the International Olympic Committee, National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, and Japan`s Embassies and Legations in the various countries. These posters were responsible for accentuating the Olympic mood which prevailed both at home and abroad.
(Source document: Official Report 1964, Vol. 1, page 353)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2011 Jun-2011 Oct, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Associated events
- Designed for: 1964 Olympic Games
- Acquisition date
- Registration number