Japanese Pacifist and Ecological Posters

U. G. Satō and others

  • Katarzyna Kulpińska (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Although Japanese designers are identified by their visually interesting and perfectly printed and invariably eye-catching advertising posters, it is worth remembering that they pay no less attention to those glorifying a “to be” instead of a “to have” attitude. In the modern consumeristic world of advanced technologies, anti-war and ecological posters remain ideologically at the other extreme of the world of advertising, although one could state defiantly that they “advertise” peace and an untainted environment. After all, Lex Drewinski, an eminent Polish designer who was also interested in this subject, once stated: “I’m advertising a dove of peace.” The Japanese manifest a pacifist and pro-ecological attitude in the poster in a mode that remains attractive and, even more importantly, understandable for all nations in the world. This feature ought to be emphasized, as Japanese posters are not always understandable for people of Western culture. Agata Szydłowska pointed out that: “Raised in the western cultural circle, we are used to dealing with posters whose meaning is an outcome of text and image (…) Therefore, it becomes even more challenging for us to accept and understand that the representation on the Japanese poster often says nothing, remaining an empty sign, and certainly cannot be interpreted employing the tools developed in contact with the European poster." The poster creators of Japanese origin often draw the recipient into the process of arranging emptiness; they offer an “empty vessel” that can be filled with meaning: “The Japanese wanting to express specific content at the same time leave the door open, so that this content can be exchanged according to the demand.” [...]