Graphic Notation from the Harbor of Design. Katsumi Asaba Exhibition

— Katsumi Asaba

Special Prize


Graphic Notation from the Harbor of Design,
Katsumi Asaba Exhibition
(Exhibition work)
The black ships arrived in Japan in 1853, with Commodore Perry pressing for the opening of the Port of Yokohama. This event stirred up the entire country, and ultimately led to the Meiji Restoration. The year 2009 marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama, as well as the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the Kanagawa Kenmin Hall. Held in this context was “the Harbor of Design. Katsumi Asaba Exhibition,” under the direction of avant-garde composer, Toshi Ichiyanagi. In the 1960s, Ichiyanagi had brought John Cage to Japan, and introduced avant-garde music through concerts he organized at various locations. We were in our 20s, and the Sogetsu Hall was the central hub of culture at the time. We always made sure to catch the monthly concerts, and that’s where we encountered graphic notation for the first time. In the music that reverberated from the free design of graphic notation, I could feel the limitless expanse of the universe. As a centerpiece for this exhibition, I redesigned graphic notations by Toshi Ichiyanagi, John Cage, Earle Brown, and Sylvano Bussotti.

Katsumi Asaba
Art Director. Born in Kanagawa prefecture in 1940, Asaba graduated from Kuwasawa Design School. After working at Light Publicity Inc., he established Asaba Katsumi Design in 1975. His representative works include advertising for Suntory “Yume-kaido (Dream road)”, Seibu Department Store “Oishi Seikatsu (Tasty Life)”, Takeda Phamaceutical “Alinamin A”, Misawa Homes “Be slow at home”, and many more. Among the many prizes he has won are a Japan Academy Prize and a Medal with a Purple Ribbon. He is a committee member of the Tokyo ADC, a chairman of the Tokyo TDC, a director of the Japan Graphic Designers Association, the Japanese representative of the Alliance Graphiqe Internationale, and a visiting professor at Tokyo Zokei University and Kyoto Seika University. He reached the sixth rank in table tennis. Asaba directed the exhibition “Whispered Prayers” at 21_21 Design Sight in 2008, for which exhibition design and his own exhibit “Asaba’s Diary” he was awarded Tokyo ADC Grand Prize in 2009.