Unpinning History : Japanese Posters in the Age of Commercialism, Imperialism, and Modernism

Kyō no chokin wa ashita no kōfuku, Teishin-shō [Today’s saving is tomorrow’s happiness, Ministry of Communications]

In this poster for the Postal Savings Bank, Sugiura Hisui employs a minimalist and modernist approach to poster design. The only elements present here include a hand, a coin, an abstract background, and a slogan. The Japanese text reads “Saving for Tomorrow’s Happiness.” The message in this work applies to every person: the young, the middle-aged, and the old. Trained in both yōga (Western- and nihonga (Japanese) painting styles, Hisui builds upon the tradition of Japanese iconography while applying early 20th-century Western design elements. By the late Edo period (1600–1868), the rising sun came to symbolize fortune, prosperity, and tradition. (Corey Gordon)

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