In the early 20th century, posters came to Japan. Advertising anything from national railways to Noh performances, the posters displayed a unique visual sensibility distinct from their European counterparts. In September, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum will exhibit 226 of their collection of 800 Japanese posters, which is the largest in Europe.
The Stedelijk exhibition, titled ‘Colorful Japan’, is a tribute to the Japanese graphic designer Shigeru Watano, who died in 2012. Watano lived in the Netherlands and helped the Amsterdam institution acquire their vast collection of posters.
Posters in the exhibition date back to the very earliest days of advertising in Japan. Made in 1937, a poster advertising Japanese Government Railways is the oldest work in the show.
Curator Carolien Glazenburg said: ‘Spotlighting 226 Japanese posters from our collection, Colorful Japan literally explodes with color. With posters floor-to-ceiling, the Hall of Honor walls immerses visitors in a kaleidoscopic world.’