Ikko Tanaka, 71; Leading Graphic Designer in Japan

Ikko Tanaka, 71, Japan’s leading graphic designer, died Jan. 11 in Tokyo of a heart attack.

Born in 1930 in the nation’s ancient capital of Nara in western Japan, Tanaka studied art as a child. He later lived in Kyoto, where he was active in modern drama and theater.

He established a design studio in Tokyo in 1963 and became known for his unique “Ikko style” by blending Japanese-style art into Western graphics.

He won the silver prize in the 1968 Warsaw international poster competition, and earned a New York Art Directors Club gold prize.

Tanaka’s better-known works include posters for Italian shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo’s 1998 Tokyo exhibit and graphic designs for Japanese retail giant Mujirushi.


The book “Ikko Tanaka, Graphic Master,” published by Phaidon Press in 1997, is an overview of his work.