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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.

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


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