Each of us wanted to show the other up... In the first place, the script was almost never ready when I had to design the poster. Satoh [Satoh Makoto, director of Theater Center 68-71] would be writing like crazy, and I'd be at the silk screener's running off the poster. We'd be racing to see who'd finish first. That's what I mean by showing each other up. I'd get these really abstract demands: "I want a poster like a rising sun," Satoh would say. "What do you mean 'rising sun'?" I'd ask. "You know, something that really jumps out at you—wham!—like that." He'd really get me going, that guy. Anyway, I'd say to myself, "All right, you SOB, I'll give you a rising sun!" and I'd whip up this design and take it to him while he was still writing and shove it in his face, like "Take that!" There'd be instances when I didn't know what the play was about or when they'd change the title on me at the last minute. There were cases in other troupes where the designer would complain that the title of the play was boring and force the playwright to change it to one he liked better. There were lots of incidents like that. It was all possible because we designers were completely integrated into the troupes. We knew what they were trying to do and we tried to communicate it in a larger sense than just advertising a particular play.
—Designer Koga Hirano, quoted in Angura: Posters of the Japanese Avant-Garde
(Princeton Architectural Press, 1999, out-of-print)
Previously: Kiyoshi Awazu
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