Shin Matsunaga

Shin Matsunaga

Graphic Designer


Born in Tokyo in 1940. Graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1964 with a degree in design. After working in the advertising department of Shiseido, established Shin Matsunaga Design Inc. in 1971. Major works include Shiseido’s summer campaign, a series of peace posters, and CI plans for Benesse, ISSEY MIYAKE, and the National Museum of Western Art. He has also designed packages for Scottie, Can chu-hi, the international competition-winning French cigarette Gitanes, Shiseido Uno, and the book design for the best-selling Japanese Constitution. He has also been involved in a wide range of other creative activities, including drawing, sculpture, and monuments. He has had many large-scale solo exhibitions in Japan and abroad, including Warsaw and New York, and many of his works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria Albert Museum, and 90 other museums around the world. He has received many awards, including the Tokyo ADC Award, Mainichi Design Award, Gold Prize and Honorary Mention at the Warsaw International Poster Biennale, Minister of Education’s Art Encouragement Prize, Japan Advertising Award, Yamana Award, Medal with Purple Ribbon, Yusaku Kamekura Award, Hiromu Hara Award, and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. He is a member of AGI, N.Y.ADC, Tokyo ADC, JAGDA, and Japan Design Committee.

Thoughts on Design

I think that people are often attracted to designs that are distant from their own daily lives. Silence in the midst of hustle and bustle, stiffness in the midst of softness, stillness in the midst of motion, humor in the midst of strictness, evil in the midst of honorable. All of these motivations seem to be located on the opposite side of our current lives. Even if this idea is short-sighted, I cannot deny that there have been such fluctuations and repercussions in my own design work. In the sense that I have been saying that “design is life,” there must have been some kind of rebellious psychology lying in the background. In other words, design is a way of “relieving stress” in an attempt to shake the weariness and stagnation of our daily lives.

Representative work

  • 1969 | Bronze Summer

  • 1970 | Big Summer

  • 1971 | People, People, People (Sun Oil)

  • 1971 | People, People, People (Beauty Cake)

  • 2001 | JAPAN “Burn up, Japan? Burn out, Japan?”

  • 1986 | PEACE “Love, Peace and Happiness”

  • 1994 | LIFE “Leaf”

  • 2007 | HIROSHIMA APPEALS 2007

  • 1978 | KIBUN Material Can

  • 1984 | Can Chu-hi

  • 1986 | Scottie

  • 1995 | Freaks by Shin Matsunaga

  • 2004 | The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

  • 1994 | Graphic Design by Shin Matsunaga in Slovenia

  • 1982 | Constitution of Japan

  • 1986 | Blendy

  • 1983 | News

  • 1995 | Benesse Corporation

  • 1997 | Uno

  • 1996 | Gitanes Blondes

  • 1994 | Calbee

  • 1989 | Issey Miyake

  • 1979 | SAVAS

  • 1990 | Rihga Royal Hotel

  • 1983 | BANDAI

  • 2005 | ISSIMBOW

Interview (Japanese)

From the exhibition “Secret Source of Inspiration: Designers’ Hidden Sketches and Mockups