Ayao Yamana was born in 1897 in Hiroshima Prefecture. In 1916, he enrolled at the atelier of Akamatsu Rinsaku, and in 1923 he joined Platon Publishing as a designer and illustrator. In 1929, Yamana transferred to the Shiseido Design Department where he contributed to the marketing of exquisite cosmetic products and played a decisive role on shaping the perception of Shiseido products. Later, he started working of Nihon Kobo founded by Yonosuke Natori. In 1947, Yamana was appointed a professor at the Department of Design at Tama Art School (now Tama Art University). He served as the first chairman of the Japanese Advertisement Art Association. He died in 1980, aged 82.

The 2nd edition of our magazine, Hanga Soshi, is dedicated to Arata Isozaki and Ayao Yamana. After he died, retrospective exhibitions have nearly exclusively focused on Yamana’s refined work for Shiseido, but we wanted to draw attention to his illustrations that were published in journals such as Joshi, Sunday Everyday, Jewel or Ryoki that are ripe with a cool and clear eroticism. His line drawings for the novels of Ranpo Edogawa, Futaro Yamada, or Shigeru Kayama prove his extraordinary sense of balance, working only with a pen. In an age where graphic design and illustration is dominated by the usage of computers, a talent such as Yamana’s will probably not emerge again any time soon.


Hanga Soshi Vol. 2: Arata ISOZAKI and Ayao YAMANA

32.3x26.2cm, 28 pages
Silkscreen, unbound, hot-stamped cover

Edition A: Limited edition of 35, includes 4 copperplate prints by Arata Isozaki, 1 woodcut print based on the blocks of Ayao Yamana and 1 silkscreen print
Edition B: Limited edition of 100, includes 1 copperplate print by Arata Isozaki and 1 silkscreen print by Ayao Yamana

"Ex Libris"
Date unknown (printed 1999)
Woodblock print
Ed. 35
Sealed with the artist's seal from the artist's family; numbered
Included in Edition A

"Title Unknown"
1928 (printed in 2000)
Ed. 135
Included in Edition A and Edition B


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 Exhibitions (Japanese only) 
Spring Exhibition: From the Collection, Jan. 5-Jan. 8