Vintage Japanese Ads

Tuesday, January 21, 2014










I have had a fascination with Japanese ads since I was little. My aunt (on my paternal side) went to Japan to study and when she came back she brought all sorts of intrigue of the Japanese culture with her. One of the things she brought back were ads where she was modeling (in the ads! she instantly became a celebrity to me), the one I remember most was her modeling tennis rackets. All the ads were so filled-up and exaggerated, they looked like cartoons or candy or confetti, or what really happy shouting might look like, and at 10 years old this was amazing. Now that over saturation overwhelms me a bit, but I love, love these vintage Japanese ads. All the beautiful color palettes and the pop-art/childrens-book like graphics, the simplicity and artistry of them. I have never taken a graphic design class but these make me really want to.

Images via

19 comments:

  1. When I was interested in learning how to sew (don't worry, that went away pretty sharpish), I got fascinated with Japanese pattern books. They were so stunningly minimal (quite unlike this, actually), and the clothes (quite unsuited to my frame) were equally stunning.

    That ad withe the pelican? Mammoth Knitting Yarn? Awesome!

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    1. yes, that pelican one is so fabulous. i love how creative the ads are, not so literal.

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  2. Ooo model!? You've got to show those as well!

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    1. i wish i could! i saw them only once i think. she wasn't really modeling type, very quiet and modest, so i think i thought it was way cooler than she did. but i am really wishing i could see those again now!

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    2. i wish i could! i saw them only once i think. she wasn't really modeling type, very quiet and modest, so i think i thought it was way cooler than she did. but i am really wishing i could see those again now!

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  3. Ooh, these are beautiful. The story about your aunt modeling there reminded me of a blog I used to follow religiously, about a model who was wildly successful in Hong Kong and Japan. She was actually on the first season of Top Model, haha, and found huge popularity (and tons of jobs) in Asia. She stopped writing a few years ago, but I loved seeing all her photos of her life over there. Oddly reminiscent of these ads, though of course from a different era! xo

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    1. my aunt really downplayed it and said that it was mostly because she was white. but she had jet black hair and looked as though she could be japanese in the photos so i never quite understood. but it was really fun at that age of course, so glamorous and i couldn't believe she'd ever want to move back here when she was a model in japan! haha

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  4. Wow, you are a natural at graphics then, I just assumed you had studied it! I love these, especially the weird saturated pinks like the tube of "dental cream", lol. Hope your week has been a good one so far. I owe you an email--I've just been taking a social media break, but am slowly returning :)
    xo Mary Jo

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    1. well, gosh, thank you. i am going to put that directly into one of the best compliments ever pile! it's good to unplug. i should do it more often myself! xo

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  5. These are SO nice. They're busy, but there's a smoothness to them that gives them a relaxed feel. I just love them. Eye candy for my Tuesday morning. : )

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  6. These are beautiful. I'd love to have copies of these to hang on my wall! Thanks so much for sharing. They create a feeling of what Japan was probably once like. I can only imagine the experience your aunt had modeling there. How cool is that? I bet she has some great stories :)

    Have a lovely day,
    Carly

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  7. the cat with the boots on its head totally made me laugh. I love Japanese/Chinese ads- when I went over to Hong Kong I totally got a kick out of the ads because they are just so over the top.

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  8. These are so fun, thanks for sharing!

    Sarah
    aroseinthecity0.blogspot.com

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  9. they are fantastic, especially the ones with the cats :)

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