Theo Jansen

WADA Makoto

April 23 (Sat.) – June 19 (Sun.), 2022

WADA Makoto Exhibition Special Website

WADA Makoto (1936–2019) is widely known as an illustrator and graphic designer, but he was a man who wore many hats, including film director, essayist, songwriter, composer, and animator. His rich and varied creativity spanned multiple genres.
The works of Wada Makoto panned out one after another, one job leading to the next, which then prepared the way for attracting projects in other fields. He did a first-rate job in a wide variety of areas, whether he was creating illustrations for picture books, which motivated him to start writing himself, or he was writing children's stories, which led him to compose music for them, as well, or he was getting into creating concert posters thanks to his association with musicians, which then led him to go on to stage design and direction, and even to directing his own films.
This is the first major solo exhibition of Wada Makoto's work since his death in 2019. Rather than focusing on one particular area of his oeuvre, the exhibition presents an overall view of his work. It is our hope that viewers come to know aspects of Wada Makoto that they may not have been aware of, and get a feel for the unique culture that he produced. To achieve this, it provides a bird's eye view of his work overall, while also featuring individual works that may seem surprising in light of the image of Wada that most people have come to know.

30 Keywords for WADA Makoto

1. Childhood and university 2. Work for LIGHT PUBLICITY 3. Shinjuku Nikkatsu Revival House-Movie theater 4. The Sogetsu Art Center 5. Self-publishing picture books 6. Picture books—Collaborations with TANIKAWA Shuntaro 7. Variety of picture books 8. Illustration for children's books 9. Kotoba no Kobako 10. Mother Goose 11. Animation 12. Likeness portraits 13. Essay 14. Film director 15. Book design 16. Handwritten characters 17. Record jackets 18. Composition 19. Posters 20. Art director of Hanashi no Tokushu 21. Parody 22. Cartoon 23. Logos 24. Long-running works 25. Covers for Shukan Bunshun 26. Illustration of cats 27. Collaboration with his family 28. Creative process of WADA Makoto 29. WADA Makoto's books 30. Visual timeline

Multiple Aspects of WADA Makoto

  • Likeness portraits

    Duke Ellington, From solo exhibition “JAZZ”, 1992
  • Collaborations Picture books with TANIKAWA Shuntaro

    Ana, Text by TANIKAWA Shuntaro, 1976, Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers
  • Cartoon

    From Sharaku, 1980-85
    Collection: Tama Art University Art Archive Center
  • Book design

    Dial an Alibi, Written by Jack RITCHIE, Translated by KOMATSUKI Masako and others, 2007, Kawade Shobo Shinsha
  • Collaborations with HOSHI Shinichi

    The capricious robot, Text by HOSHI Shinichi, 1999, Rironsha
  • Variety of picture books

    Mitsurin ichi kirei na hyou no hanashi, Text by KUDO Naoko, Zuiunsya
    (First publish in 1975, Gingasha)
  • Illustration for children's books

    Boku wa Ousama, Text by TERAMURA Teruo, 1967, Rironsha
    Collection: Tama Art University Art Archive Center
  • Movie

    From Calender, Der blaue Engel, 1992
    Collection: Tama Art University Art Archive Center

©Wada Makoto

Profile of WADA Makoto

photo: YOSHIDA Hiroko

Born in Osaka in 1936. After graduating from the Tama Art University Department of Design (currently the Department of Graphic Design), he worked for the LIGHT PUBLICITY advertising agency. Going independent as an illustrator and graphic designer in 1968, he became involved in a wide range of fields, including working as a film director, essayist, and as a lyricist & composer. Many people are familiar with his designs for hi-lite cigarettes, his cover illustrations for Shukan Bunshun, his picture books in collaboration with TANIKAWA Shuntaro, and his book illustrations and book designs for a large number of authors, including Hoshi Shinichi、MARUYA Saiichi. Major awards for his work in a variety of areas include The Best New Artist of The Hochi Film Award, The Blue-Ribbon Awards, The Mainichi Design Prize, The Kikuchi Kan Prize.

Exhibition Information


April 23 (Sat.) – June 19 (Sun.), 2022


Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Gallery I, II

Opening Hours

10:00-20:00 (admission until 19:30)




¥1100 (¥900)
Seniors (65 and over):
¥900 (¥700)
Students (High school students and over):
¥600 (¥500)
Junior high school students and under:

*The admission given in parentheses are for advance tickets / group (20 or more) / with one-day ticket for tram or buss, etc.
*Admission is free for those who present disability certificates and one accompanying person.
*Advance tickets will be on sale until April 22.

Ticket handling

Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, eplus (e+), Lawson Ticket [L Code: 84471], seven ticket [seven code: 092-998]


Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Nichinichi Press

Special Cooperation

Wada Makoto Co., Tama Art University, Tama Art University Art Archive Center

Curatorial Cooperation

Blue Sheep, 888 books


Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education, Kumamoto City Board of Education, Kumamoto Ken Bunka Kyokai (Cultural Association of Kumamoto), Kumamoto Ken Bijutsuka Renmei (Artist’s Union of Kumamoto), J:COM, Kumamoto International Convention and Tourism Bureau, FMK, FM791

WADA Makoto Exhibition Official Twitter

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WADA Makoto Official Site