Exhibition information

kyoto ddd gallery The 231st Exhibition Osamu Torinoumi Making Type: Like Water, Live Air

January 15, 2022 - March 19, 2022

Designed by Ryu Mieno
Designed by Ryu Mieno
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Typographer Masahiko Kozuka once remarked that “To people in Japan, characters are water and rice.“ Inspired by these words, Osamu Torinoumi has created more than 100 typefaces to date. This exhibition, “Osamu Torinoumi Making Type: Like Water, Live Air,“ begins with the view of Mount Chokai from the town of Yuza in Yamagata Prefecture, where he began his life working with letters, and examines how typefaces, which are an inseparable part our daily lives, are created, and how they become the infrastructure we see in the world around us. Through sketches born out of the design process, traces of trial and error, drafts, finished type, and examples of use in the real world, the exhibition attempts to showcase Torinoumi’s work to date.
In addition to his work as a type designer involved in the creation of typefaces, Torinoumi, has also taught and instructed about type design at universities and private schools. In this exhibition, three of his students, Yuta Okamura, Midori Hirota, and Ryu Mieno, will be in charge of art direction, creating a space where visitors can understand typeface design in a more sensory and physical manner.
We hope that by drowning in “the sea of characters” arranged throughout the gallery, visitors will have an opportunity to reconsider Japan’s distinctive written script, something which we tend to overlook in our daily lives. For us, these characters are indeed akin to “water“ and “air.“


January 15 - Maech 19, 2022
Opening hours 11:00—19:00
Until 18:00 on Saturdays 
Closed Sundays, Mondays and public holidays
Free admission


Osamu Torinoumi. Born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1955. Grew up at the foot of Mount Chokai. Type designer. After graduating from Tama Art University, he joined Shaken Co., Ltd. in 1979, and in 1989, he founded JIYUKOBO Ltd. with Tsutomu Suzuki and Keiichi Katada, and was its president from 1998 to 2019. He was commissioned to produce such works as the Hiragino series and Koburina Gothic for SCREEN Graphic Solutions. At the same time, he has been involved in the development of more than 100 basic typefaces for his own brand, such as Yu Mincho and Yu Gothic for the Yu Typeface Library. He received the first Keinosuke Sato Award in 2002, the GOOD DESIGN AWARD in 2005, and the Tokyo TDC Type Design Prize in 2008. From 2007 to 2017, he taught and supervised type design at Kyoto Seika University. Currently, he is the president of the private school Mojijuku, and an adjunct lecturer at Musashino Art University.


SCREEN Graphic Solutions Co., Ltd. 
Morisawa Inc.