Photo: JR Poster Camapign Promoting Tourism to Tohoku Region

The Fukushima nuclear accident has been declared officially ended with the 'cold shutdown' of the heavily damaged nuclear reactor. Whether one believes all will be well now - and very few do - the passing of this milestone saw Japan Railways East launch a massive campaign to promote tourism to the stricken Tohoku region with a TV and poster campaign.

Here in the Kanto region the poster campaign has been very noticeable because of a unique visual style that makes the posters stand out from the other advertising dross. The posters use a number of techniques - geometric design, simple shapes, simple colours, and the repetition of forms. This creates a retro atmosphere and a mood of naive idealism in keeping with the campaign's message to turn the clock back and make sacrifices for the Tohoku region, even though, of course, the posters promise you will have a good time as well.

The poster above advertises Aomori prefecture, famous for its rather large apples, and just to put people's minds at rest, that is not a mutant girl with three heads and three arms but rather the same girl repeated three times to emphasize the central iconic image of a tourist enjoying an apple right where it comes from. The Japanese caption reads: はじめてきたけど、大好きだ which can be translated as "Even though it's the first time I came, I love it."

The style that is being used in the poster campaign shows a clear affinity with the Russian Constructivist movement, an early 20th century design revolution, whose poster designers had a similar task of galvanizing their audience during tough times.

You can see more examples of the posters in this series at JR's website.

22nd January, 2012
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