As you know the type designer giant Adrian Frutiger, in Japan, there is also a type designer giant for Japanese font. Masahiko Kozuka, is 79 years old, who is famous for Adobe Kozuka family bundled with Adobe applications, gave a presentation about his works.
In an impressive monochrome photo Kozuka showed at the beginning of the talk show, a young lad was standing surrounded by a bunch of veterans, he seemed to be shy but to have enormous energy for making typeface. The photo was taken when he was a newbie worker for Mainichi Shinbun: Mainichi newspaper, is one of major newspaper companies in Japan, with its veterans. And then about fifty-years passed, he was standing in front of the audience who came to hear and talk to them looking back at his old days.
He had careers for three generations of making typeface, hot metals, photo type setting and digital fonts. He showed a lot of photos and important 8mm movie archives he owned and introduced how to making typeface of each of generations.
His career for making typeface started when he joined Mainichi Shinbun: Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd, around fifty years ago. He worked to make matrices for the newspaper typeface, now we call it “Mainichi Ming-cho”. And some decades passed, Morisawa, is a font vendor in Japan and known for holding Morisawa award, asked Kozuka to come to Morisawa as a advisory staff. While working for Mainichi, he also went to Morisawa corp. once every week. After retiring Mainichi, he completely moved to Morisawa. Then Morisawa started the Shin-Go:新ゴ project. To make Shin-Go family fast, which has five weights and every weight has more than 8,000 characters, Kozuka organized a font team and built a software for group sharing, which connected to the similar way which he used in Adobe to make Kozuka family.
He also had contributed to a developing country to develop letterpress system or to provide how to make typefaces, but the project often had to postponed due to war, civil war or conflict. “To improve making type face technology, it can be needed the world is peace,” Kozuka said. It was very impressive.
Left: The one of his best known works, Kozuka family by Adobe. He demonstrated how to make fonts using a customized software for making Japanese font by Adobe. Right: The facade of the event hall CCAA Art Plaza, which is an ex-elementary school in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.
Kozuka looked back at his life as saying that “I think one generation was about two decades, then closing up every generation carefully, I find it has at least two or four branches.” That means he had careers at least six generations. For almost of type designers, it must be rare chance to have experience for changing printing media. However, Kozuka had a couple of chances and fit new technology with new type technology. I’m sure he was struggling to fit them every time.
Looking back at my life, I’ve never had any chance to face changing generations. But I expect to get a chance the transition to new technology within a decade. What would it be like next generation? I’ll try to get a lot of clues and hints by understanding past generations.
Robundo publishing inc., A special seminar for The Shinjuku private school. “Kozuka talks three generations of type.”
Jiyu-Kobo inc., Mojimaga, means letter magajine, “The type designer giant” #2 Type designer Masahiko Kozuka