• COPIC AWARD 2024 Short Interview with MICHIHIKO YANAI

COPIC AWARD 2024 Short Interview with MICHIHIKO YANAI


Our third interview is with Michihiko Yanai, who is active in many different fields, including art, music, advertising, publishing, and education.
We want to share his message with you and some of the works Yanai has created.

Concert organized by KAZETOROCK, founded by Yanai san (March 2024)
Photo by Maki Ishii


Creative Director/Professor of Tokyo University of the Arts

After graduating from the Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, Yanai worked for Hakuhodo, a leading advertising agency. He then founded his own company, KAZETOROCK, which specializes in advertisements and graphics. He has worked on numerous high-profile advertisements, including the legendary Tower Records' NO MUSIC, NO LIFE campaign. Yanai is also a creative director for Fukushima Prefecture, a professor of design at Tokyo University of the Arts, and a guitarist in a rock band.


ーWere there any entries from COPIC AWARD 2023 that caught your eye?

Title:Summer night
Artist:Sylvain Bordesoules

Summer night」/Sylvain Bordesoules

Yes. Like in this piece, summer nights are white, aren't they?


Tower Records "NO MUSIC, NO LIFE." poster featuring legendary Japanese rock star Kiyoshiro Imawano (2008)

The latest issue of the monthly KAZETOROCK magazine (April 2024 issue), with Yanai san as editor-in-chief.


ーWhat do you usually focus on when viewing artwork? Also, what do you look forward to seeing in entries for COPIC AWARD 2024?

I think it is impossible to rank art or artists. Even at my college, grading students is my least favorite task. I was also not the best student when it came to grades.

ーDo you have any stories or memories regarding Copic? Also, please tell us what you like about COPIC products.

Copic was released when I was a sophomore year at Tokyo University of the Arts. It was revolutionary. I vividly recall how a classmate was using Copic right before my eyes, brimming with excitement. During my third year at Hakuhodo (one of Japan's major advertising agencies), the advertising agency where I worked at, the art supply store which I had been going to since my prep school days changed their name from "Izumiya" to "Too." It was truly a period of transition. Even then, senior designers were using Copic markers to draw sketches.
As time passed, I started using Copic again. When I sketch with Copic, I experience a sense of solitude that tests my creativity. But at the same time, Copic also provides a reassuring feeling, like having a partner by my side, and I find joy in both of these sensations.

Concert organized by KAZETOROCK, founded by Yanai san (March 2024)
Photo by Maki Ishi


ーPlease share your thoughts as being a COPIC AWARD 2024 judge, and if you have a message to those who are planning to submit a piece.

 I am a member of an art and music unit called "JUVESIS." We have a song named "Imagination." Please let me share lyrics from that song as a message for everyone:

You become you
No matter who you imitate

You will become you
No need to seek out individuality

Such disturbances
Such excuses
Such unpleasant things
No need to borrow them

At the end
You will become you
You can't become anyone else
No need not fear
The blank canvas right front of you

ーThank you for your message, Mr.Yanai!





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