Japan Media Arts Festival  
21st

Special Achievement Award

TAMIYA Shunsaku

Businessperson

Profile

TAMIYA Shunsaku was born in Shizuoka City in 1934. He graduated from Waseda University in 1958 and joined his father’s business, Tamiya Shoji & Co. Though originally engaged in planning and designing wooden models, he accomplished a major transition to manufacturing models using plastic rather than wood at a critical time when plastic models were coming in from the West. In 1968, he participated for the first time in the Nuremberg International Toy Fair; since then for 51 straight years the company has continued exhibiting under the company motto “First in Quality Around the World”. He has striven for quality management in models through measures such as the early establishment of a customer service department, and successfully improved the Tamiya brand. In addition, he utilized leading illustrators of their time such as KOMATSUZAKI Shigeru, UEDA Kihachiro, and TAKANI Yoshiyuki to develop box illustrations, which became the face of plastic models, something that surpasses the role of package decoration; in doing so, he established a style of illustration called box art. In 1994, he became Chairman of the Shizuoka Cooperative Association of Teaching Materials. Every year, the Shizuoka Hobby Show is held in May and helps invigorate the local economy. In 2005, his company was presented with the Excellent Design Company Award. He has served as both the President and Chairman of Tamiya, Inc. since 2017, and has published writings that include Tamiya Mokei no Shigoto (Master Modeler: Creating the Tamiya Style) and Tamiya Mokei wo Tsukutta Hitobito Densetsu no Puramoya (The Legendary Plastic Model Business—The People Who Created Tamiya Models; both published by Bunshun Bunko). 

Contribution

Japanese plastic models are highly regarded around the world, and Tamiya has been an industry leader since the beginning. It is TAMIYA Shunsaku who led the company in pursuit of the idea that models are more than toys. He allowed modelers to understand the subject with his products, while at the same time creating a wholly attractive package by utilizing dramatic pictures for box illustrations, sparking the imagination of the builder, and actively leveraging the logo. This “magic box” functions as a medium that connects the real world and stories, and is also the source of creativity for many current engineers and artists. (KUDO Takeshi) 

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