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Biography of Munetsugu Satomi [里見宗次の伝記]


Munetsugu Satomi was born on Nov 2 1904 in Osaka. His parents were Seijiro and Takeko. His father was a businessman. He was the youngest of 5 siblings. He had 2 older sisters and 2 older brothers.

He spent his childhood in Osaka.


After a 3 months boat trip he finally arrived in France. He arrived in Paris on July 14 1922.


He enrolled and started at Ecole des Beaux Arts.


He met Marioara Rasuceanu at La Sorbonne University while studying French.


Munetsugu and Marioara got married in November 1925 in Paris.


His father died. As a result he lost his financial support. The need to work pushed him towards Advertising Design.


He joined an Advertising design company as their Studio Director.

He won the advertising design contest for Gauloise giving him international recognition.


He designed the catalogue’s cover page of Les Galeries Lafayettes department store. It will be used for their direct marketing campaign.


He won the competition for the design of the poster of La Foire de Paris. He was chosen amongst 2000 applications. It granted him a monthly salary of 4000 francs.


He won the design competition for the poster of the Vel D’hiv 6 days/night bicycle race. His success story was published in international news papers. He took the decision to start working as an independent artist.


He designed the poster for KLM. He also worked on the Japan first international art exchange exhibition. His work was used for direct marketing for the first time.


Japanese Commercial art exhibition in May 1935. As a result Japanese Commercial Art became known amongst the famous graphic designers of the time like Cassandre, Carlu and Man Ray.


He went back to Japan from August to October. It was the first time after 14 years spent abroad.  During his time in Japan he designed posters for the Japan Railways, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Mikimoto.


War in Europe forced Munetsugu Satomi and his family to go to Japan.


Arrival of the family in Tokyo in January 1940. They found accommodation in the district of Aoyama.

He went to the USA and was responsible for the decoration of the Japanese Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair Association. His friends Carlu and Cassandre were in charge of the decoration of the French Pavilion. 

While in the USA he designed the poster for the American Locomotive Company that was used several times for their advertising campaigns.


In July 1941 the Thai-French Indochina Border Demarcation Committee sent him to Saigon to design a series of Government Goodwill posters. He opened a design studio in the city where he produced French and Japanese Posters. He also designed a poster for Nippon Yusen Kaisha


In November 1943 he moved from Saigon to Bangkok where he was in charge of the decoration of the Japanese Cultural Institute and a Government poster competition.


At the end of the war in November 1945 the family was relocated in a POW camp in the outskirts of Bangkok. The Thai police confiscated and burnt all the posters that they found in his house.


From June to August 1946 the POW were slowly released and sent back to Japan.

Following a suggestion of the former Thai foreign Minister Phitchit he decided to stay in Bangkok.


He designed the advertisement poster for the Bangkok Post.


He was appointed as Thailand Art School Adviser. He created the first Thailand Art Competition.


He designed the Siamese Airways (now Thai Airways) poster.


In February 1952, the Thai Authorities restituted their passports to the family.

In August the family boarded a Norwegian ship on her way to France. From Marseille they took a train to Genoa then Switzerland and finally arrived in Paris in October after 13 years away.


He purchased an apartment in Paris 14th arrondissement near his friend Fujita.

He designed a brochure for Esso Petroleum.


He designed the poster for the first Health Food Exhibition (Salon de la Santé) in Paris.


He designed the ‘Mangez du Pain’ poster, commissioned by the french government to eat more bread and consume french products.


He designed the cover page of the ‘Entreprise’ magazine and the poster for Paris Golf Club.


He designed the poster for Shell Oil Company.


He designed the poster for Galeries Lafayette department store in Japan.


He was commissioned to design the poster of the Salon International de l’Alimentation show in Paris and was in charge of the the decoration of the exhibition room.

He created the trademark for the Japanese cake manufacturer named Colombin

He designed the cover page of the magazine ‘Le Japon’.


He designed the cover of the book titled “Autrefois - Japon - Aujourd'hui’


He designed a poster for ‘Concorde’


In October 1973 he went back to Japan after for the first time in 32 years.

He held an exhibition of his work at Matsuya in Ginza - Tokyo 

He recreated the artwork destroyed during the war and displayed 60 pieces. There was also an exhibition of his recent work at Kabuyota Gallery.


In December he received the ISAO (Order of the Sacred Treasure) [瑞宝章]


On July 11 1975 he celebrated with his wife their Gold Wedding Anniversary at La Coupole restaurant in Paris.


In September 1981 he held a full scale retrospective exhibition at Matsuzakaya in Tokyo to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his arrival in France. 300 pieces of artwork were on display and it included new designs and drawings. Also displayed was a series of lithographs of Zodiac signs.

He also designed the poster for SIAL 10th anniversary.


His wife Marioara passed away. Her ashes were laid to rest in the Satomi family grave in Kyoto.

He designed the poster for the French ‘Chaine Thermale du Soleil’.


In August and September 1986 he held 2 Exhibitions to celebrate his 65 years of artwork in 2 different locations in Japan. One at Matsuya Ginza in Tokyo and the other at Sogo Shinsaibashi in Osaka. He donated his artwork to the Kyoto Institute of Technology Arts and Crafts.

He designed the ‘Pipeline’ poster.


He designed the logo for the ‘Salon International de l’Alimentation’ (SIAL).


In September 1989 the Kyoto Institue of Technical Arts and Crafts Museum held the 65 Years of Artwork Exhibition. 

He designed the ‘Les Hivernales de Sevres’ poster.


In May 1991 Sogo Museum of Art in Yokohama and Sogo Shinsaibashi in Osaka held his 70th anniversary artwork exhibition. 

In August 1991 he published his biography ‘J’ai deux amours, Le Paris de Munetsugu Satomi’ (二つの愛 ムネ・サトミのパリ)

In September 1991 he published a book with a series of drawings of flowers.


He went back to Japan.


On January 30 1996 he passed away, he was 92 years old. His ashes were laid to rest at the Satomi Family grave in Kyoto. During his long career as a graphic artist he produced more than 20000 pieces of artwork.

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