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Japanese Government Railways

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Japan (printed)

  • Date:

    1937 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Satomi, Munetsugu, born 1904 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Board of Tourist Industry, Tokyo

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MM, shelf 5

This poster was designed as an advert for the Japanese railways by Munetsugu Satomi in 1937. Satomi, born in the Japanese city of Osaka, studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and was one of the masters in the field of Japanese poster design. This image was included in the Art Deco exhibition at the V&A in 2003. It shows the view from the window of a speeding train. Telephone masts, a Japanese flag, a lake, a haystack and a cherry tree seem to rush past. The posted was created at a time when the Japanese economy was growing and a new urbanisation demanded fast travel. The Art Deco style was popular in Japan, as it was partly inspired by Asian art, and combined elements of tradition and modernity. The reconstruction of the Japanese capital after a major earthquake in 1923 saw the erection of many Art Deco buildings. This poster encapsulates the mood in Japan at the time, with the co-existence of old and new. Traditional signifiers of Japanese identity such as the cherry tree appear side by side with such icons of industrial modernity as the railway and the telephone masts.

Physical description

Poster showing a moving landscape, as if from a train window. Greenery, telephone masts, a lake, blue sky and the railway tracks pass by. The words 'Japan Japanese government railways' are on the bottom of the image.

Place of Origin

Japan (printed)


1937 (printed)


Satomi, Munetsugu, born 1904 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'Japan Japanese Government Railways'
Bottom of the image


Height: 103.3 cm, Width: 63.2 cm

Descriptive line

Poster by Munetsugu Satomi for the Japanese Government Railways. Japan, 1937.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1938, London: Board of Education, 1939.



Subjects depicted

Rapid rail transit systems; Flags; Cherry; Cloud; Travel; Trains (vehicle groupings); Speed


Prints; Advertising; Posters; Tourism & Travel


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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