It’s taken us a whole 5 years to
revisit the work of graphic designer and animator Ryohei Yanagihara (1931-2015) – 柳原良平 in Japanese. His most famous work was his Uncle Torys character for Suntory Whisky. The other main brand for whom he produced work was shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K Lines. They even have a virtual museum and shop on their website dedicated to his work.
He also illustrated several
children’s books including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Babies Onomatopoeia.
It goes without saying that you’ll mainly pick up examples of his work in Japan. However, you can occasionally find his designs popping up internationally on sites such as
Amazon and eBay.
Here’s a selection of Yanagihara’s animations from YouTube
Additional image credits:
Flickr | Pinterest
image originally found at Randy’s Bamboo Room blog
What a fantastic character – so of the era! He’s ‘Uncle Torys’, a real good time guy, designed by Ryohei Yanagihara back in the 50s to advertise
Suntory Whisky. This is his dapper gent persona, but he can also be found parading as a Wild West outlaw, bedecked in a loud Hawaiian shirt, golfing attire and even martial arts garb!
There are lots of different little Uncle Tory figures to collect.
Here’s a Flickr group paying homage to the designer. And there are a few vintage TV ads staring Uncle Torys to be found on YouTube – here are a few!