Each year, Kuraray Co., Ltd. produces a highly popular, user-friendly calendar that takes "nature" as its theme. Since its founding, the Kuraray Group has consistently embraced the pioneering spirit—the spirit that has continually been an integral part of its approach as it looks toward the future and determines what it must do to contribute to a prosperous tomorrow. This approach applies even to the making of the Kuraray Group calendars. We search for promising, talented artists and support them through the creation of our calendars. In line with this view, the Kuraray Group 2012 calendar features photographs of an up-and-coming young professional photographer.

For the 2012 calendar, we selected Yusuke Okada, a 33-year-old photographer whose work to date has centered on natural landscapes involving water environments. The calendar features beautiful landscapes, in each of which Okada has captured the life pulsating through nature and its creatures. Each photograph is accompanied by a short paragraph explaining the story behind the image. In sum, the calendar offers photographs that capture wonders from all around this magnificent planet.

1. Calendar Features

  • (1) Each month features a photograph of a natural landscape involving a water environment, along with a brief explanation from Okada of the circumstances when he was shooting the photograph. The last page features thumbnail views of the photographs for each month.
  • (2) This is a 14-page calendar, comprising seven sheets of paper printed on both sides and is 52cm long x 36cm wide when fully opened. The calendar folds in half for delivery, making it compact, and double-sided printing was used to conserve paper resources.
  • (3) The date boxes provide ample space for writing in appointments and notes. Also, the characters used for the dates are clear and large so that they can be easily read from a distance.
  • (4) The overall design is practical, functionally decorative and user-friendly.

Okinawa definitely boasts one of the most beautiful seas in the world. I took this photograph, longing to share such fascinations of the Okinawan sea as the blueness of the ocean, whiteness of the sand and rich biodiversity. Schools of tiny fish—like those seen in the photo—rush to hide in the coral when something approaches. If, after about 15 minutes, nothing untoward has happened, they venture out once more. I captured that moment.

2. Profile of Yusuke Okada

When he was a university student, Okada traveled around Japan and Asia. After graduation, he began studying photography under professional photographer Mitsuo Yamamoto. In 2003, he embarked on a career as a professional freelance photographer. He lived on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, for a year and now lives in Tokyo. His body of work covers a wide range of subjects, including underwater life, terrestrial animals and plants, landscapes and people. His image of a manatee won the photographic Grand Prix in Japan and a Nature Honorable Mention in the National Geographic International Photography Contest 2009.