After completing his master’s degree at Waseda University’s faculty of French literature, Ito studied at the Universite de Paris and the Ecole de Louvre as a French government scholarship student. Until his return to Japan in 1983, he held a French government research fellowship as a temporary member of the staff of Florence municipal department of art(1980), and served as deputy commissioner of the French Contemporary Art Festival(1982), among other positions. During this time he was instrumental in introducing the “new painting” movement to Japan in a series of articles written for the Geijutsu Shincho magazine(starting in 1981).
After returning to Japan, he has been engaged in a wide range of activities as art critic, art producer, and project planner. He plans and supervises exhibitions, produces art festivals, serves as a judge in art competitions, offers consulting services for cultural programs sponsored by private corporations, non-profit associations, and government agencies.
Ito served as chairman of the Japan Inter-Design Forum ’95 held in Gunma prefecture. He was Japanese commissioner in charge of the Japan Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale. In 1996, he participated as a member of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s “The 2005 World Exposition, Japan, Working for Developing Concept”. Then in 1997 he works as a member of National Land Agency’s “Study Group on Cultural City Building in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area”. He also curated of “First steps” show at Grey Art Gallery, New York University. He served as commissioner in the opening exhibition of Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris “LE SIECLE DU DESIGN” . While he worked as a member of planning committee of Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris.
Junji Ito had three regular art slots on NHK Television, “Takeshi no Daredemo Picasso” on Television Tokyo and “Tokyo Jiyu-jikan” on Tokyo Metropolitan Television; he has developed and currently curates a competition for young Japanese contemporary artists on behalf of Phillip Morris. Invited jury involved in the 1998 final selection process include Ida Gianelli (Director, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Trino Italy), Lynn Gumpert (Director, The Grey Art Gallery & Study Center ,NYU,USA), Young-Soon Kim (Director, Kyong An Museum, Seoul, South Korea), Richard Koshalek (Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California, USA), Kwok Kian Chow (Director, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore), Suzanne Page (Director, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France), Shuji Takashina (Art critic,Director of the National Museum of Western Art and Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University).Exhibition follows at the Grey Art Gallery in New York in 1999 in which he serves as the curator.
Since 1998, he took part in establishing the Japan Media Art Festival of the Agency for cultural affaires (Bunkacho) and was appointed to the producer and curator of its exhibition. Also, he is nominated as a member of the committee for national events of “Internet Fair 2001 Japan” of Japanese government.
2001, he is estimated to be chairman of the Japan inter design forum which is the biggest organization of intellectuals in Japan.
He also organized the “The New Way of Tea show” at the Asia Society museum in 2002.And he had the decoration for ” Art et Lettre ” from French government.
He was named as the director of Nagasaki prefectural museum in 2004 until March 2007.
Professor of University of Toyama,in 2007 until March 2013.