Handmade Photobooks with Japanese Traditional Book Binding Technique
Project info

Japanese bookbinding has a history of over 1,000 years. However, as is often the case with traditional art and craft skills, the number of old-style book binders has been drastically decreasing. To make my own photobooks for my Fukushima project, I learned basic skills from a master. With these skills, I have made three photobooks.

The first photobook is “Lost in Fukushima.” This accordion-type photobook contains all the 32 photographs of the series with the same title. For cover and case (called "Chitsu" in Japanese), I used Aizu Momen, traditional cotton from Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture. The external size is about 14 cm x 19 cm x 3 cm.

The second photobook is “In Silence and In Sorrow.” This photobook is made with a method called "four-hole binding." It contains all the 14 photographs of the series with the same title. The front and back covers are parts cut out of my original gelatin silver prints, which I created using hand-screened Kamikawasaki-washi paper from Nihomnatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. (Any photographer knows that there are always some odd prints which are not included in the final selection. As hand-screened Kamikawasaki-washi is so precious and the effects still look very unique and interesting, I decided to use them here…) The size is 19 cm x 14 cm x 0.5 cm.

The third is an original gelatin silver print collection book, which contains all the 14 images of the series “In Silence and In Sorrow.”  They are printed on hand-screened Kamikawasaki-washi, the same paper as I use for the exhibition prints. The image size is about half an exhibition print. For cover and case, I used Japanese washi paper dyed and hand-screened with natural leaves. The external size is about 25 cm x 33 cm x 2.5 cm.

For those who are interested in the process, there is a video on YouTube (Camera, directed and edited by Yoshimasa Ono.) To watch the video, copy the link below, paste it onto your address bar and hit Enter on your keyboard.