|Teaching model by Yukari Hayashida|
One of the first styles of books that appeared in Japan was orihon, or “folding books”. These consisted of individual sheets of paper arranged horizontally and glued together, but instead of being rolled for storage like a scroll, these books are creased at regular intervals and folded accordion-style.
From this structure, bookbinders created detchoso (“butterfly” books), which utilized wheat paste, and the retchoso, the first Japanese Codex book form, which is sewn. All of the above styles were used mostly for hand copied manuscripts.
By the 14th century, the most popular style of Japanese bookbinding became the fukuro toji(pouch binding), which is the style most people think of when they think of Japanese bookbinding, and which was often used to bind printed books. Bound-pocket books were made by stacking sheets of paper that had been folded in half, but unlike glued or sewn books, the stacked pages are bound by sewing the loose edge opposite the crease together with either thread or tightly wrapped, thread-like strips of paper. A front and back cover were applied before binding. This method means that each double-wide piece of paper has only two written surfaces instead of four, since the inside of each folded sheet is inaccessible. On the other hand, by eliminating the need for printing on both sides of a sheet, bound-pocket books enabled publishers to use significantly thinner paper than was necessary for glued or sewn books. This binding style also allowed for a much greater variety of appearance than either of the other forms of bound books, as the pages could be sewn according to any number of traditional and fashionable methods.
If you are interested in learning more about these beautiful structures, we are offering a Japanese Bookbinding class coming up in November. Learn a variety of Japanese binding techniques using traditional Japanese papers and fabrics to produce unique works. Construct side-sewn binding and through-the-fold structures, as well as a special cloth-covered folding box to hold the books. The end result is a beautiful, boxed set of books. The class is being taught by Yukari Hayashida on November 23 – 24 ,Saturday and Sunday, from 10am – 4pm. So sign up here, and get started!