Photographs by Kosuke Okahara.
Backyard Project, 2013. 40 pp., 18 black & white illustrations, 5¾x8¼".
Selected as a Book of the Week by Manik Katyal
The trade edition is now out-of-print. Please
email us to be notified when the limited edition is available.
A limited edition book on China's forgotten leprosy colonies. This is
the very first publication from the BACKYARD PROJECT Publishing from
Design & Concept
Some of you may know that the leprosy is one of the oldest deceases
described in the history. The disease was written even in the the Old
Testament. In China, there was a part written in the Analects of
To tell the story of people in the pictures as well as the long history
of this decease, I wanted to make this book looks like Chinese
Paleography. So I made some research on it and I had a chance to visit
some Palaeography store in Taiwan where I could get to see the real
To make the book with the atmosphere of Chinese paleography, it was
necessary to choose the right materials. I first looked for Chinese
paper if there is any, but due to the quality reason ( especially
printing images) , I decided to use traditional Japanese paper which is
very high-quality and still can see the texture of fiber which I believe
is the best to realize the ancient look. This is because the old
Japanese books are also quite similar design as Chinese books.
All parts of this books are made of traditional Japanese paper. even a
tiny part. I chose all paper carefully to make it feels like ancients
Though this is not the best way to show the pictures, I decided to bind
with ancient technic. this is the same way of binding as Chinese
Paleographies as well as Japanese ones. All copies are bound with this
very ancient technic.
Since all copies are bound by hand, and no machine is involved in this
book making process ( except printing images), it was impossible to make
a lot of copies, so only 110 copies are available. ( 10 out of 100 are
special editions that will be published soon )
Title calligraphy is drew by Misato Ichino, a Japanese calligrapher. I
showed her the images and explained the story carefully so that she
could imagine the best way to draw the title calligraphy. She drew more
than 30-40 times and I picked the one to use for the title.
This is a A5 sized 40 pages book. not very thick and big. But hope all
the decision I made for the materials and concepts could create the best
atmosphere to tell this story and history of the decease and people.
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