Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Arts and Paper in Japan

I recently took a trip to Japan, a paper lover's paradise. My husband and I spent a week in Kyoto visiting gardens, temples, shrines and other local sites. We also took a shinkansen or bullet train to Hiroshima to visit the Atomic Dome and Peace Park. I left one of my crane books, shown below at the Sadako memorial. Visiting Hiroshima was an incredibly moving experience.

Of course, the trip included visiting lots of paper shops. I went to Morita as well as Kira Karacho. Both are institutions in the Kyoto area where paper making has a very long history. Kira Karacho is a store founded by the a family of karakami makers that began in 1624. They produce traditional fusuma sliding doors and wallpaper, but Kira began this stationary store in 2004 as a way to reach new audiences. Antique wood blocks are used to print on washi paper.

It was while we were visiting the store for the second time that we noticed the small shopping arcade has a gallery on the third floor. It  showcases artwork by students at Kyoto Seika University. We stopped in and noticed some handmade books in a side area. At first, I thought they were for sale, but as I looked around I realized it was a book arts exhibit. My husband quipped that only I could stumble upon a book arts exhibit 6000 miles from home. It was small, but lovely with a good
variety of books. Please enjoy the images and this brief description of an indescribably wonderful trip to Japan.


Crane book I made and left at the Peace Park memorial.

Sadako statue at the Hiroshima Peace Park.

The eternal flame with the Atomic Dome in the background, Hiroshima Peace Park.

Fusuma sliding doors in our Ryokan.

Examples of books at the b. only book 10 exhibit.

Information about the book artists (I assume).