Binding

Binding

This is the binding of The Making of a Japanese Print. It can be seen how the book is made up of one sheet folded into multiple pages.

Binding

It is possible to flip through the book like any ordinary novel.

One of the most unique aspects of The Making of a Japanese Print is the binding. Rather than following the common binding style codex, this book is bound accordion-style. To put it more specifically, this book’s binding style is referred to as orihon. The term orihon is a combination of two other Japanese words: ori which translates to “fold” and hon which translates to “book” (Breede).

Orihon binding was “developed during the Heian period (A.D. 794-1185)” (Korbel). This style of binding consists of long sheets that are folded into multiple sections and the front and back cover are attached to the two ends of the sheets. Since The Making of a Japanese Print is bound this way, readers have two different options when it comes to reading it. They can either unfold the entire thing and read it similar to how a scroll is read, or they can read it like a traditional book that has a codex style binding. If it is read in scroll style, it has to be read left-to-right, which is similar to how it would be read in codex format. However, the difference is that the reader would not have to flip the pages.

A problem that comes with this binding though, especially with an older book, is that there is a lot of fragility that comes with it. It is easy for the cover to detach, which did occur when we were studying our copy of the book. Due to the low durability, it requires a lot of careful handwork to make sure that the book is as safe as it possibly can be. However, the fragility is not as present when the book is being flipped through normally. When it is being unfolded though, it is easy to damage it.

Overall, this binding helps the reader get an insight on the culture that this book is coming from, considering orihon is a Japanese binding style. This unique binding helps add to the physical appeal of the book and foreignness of it.