Watoji (Japanese bookbinding) was originally introduced into
Japan from China in the early Heian period, and gradually
formed its Japanese characteristic. Nowadays, there's very little
chance to see watoji, right?
Here I would like to explain some methods and types
of watoji that even the Japanese don't know.
The origin of watojibon (Japanese bookbinding books) can be traced back to more than a thousand of years ago. It was first introduced into Japan in the Heian period by Kukai after he learned "Sanjujosasshi" in China. (Sanjujosasshi was a volume binded in the way of sticking the folded paper together and then pasting the cover with paste.)
It's called Kochobon in China,
but "Detchoso" in Japan,
for it has no thread.
It is Yamato Toji made it develope. Yamato Toji refers to a way of bookbinding that uses thread instead of paste, and ties the two places of the cover with strings.
Later, a "Fukuro Toji" (Traditional Chinese bookbinding) form of "Mincho Toji" (Ming court binding), which was adopted from Sung Dynasty to Ming Dynasty in China, was introduced into Japan in the Kamakura period.
In the Edo period, the publishing by woodblock printing boomed. There were so many craftsmen focusing on developing Japanese books by using their skills and talents, and various bookbinding methods were created.
Besides Yotsume Toji (Japanese four-hole bookbinding), the representative one, there are also Kouki Toji (noble binding), Kikko Toji (tortoise shell binding), Asanoha Toji (hemp leaf bookbinding) and so on.
Watoji can be divided roughly into four types.
Here I want to talk about them together with
their binding methods.
The simplest and easiest binding method.
It is also called Mincho Toji (Ming court binding),
and is the basis for all binding methods.
There are also "Mitsume" (three-hole) and "Itsutsume"
(five-hole), which are recommended for beginners.
Sometimes also called noble binding. It is a binding method in which the thread is vertically and horizontally tied to the touch part of the Yotsume Toji (Japanese four-hole bookbinding). It also plays a role of decorating and preventing the corners of book spine from rolling up. It is said to be the Kangxi emperor of the Qing Dynasty who created this book binding method, the name of which conveys an atmosphere of nobility.
To be Continued...
Draft storyboard & illustration by Misato Yamada
（TOKYO DESIGNER GAKUIN COLLEGE）
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