Kosuke Okahara

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 Confucius.

To tell the story of people in the pictures as well as the long history of this decease, I wanted to make this book look 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 Chinese Paleography.

For the special edition, I chose a design of even more ancient form of book = scroll. When you scroll this book, you will see the images little by little. By this way of proceding the book, I wanted to imply the process how the photographer advanced and discovered the story little by little. I wanted audience to experience same kind of feeling of the journey to meet the people and the situation where those ex-patients live.

Paper: 
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 Kozo paper from Awagami which is very high-quality and still can see the texture of fiber which I believe is the best to realize the ancient look.

Cover:
For the cover, traditional Japanese textile is used. The textile is designed with embroidery of Ivy. This represents the environment of the people who are in the photographs. Cover is strengthend with traditional Japanese paper with traditional Japanese technic to increase the durability of the object.

Binding: 
All binding process are made by hands, one by one. Each edition is carefully bound with traditional technic.

Title calligraphy: 
Title calligraphy is drawn by Misato Ichino, a Japanese calligrapher. Each calligraphy in the scrolls is original. After all printing and binding processes are done, Ms. Ichino drew the title directly on each copy with extreme care and concentration. Each copy’s title is unique.

The axis:
The axis is one of the important parts of scroll. I used a Japanese ceder called “Yoshinosugi” which is considered one of the best woods for its quality. “Yoshinosugi” cedar is from Nara prefecture, next to Kyoto. “Yoshinosugi” ceder is well dried at least for 6 month in the mountain after cutting from the forest then spent more time after they are brought to the factory to make it stronger. It’s good for long-term storage.

Box:
The box is made of paulownia wood and handmade by Hakoyoshi company who specializes Pauolownia wood box for 145 years. The box is made by traditional artisan technic and custormized especially for the size of “Vanishing Existence” special edition. Paulownia wood is considered one of the best to preserve sensitive materials since long time.

This is a 27,5cm x 10m scroll book. Since everything is hand made, the special edition is limited to 10 copies just like 100 copies trade editions. I 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.

Photos, concept & design: Kosuke Okahara
Publisher: BACKYARD PROJECT
Date: 15 November, 2013
Printed country: Japan
Size: 27,5cm x 10m (scroll) / 10,5 x 9 x 35cm (box)
Edition: 10 (All signed & stamped by the author)
Price: SOLD OUT