A limited edition book on China’s forgotten leprosy colonies. This is the very first publication from the BACKYARD PROJECT Publishing from Japan.

Jörg Colberg mentioned the book as “With a focus on leprosy villages in China, the book very clearly is situated in Asia, and its form and content come together perfectly. It’s a real treasure of a book.”

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 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 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 Chinese Paleography.

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 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. 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 document.

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 100 copies are available.

Title calligraphy: 
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.

Following the earthquake that shook the Pacific coast of Tohoku, waves of 30m ravage inside Japanese land. Accompanied by his Geiger counter, Kosuke Okahara spent 4 years to document the consequence of Fukushima disaster as well as the life on the ground. His images guide us to enter a world filled with emptiness and apprehend a reality that has lost its colors.

Little by little, I began collecting fragments from the Fukushima disaster.

I photographed moments that said something to me, especially moments that would not disappear in mere seconds. They were scenes that would linger in time, just like the radiation that lingered in Fukushima. I was collecting the fragments of people, ruins, landscapes, little odd scenes, and beautiful moments that existed within the devastation.

“How will people in the future who will see these photographs react and comprehend this disaster?”

I strolled around Fukushima with that question in mind.

It has been more than four years since the explosion of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. People continue living in the region without seeing much amelioration. I have no idea what will happen next.

The only thing I can do is to leave these pictures for the future generations, so that they can learn from history, as well as for them to come to terms with what this disaster truly means.

Winston Churchill once said that, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

I hope my photographs will serve a purpose.

Kosuke Okahara

“Recurring recollections of his time in a town started infiltrating the dreams of a photographer, pushing him to return to the dream and leaving reality.”

“blue affair” is an experimental shortfilm and a photobook based on the photographer’s dreams of his time spent in the town called Koza.

In the pictures captured in Koza by Kosuke Okahara, I don’t see the photographer. It’s not because he was the one photographing, or for some other physical reasons. I don’t find superficial emotions emanating through his lens from either the subjects or from the photographer. This might not make sense, but it feels to me as though while the photographer was with his subjects, looking directly at them, he was actually observing from another realm. What is left are pictures free from superficial emotions such as warmth and sadness and left with an almost unbearable weight of presence. Without a doubt, in those moments, while sharing the same space, he was observing from some other dimension.

– He was surely in the dreams.

Tatsuya Ishikawa / Creative director
(An excerpt from the afterword of the book)

Vanishing existence



Limited edition of 100
14.8 x 21 cm
40 pages
English & Japanese
Published in August, 2013
All hand made by the artist
Published by THE BACKYARD

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