accordion structure comprises a large group of books and variations,
including orihon, sempuyo, nobiru gajo
and nori-ire gajo, each of which is of such importance
and versatility that it will be treated separately.
scroll might be compared to a modern cassette tape to find
some particular passage the scroll must be spooled through until
the required passage has been located, in much the same way that
a cassette must be wound back and forth until the right track
has been found. The development of the book, with its discrete
pages, represents as much of an advance on the scroll as the Compact
Disc on the cassette one can immediately jump to whatever
page one wants.
The orihon structure was developed during the Heian period
(7941185), and was traditionally used for Buddhist sutras.
It is thought that if an orihon book inscribed with Buddhist sutras
is 'cascaded' from hand-to-hand, the draught created by the falling
pages has healing properties if directed to the affected part
of the sufferer's body. In Japanese Buddhist monasteries it is
still sometimes possible to receive this treatment.
orihon structure developed out of the scroll simply by
folding the scroll into an accordion-fold and pasting it between
covers. In this form it was both easier to access and to store
and, although not yet truly a 'book-shaped' book this was the
vital step in its development. Structure The basic orihon
book consists simply of an accordion-folded sheet of paper bound
within soft or hard covers. The paper can be a single long strip,
or several smaller strips pasted together. Traditionally, smaller
sheets would be pasted into a long strip with little regard paid
to where the joins fell; as the style developed, however, the
joins were usually planned to fall at the page folds.
the flaps all fall at the same (usually fore-) edge, the book
will have greater thickness one side than the other; for this
reason if there are to be a great number of joins they are sometimes
placed at the back- and fore-edges alternately, even though the
back-edge joins are more visible than the fore-edge joins. If
an even number of pages is used, the book will have a definite
'front' and 'back'; if an odd number of pages is used, the concepts
of 'frontness' and 'backness' may be more equivocal either
doubling the capacity of the book, or enabling a double book not
dissimilar to the Western dos-à-dos structure.
orihon page construction methods
There may be no endpapers; the main pages may be attached to the
covers by means of a narrow tab which is overlaid with a single
sheet of decorative paper; or an extra page-pair of a decorative
paper may be used.
of the illustrations in this section are temporary; they will
be replaced with the final pictures shortly.
a set of nori-ire gajo books made from old envelopes; by the author
A common use in the West is in children's books; room friezes
are often packaged orihon-fashion, and some board books are constructed
in orihon form, occasionally with integral covers (see Children's
Board Book, right). The form is also frequently used in advertising
leaflets which, although consisting of no more than a single sheet
of folded paper, might properly be considered orihon books (seeAdvertising
book artist may find the orihon indispensable for two or three
of its characteristics:
while it is possible to read each page or pair of pages
individually, it is also possible to view all the pages at once,
or in non-contiguous groups.
arrangement of pages of an
orihon alphabet book
is a very useful attribute in the case of panoramic pictures,
time-line diagrams, and some records of performance and conceptual
art, for example, Horizon to Horizon and Alps Horizon by Hamish
Fulton; the all-at-one-view property is exploited in various books
by Sarah Jackson. In England orihon-form maps, showing the route
between only two towns stylised but showing landmarks and
road junctions were known as 'stagecoach maps'. (See The
Northern Line, flat, right,for a modern equivalent of the stagecoach
map by the author.)
because of their compound action, orihon books can be very
useful as scrapbooks. Guarding of the pages is unnecessary
however thick the scraps in the book, so long as they are not
too close to the folds, the book will simply expand uniformly
(see Scrapbook, right).
Sometimes the orihon is used for no apparent reason other
than that it is attractive and unusual. Perhaps it is for no deeper
reason than this that it is used for such books as Tony Hayward's
Indian Sandwich series, 1994, right.
When opened, the orihon book can assume a very sculptural
form (see The Northern Line, fanned, right).
An alternative construction is to paste the separate pieces of
paper together at the fore-edges, album-style (nori-ire gajo).
This results in no increase in thickness even though all the joins
are at the fore edge, and also means that the fore edge can be
guillotined for a uniform finish; however, it is not possible
for the book to be opened flat to show more than a two-page spread.
similar in appearance to the orihon, album-style bindings are
a separate development in that the pages are of individual pieces
of paper assembled into a book rather than formed by folding a
Since each two-page spread is composed of a separate piece of
paper, if desired each could be of a completely different paper,
or a series of pages not originally intended for binding, eg small
posters. This useful property is shared with many Japanese book
structures, eg nobiru gajo, detchoso, sempuyo.
The orihon book with double-leaved album pages (nobiru
gajo). is similar in appearance to the nori-ire gajo
but the separate pieces of paper, each twice the page width, are
folded in half, text-side inward, and tipped together at both
the fore and back edges.
This results in a much stiffer page than the basic orihon, which
may be useful if the book is to stand open self-supported for
display. Moreover, since each page is now double, both sides of
the page can be written on even with a fluid ink which would bleed
through a single page.
In general, the applications for both nobiru gajo and
nori-ire gajo are the same as for orihon books,
except that since the book is constructed of two-page spreads
joined together, the problems of imposition (the conflict of 'readers'
spreads' and 'printers' spreads') will not apply, making this
a very convenient vehicle for home computer publishing. This is
a major convenience, and one which applies to many Japanese bookforms.
For a fuller discussion of this topic, see Appendix II: Imposition.
each spread (pair of facing pages) could if required be of a completely
different paper. Keith A Smith has described contertina books
as offering, 'easily the most potential for variation of any bindings'
(Non-adhesive bindings, Keith A Smith, 1992).
The sempuyo binding was developed during the Heian period,
and was more popular in China than in Japan, where few examples
are to be found.
Sempuyo binding consists of an orihon book constrained
at the back by a wrapper passing round the back edge, pasted to
the fore edges and usually also the back edges of the endpapers.
The joining of the fore edges may be by means of flaps, orihon-style
or, more neatly, nori-ire gajo style which allows guillotining
of the fore edge.
Structure of the sempuyo book
of the sempuyo wrapper
The 'wrapping' around the back of the book can be achieved in
many creative ways in addition to the traditional sheet of paper.
The covers are then attached to this wrapper instead of directly
to the endpapers. This construction gives the orihon book a more
familiar feel, as it opens and handles more-or-less like a normal
Western book. The sempuyo is also known as the 'flutter
book' because, although the pages are constrained at the back
they are not attached, and if the book is read outdoors all the
pages may flutter out of the covers in the breeze, causing some
embarrassment to the reader and amusement to onlookers!
of the sempuyo wrapper
Orihon-construction children's board book with
Northern Line flat
one of a set of three books by Tony Hayward, 1994
The Northern Line fanned
This is an extremely useful bookform for the self-publisher and
book artist: as well as being elegant and versatile, its pages
do not need to be imposed (see Appendix II: Imposition) and if
required each pair of pages could be of a different colour or
type of paper, or indeed a completely different material altogether
(see Makereadies and Flyers, right).
sempuyo feels very comfortable when held open in the
hand, but when opened and placed flat on a table some of the pages
will tend to stick up in the air (see Flyers, right). This is
because the two halves of the text block (the 'read'part and the
'unread' part) are held apart by the part of the wrapper which
encloses the spine. This might be thought of as a disadvantage,
but it has been cleverly exploited by the designer of a Compact
Disc storage system as one 'page' is pushed down, the next
springs up, presenting one with another CD (see CD Storage System,
This book was constructed from scraps of printers' 'makeready'
sheets. By the author
this book was constructed from found A5 flyers.
CD storage system
based on the detchoso book structure