Books On Books Collection – Katsumi Komagata

Les Livres de … Katsumi Komagata (2013)
Jean Widmer
Paperback, 170 x 225 mm, 176 pages. Paris: Les Trois Ourses, 2013. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

A catalog raisonné from Komagata’s early employer. Its photography captures the subtle layers and shadows of Komagata’s cutouts and his brilliant handling of colours and typography. Given the ongoing output of Komagata’s firm One Stroke, another catalogue will be needed in a few more years.

A Cloud (2007)

A Cloud (2007)
Katsumi Komagata
Perfect bound within hinged whiteboard; H250 x W310 mm; 26 pages.
Tokyo: One Stroke, 2007. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Komagata presents both a narrative and a cloudscape by combining a choice of different papers for each page with carefully placed die cuts of cloud shapes to match the French, English and Japanese texts.

Little tree/petit arbre (2008)

Little Tree/Petit arbre (2008)
Katsumi Komagata
Perfect bound in greyboard covers, gold-colored ink within hole-punched tree shape on front cover; card paper in various colours and textures; H210 x W210 mm; 28 pages.
Tokyo: One Stroke, 2008. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

The pop-up is a key part of Komagata’s signature techniques, which include the masterful use of different coloured and textured papers, ink and typography. While this video and the collection photos here may provide a balanced view of those elements, they do not convey the integral trilingual text that is far more than a narrative of this little tree’s appearance and disappearance.


Katsumi Komagata
Eight 4-panel cards in a box. H235 x 77 x 28 mm. Acquired from One Stroke, 26 March 2020. Photo: Books On Books Collection.

In Buddhism, the word Ichigu is associated with a particular saying from the monk Saicho (767-822): 隅を照らす Ichigu wo terasu, which means “Light up one corner”. The word can also denote “landscape”.

One side of each card is screen printed black; the other remains white. The cards offer a wealth of views — individually and combined — landscapes that change with the light and from one juxtaposition to another. Komagata’s works have a philosophical and emotional profundity that makes them cherished and frequently revisited items in this collection.

Further Reading

Huang, Honglan. “Komagata’s “Paperscapes”: Theatricality and Materiality in Blue to Blue“, Libri & Liberi, 2019, Vol.8 (2). Accessed 22 March 2020.

Kember, Pamela, Ed. “Katsumi Komagata“, Benezit Dictionary of Asian Artists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Accessed 22 March 2020.

Komagata, Katsumi. “Los libros nacieron” / “The books were born“, at Ilustratour 2014. Accessed 22 March 2020. (Komagata reads A Cloud at mark 7’02” and comments on Little Tree at mark 9’19”.)

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