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In Japan, Gary Young 2017

Ninja Press is exceedingly pleased to announce the publication of its most recent book for 2017, In Japan by Gary Young. These previously unpublished prose poems resonate with unerring clarity and a streamlined diction honed over years spent enveloped in the misty redwood forest and streams of his home in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

Searching for words, hunting for phrases, when will it end?
Esteeming knowledge and gathering information only maddens the spirit.
Just entrust yourself to your own nature, empty and illuminating—

                                                                   —Bankei Yōtaku (1622-1693)

The type is hand set Meridien with Neuland for the display. The type was designed by two of the great 20th century type designers: Adrian Frutiger with Meridien in 1955; and Rudolph Koch with Neuland in 1923. The text is printed letterpress on a Vandercook Universal I flatbed proof press.

The text paper is kitakata, handmade in Japan. Each faintly green text sheet is folded at the fore edge, then painted by hand with walnut ink. An ensō (empty circle) inhabits each page and is printed in a second color. The ensō is a brushed circular form common in Zen Buddhist art representing the ultimate Zen theme suggesting both emptiness and completion.

The end sheets are kakishibu, a persimmon-washed, cinnamon-colored handmade Japanese paper. The persimmon wash acts as a tannin, rendering the paper both water-proof and insect-proof.

The snow white cover is a doubl­e layer of kyoseishi which means "strengthened paper." This handmade paper from Japan is coated with konnyaku juice, a form of starch derived from the konjac plant, also known as devil's tongue, voodoo lily, or snake palm. Konnyaku juice gives added strength and impermeability to the paper. Strong, flexible and water-resistant, historically it has been used to make clothing as well as paper.

The book is sewn using black silk thread exposed near the spine. A clear acrylic slipcase protects the book while revealing the cover, its sewing, and the foredge painting.

The design, presswork, painting, and binding are by Carolee Campbell at Ninja Press.

The edition is comprised of 75 signed and numbered copies with an additional 8 lettered hors commerce.

8.75 inches by 10.50 inches. 36 pages. $450