A big job connected by employees
A request came in from one of Niijima’s former university professors, asking, “Might I request that your company do a job for me?”
The job involved compiling the cover interview of the popular design magazine, AXIS, into a single volume. Niijima felt some pressure knowing how important AXIS portraits were to his former professor. Still, he was delighted that he entrusted him with such a request.
Shinohara took charge of specifications and printing arrangements, while Niijima worked on the actual production stage. Shinohara had been considering a printing company that is appropriate for the content of AXIS, but the other party already had a printing company they were considering. There was a significant difference in terms of the costs for these printing companies. Nevertheless, we received agreement to proceed with our method of reflecting the producer’s intentions in detail for all processes of production despite the large cost and effort and were entrusted with all aspects. Therefore, we had a good form of tension within Shinohara Shiko surrounding this project.
The bookbinding method they used is called Swiss binding, whereby adhesive is applied by brush to the main text, then glued to the hard three-layer front cover. Since the cover and the main text are both finished at this stage, the usual final step of three-way cutting cannot be done. Therefore, if the attachment is even slightly off, the book will be ruined. Niijima manually worked on 2000 copies by himself and said that it was the most delicate work he had ever done up to that point.
The power of books
After the production was completed, Shinohara and Niijima were invited to a party to celebrate the book’s publication. The party venue, a gallery in Roppongi, was crowded with people, some of whom appeared in the book’s portraits. There was also a table with hand-drawn sketches and commentary printed about the people photographed. Niijima realized that without the communication and enjoyment fostered by this AXIS book, this atmosphere would not have been possible. He understood that books are not only for reading but also for creating a place for people to come together.
Shinohara and Niijima were the last to be mentioned when the people involved in the publication of the AXIS memorial book were introduced. They were presented with the words, “This would not have been possible without them.” It was a massive job for Shinohara Paper Works. It was a task that was always brimming with tension, but was both a great honor and a valuable experience.