book before and after

In the digital age we live in, not many people appreciate the value of physical books, much less take the effort to conserve them.

For most, preserving old books involves polyester film, hardy book covers and a constant self-reminder not to dog-ear your pages. But Japanese craftsman and book conservator Okano Nobuo takes preservation to an entirely new level, repairing tattered books to give them a brand new look.

In a video on YouTube, the craftsman takes a look at an old Japanese-English dictionary brought in by a customer. It appears war-torn and barely held together with elastic bands. Using basic tools like a wooden press, chisel, water and glue, Okano handles the book carefully, slicing and scraping off the worn edges of the book.

Patience is definitely a virtue Okano possesses, as he flattens the folds and creases on every page individually with a pair of tweezers and small iron. He then repairs torn pages, gives the book a new spine, replaces the cover with a shiny new leather one, and even removes the unwanted initials of a past girlfriend.

okano materials

new paper

pages before and after

gf initials

It’s not their shape or form but what’s inside them that attracts us to books.Okano Nobuo

The craftsman’s painstaking effort slowly breathes life back into the dead vessel. And to us, it certainly is heartening to know of a man whose passion lies in the restoration of old books, especially in this age of technology.

See Okano reconstitute a customer’s old Japanese-English dictionary here in a video titled ‘Wii Room: The Fascinating Repairmen. #013 The Book’.

Images sourced and text referenced from This Is Colossal and Reddit.

Christian Russell Teo
Christian is an aspiring writer and food addict currently studying in NTU as a Linguistics major. Each day starts with a battle between man and bed. A metalhead at heart, he loves heavy riffs and blast beats as much as he does telling stories about the interesting and weird.