La reliure japonaise traditionnelle : qu'est ce donc ?

Traditional Japanese binding: what is it?

Discover the traditional art of Japanese bookbinding : a fascinating technique that allows you to connect several elegantly embroidered pages. You can then create various personalized creations: Japanese pocket notebooks, Japanese drawing notebooks, Japanese notebooks or even Japanese paper diaries.
Originating from Japan , this artisanal binding method, known as "yotsume toji", embodies a subtle fusion between aesthetics, solidity and functionality .

What is Japanese bookbinding, this traditional Japanese art?

Japanese bookbinding is an artisanal method of book binding that originated in Japan . This technique is distinct from more common Western methods, such as square-back or seam binding.

Japanese bookbinding typically involves punching holes through the pages and cover of the book, then sewing the pages together using embroidery floss. There are several variations of Japanese binding, each having a specific perforation and therefore stitching pattern .
The history of Japanese bookbinding dates back centuries and is closely linked to the development of printing and publishing in Japan. The first examples of Japanese bookbinding date back to the 8th century, when Buddhist monks used this method to assemble their sacred and religious texts . However, the technique spread more widely from the 12th century with the advent of printing and the production of books in increasing quantities.

Over the centuries, Japanese bookbinding has evolved to accommodate the different styles of books and the varied needs of Japanese society. During the Edo period (1603-1868), Japanese bookbinding was widely used for books of poetry, graphic novels, and other forms of popular literature. It was appreciated for its flexibility, which allowed books to open flat, making reading and studying easier .

Over time, Japanese bookbinding survived despite the introduction of more Western binding methods. It has been preserved as part of Japanese cultural heritage . Today, Japanese bookbinding is still practiced and appreciated, both in Japan and abroad, as an artisanal bookbinding method offering unique aesthetics and practical functionality . Its rich history and cultural heritage make it more than just a craft technique: it embodies a connection between past and present, connecting generations through the art of bookmaking.

Today you can find several DIY tutorials for Japanese binding and DIY Japanese notebooks allowing you to create the creation of your choice.

Discover Japanese binding

A technique that combines solidity and aesthetics

Japanese bookbinding is distinguished by its harmonious combination of strength and aesthetics, making it a binding method that is both functional and visually appealing . It has several advantages, including its flexibility, which allows the book to open flat with a fold on each page.

In terms of strength, Japanese binding offers exceptional durability . The pages are bound together using durable embroidery thread, which is carefully interwoven through specially designed perforations. This process creates a strong structure where the pages remain firmly attached, even with regular use .

Aesthetically, Japanese bookbinding is a perfect example of attention to detail and elegance. The threads used to bind the pages can be traced in different ways, creating stitching patterns that become decorative elements of the book cover. The materials used, such as traditional Japanese paper (Washi Chiyogami) and fine fabrics, add texture .

Japanese bound diaries

Drawing notebooks in Japanese binding

Notepads in Japanese binding

Thus, Japanese binding continues to be appreciated for its artisanal character and simple beauty, and it is still used today, in an artisanal way, in the design of writing notebooks, drawing books, diaries or the aesthetic aspect is important.

Japanese bookbinding discovery workshops in Lyon

Come and discover with us how to make a Japanese-bound notebook during a workshop, in or near Lyon. For 2 hours, we teach you the technique and history of Japanese binding and you create your own personalized Japanese notebook . A lovely moment of creation and discovery!

Japanese bookbinding workshop

A multitude of possible creations: our examples handcrafted in our workshop in Lyon

Concerning us, we make all our notebooks in our workshop in Lyon, respecting Japanese culture . The manufacture of Japanese notebooks requires training in the Japanese binding technique being very precise and meticulous.

To start, we create all of our notebooks with traditional Japanese paper. Indeed, we make the double-sided covers in “ Washi Chiyogami” paper which is itself printed and screen-printed in Japan, near Kyoto . This is an aesthetic and very high quality traditional paper, ideal for this practice. You will be able to discover the many Chiyogami Washi paper patterns that exist in our collections!

Washi Chiyogami papers

Finally, for our notebooks and diaries we do Japanese binding by hand, with embroidery thread. This guarantees a quality and unique artisanal result . We can then create a personalized notebook or a personalized drawing book for you, with a large choice of covers .
When it comes to binding, there is nothing more beautiful than handmade work, which then guarantees an artisanal notebook full of character.

So, we know that it will follow you everywhere and that you will enjoy filling it with your memories and little notes!


Moreover, our Japanese notebooks are in the spotlight in this Anagapée article which lists lovely gift ideas for the end-of-year holidays!

Back to blog