Building on the Japanese term for personal injury, “Jin-shin Jiko,” or “human accident,” Yoko Tawada plays with words and syllables relating to body and soul, self and person, human and corpse, rhythm and silence. She gives a sound to the fast, orderly arrangement of local public transport in Tokyo’s subways – a machinery to which every passenger is subject, and one that is constantly being tested and perfected. Inspired by the station maps for individual lines that are posted in the corresponding train stations, the Japanese text is arranged vertically, alternating with the English translation, which is set horizontally on the reverse of each page. The two different reading directions create a dual format that is also repeated in the photographs preceding and following the text; the book can be viewed and read in landscape as well as in portrait format. The images show scenes from Tokyo’s subways, illustrating not only their inescapable-seeming closeness, but also the countless measures taken in the last few years to prevent incidents involving personal injury – such as barriers along the edges of the platforms, colored lights at the ends of the platforms, and emergency telephones.
Letterpressed with polymer plates in gray, partially underlaid with yellow and anthracite on old Toshaban-Genshi.
English translation: Margaret Mitsutani.
Binding made from Tsuchi-iri-Mitsumata paper, a Mitsumata paper dyed with coarse pigments.
Jacket made from First Vintage paper with a subway ticket for the Tokyo rail network tucked into it.
Acrylic sleeve with two-tone screen printing.
24 pages. 16 x 46 cm
Edition: 38 copies numbered with Arabic numerals and 6 copies numbered with Roman numerals
Karlsruhe, October 2018