Sims Reed Rare Books×

Mo Hitotsu No Kuni / Another Country in New York

Moriyama Daido

(Tokyo). (Self-published by the artist). 1974
The very scarce first edition of Moriyama's hand-made artist's book, the variant with the American flag cover, this copy signed 'Daido' by Moriyama.

From the edition limited to approximately 100 copies.

Moriyama spent two months in New York in 1971, accompanying his friend the designer Tadanori Yokoo during his show at MoMA. It was Moriyama’s first trip out of Japan, and he produced a masterpiece of improvised book-making from the images he shot there with his half-frame camera. In 1974, Moriyama rented a Tokyo shop and a photocopy machine for 14 days, and produced the copies of this rarest of Japanese photobooks, while each customer waited. At most 100 copies were sold.

Moriyama produced three covers for the book (see below), this copy features the silkscreen cover based on the colours of the American flag with Moriyama's repeated self-portrait motif and English title in white. The variant cover aside, each copy of the book is unique, the pages displaying different variations in framing and tone. The finest examples display an extraordinary tonal quality, a texture that is almost that of a silkscreen in the fine gradations of black.

'We borrowed the copy machine from Canon. When we did this, the quality still wasn't very good; the tone was inconsistent, and parts of the image would get lost. But that degradation was the interesting thing about it. Also, it seemed like the most appropriate treatment for material related to New York. It was the right timing. It was partially intentional and partially play. Rather than doing a photobook, I wanted to do something self-made. At that time, I was also interested in silkscreens. So I printed the cover with silkscreen. All along the walls, we hung up the silk-screened covers to dry. There were three cover versions. One included the American flag, which I think of as a self-portrait in a way, and then the title fit in between the red and blue. This was in part the influence of Andy Warhol in 1967 and '68. With the interior pages the feel I wanted was closer to that of a copy machine. While the silkscreens were drying, I had the customer have a coffee and wait. I asked them to choose which cover they liked, and then I would staple the bundle together and hand it over. That was interesting. It was 1974.' (From Photography in Print, An Interview with Daido Moriyama, in Kaneko & Vartanian - Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and '70s, pg. 29).

Although later facsimile editions can be found, this original edition is truly scarce and as per Moriyama's own comments, few copies were assembled and sold at the time. OCLC reports copies at the SF MoMA and the Tate in London only; we locate one other copy at Princeton's Marquand Library.

The American flag motif used for the cover features Moriyama's repeated self-portrait.

[Parr & Badger I, 301; Kaneko & Vartanian pp. 28 - 29].
[22 unnumbered leaves]. Small folio. (318 x 214 mm). Printed title in Japanese and English (signed 'Daido' in black felt pen) with Japanese text verso, 20 leaves with Moriyama's photocopied images recto and verso, final leaf with 'The End' recto and colophon verso. Original stapled silkscreen wrappers with American flag design, Moriyama's repeated self-portrait motif and title in white.