Japanese Craftsman Restores Old Books To Look New

Instead of being lost to memory, an old, tattered 1,000-page English-Japanese dictionary was given new life when its owner handed it over to Nobuo Okano, a Japanese master craftsman who has spent 30 years perfecting the art of restoring old books.

His process was detailed on a Japanese show called Fascinating Craftsman (Shuri, Bakaseru). The most painstaking part is probably when he individually unfolds every page’s corners with a tweezer and irons them! Read on for more about the process.

Nobuo Okano has been restoring books for 30 years

A guy brought an old, 1,000-page English-Japanese dictionary

He used it in his youth and now wants to restore it and give it to his daughter

Nobuo begins by shaving the old glue from the spine

The book had some maps of English-speaking countries. They suffered greatly, so Nobuo glued them to new sheets of paper

The color doesn’t match perfectly, but he can prevent them from degrading further

The most monotonous part is straightening out every page corner with tweezers…

…and then wetting and ironing the corners straight!

He even has a special tiny iron for the job

The owner wrote his high school sweetheart’s initials on the book in ink

Using a heavy-duty paper cutter, Okano removes the color from the edges

New, minty-fresh pages!

Last but not least, the cover, with the original title on a brand-new background

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