To highlight the international circuit of interesting and independent bookstores, we introduce a new series “Bookstores Around the World.”
First Stop: Japan. In Minato, Tokyo, Utrecht Bookstore is a must see. This new literary destination is both a shop, publishing house and small gallery space. Specializing in art books by young, up-and-coming artists, the collection of international publications is thoughtfully curated; you'll be sure to find a hidden gem or two.
We spoke to literary expert Futoshi Miyagi, who helps curate the selection, as well as manages the Tokyo Art Book Fair, to find out more.
When was Utrecht born?
Utrecht was founded in July 2002 as an online shop, then opened physical location in Daikanyama area in December 2002. Currently we are in Minami-Aoyama, but will be moving to Shibuya area in October. At first we carried more picture books and second-hand books, but gradually shifted towards carrying artists’ books and art publications/magazines.
What is the rarest publication you carry - a publication we might not find anywhere else ?
Bread Manga (Secondary Fermentation) by Michihiro Hori. It is a strange cartoon by Michihiro Hori. It’s printed and sold at UTRECHT only.
The Strangest ?
2214 by Masanao Hirayama (HIMAA). It is a Box inscribed with “ART BOOK”, containing nothing inside. Not for sale.
What magazine/publication are you most proud of carrying?
mono.kultur from Berlin. We insert Japanese translation (just a fraction) to every issue.
It is an interview magazine, each issue containing interview from single individual (artist/designer/architect etc).
What is your current hit ?
Science of the Secondary from Singapore. They investigates single topic each issue; the topics they choose are the most mundane ones in our daily lives.
How do you think the publishing industry has evolved in the last few years, is there a regain of interest ?
The community of independent book-/zine-makers have definitely evolved rapidly. We organize Tokyo Art Book Fair every year (2014 edition took place last weekend, 9/19-21), and the public interest in the field, as well as bookmakers’ passion, were both evident at the fair.
Do people come all over the world to your bookstore ?
Yes, but since we are so hidden, I feel that half of the foreign visitors trying to reach us gave up finding us… We do get more visitors from Asian countries in recent years.