We opened our ORION Letterpress with the thought of “Inheriting Artisanship of Printing, Bringing downtown Kofu back to life”.
As the very first letterpress workshop that opened in Yamanashi. We take our shop as a place of inheriting printing artisanship through experience the letterpress printing.
It all starts from encountering an empty shop in downtown Kofu, and some old types from Gifu prefecture. And we started our shop after collected 2 old letterpress machines which remind us of the old-time that they worked as the main machine in the printing industry.
Digitalization brought us convenience, while there are still some thoughts that can only be told by “inconvenience”.
We want to take your thoughts into real life as the concept of “Inheritance and Innovation”.
Wishing to become a place of inheriting the losing letterpress crafts to the next generations. And we make our goal of making Kofu become a city of various cultures by gathering people in the downtown.
We are looking forward to meeting everybody and especially,
you. Just come in and have fun.
70 years ago far from nowadays, The very first chairman of “OZ PRINTING Inc.” started “Mimeograph printing” by using a stylus to engrave words on stencils alone during the chaotic time after World War Ⅱ. And that is the very start of our company.
A few years later, during the period of high economic growth, the 2nd chairman of our company did a huge amount of changes due to the large number of printing needs that adapted to the cutthroat industry.
And nowadays, the generation of “Reiwa”.
With the spread of paperless offices and digitalization, the need for paper media which is mainly served in the printing industry is decreasing.
However, we still believe that there are still some thoughts that can only be told by “inconvenience”.
Looking back to those “advantages” that only paper has, we want everybody to experience the fun of the brilliant printing crafts. So why not join us to get back to the roots of printing with the tradition of Handmade Washi that is only provided in Yamanashi prefecture and printing crafts that we have.
Welcome to the world of letterpress printing which contains“Inheritance and Innovation”. Just feel free to come in and experience it.
We are waiting for your coming， sincerely with all our staffs.
The letterpress is a printing technique that belongs to relief printing. And relief printing is a technique that puts ink on the convex part of the printing plate, which will be pushed against the paper. The paper which is printed presents dented which caused by this technique is the most charming point of letterpress.
Different from normal printings, the dented parts make those printings look stereoscopic. Meanwhile, the softness of papers or even the warmness of the people’s hands can also be experienced through letterpress printing.
A page of the 42-line Bible(1455) – the very first letterpress printed book by Johannes Gutenberg
There are several theories of the origin of letterpress printing. But generally, letterpress printing originated in the Orient.
And the oriental letterpress started in 11 to 14 centuries in China and Korea, which used mud, copper, and wood to do the printing. However, the huge amount of type of Chinese characters which is needed to produce made it hard to develop and spread.
At the same time, the type metal and printing press that was inspired by the agriculture press was developed in the 14 century by a German printer named Johannes Gutenberg. And that started the Printing Revolution in Europe, which developed Europe’s culture.
In Japan, letterpress printing became popular from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji era. And Japanese type was developed by an interpreter named Shozo Motogi who was fascinated by the letterpress technique in Netherland. And that started the letterpress of early modern Japan.
Before Phototypesetting and desktop publishing appears, Letterpress printing was the mainstream in words printing.
However recently, the need for letterpress kept decreasing. Although letterpress is no longer the main character in business printing, it still has various special charming points that modern printing doesn’t have.
Picking types while thinking about others. The time of waiting for the ink to become dry is also a taste of letterpress.
The type is a shape of characters that is used to do the letterpress printing. Using the mirror writing characters to carve characters above the head of a prism, which will become a typeface.
Type metal is an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony in different proportions depending on the application, be it individual character mechanical casting for hand setting, mechanical line casting, or individual character mechanical typesetting and stereo plate casting. In English-speaking areas, they only need to make types of the alphabet. However in Japan, except for symbols, We have Chinese characters, Hiragana, and Katakana that is needed to make. And it is a huge amount of types. Nowadays, there are only 2 places in Japan that can make type metal in Japanese. We don’t want this craftsmanship to lose. Thus, we want to spread the charm of letterpress printing.