Share this project


Share this project

Photo 1024x768

Art Space Tokyo is a beautiful guide to Tokyo through its art world. We're funding an update, reprint and iPad edition. Read more

Art Books
Share this project
pledged of $15,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on May 1, 2010.

Art Space Tokyo is a beautiful guide to Tokyo through its art world. We're funding an update, reprint and iPad edition.

Art Books
Share this project

About this project

"... an unexpectedly stunning bit of cultural travelogue" — Khoi Vinh "This gorgeous book is a working guide, but it’s also a work of art." — Kirkus Review

Art Space Tokyo acts as your 272 page personal guide and interpreter, connecting you with the neighborhoods and figures behind some of the most inspiring art spaces in this colossal city.

Together, with your help, this is what we're going to make:


A reprinting of Art Space Tokyo: an intimate guide to Tokyo via its art spaces.

- 272 pages - hardcover - 2-color silkscreened cloth cover - 12 detailed area maps - 50+ ink illustrations by renowned Japanese artist Nobumasa Takahashi - two-dozen interviews and essays with gallery owners, curators, collectors and artists, bringing to light the varied landscape of the Japanese contemporary art world - beautifully printed and bound in Japan

We're updating the foreword, timeline, making editorial corrections throughout, updating neighborhood recommendations, and ensuring all data is accurate. The art spaces featured, interviews and essays are all the same as the original printing.


A free, full-content HTML based web edition of the book designed specifically for the iPad with supplementary content.

We'll also take this as a chance to explore frameworks (programmatic, typographic, etc) and best practices for bringing books to the iPad as apps, and for sale in the iBookstore.

Art Space Tokyo is a perfect book for this sort of experimentation. It contains long, unbroken essays. Interviews with multiple participants. Both large (full-spread) illustrations and small accent illustrations.

We want to add video content (extended interviews, videos of the spaces, interviews with neighborhood shop-owners), and photos. Sounds — recording of neighborhood ambiance. Inline interactive maps. And deeper, direct reader involvement: neighborhood suggestions, commenting and discussions.

In other words, Art Space Tokyo is one of those rare books that spans a myriad of genres, storytelling forms and media. We feel this is a perfect foundation on which to deeply explore the storytelling potential of the iPad.

This process of exploration will be documented and shared with the publishing and content creation communities.


Anyone who donates $850 or more will be able to send in a photograph from which Nobumasa Takahashi will produce an original, sumi-e ink drawing (in the vernacular of the illustrations found in Art Space Tokyo), signed in an edition of 1. (Final size of piece aprox. 10"x10")



Note: your credit card won't be charged for the amount you specify unless we get all $15,000 or more in funding by April 31st. If you have problems with the payment system here, please email us ( and we'll figure out an alternative payment method.


Ashley Rawlings (co-author / editor) and I (Craig Mod — co-author / designer) love this book.

Lots of people love this book. But nobody can get it.

We crafted this book out of our blood and sweat (and mikan oranges) in 2008. It's been sold out since the spring of 2009.

So we got the rights to republish it and are doing it on our own — with your help.

Some images of the lost tome in question:

One of our 12 detailed area maps:


This project is about eating my own dog food. In large handfuls.

I wrote an article on the future of books in the context of the iPad, and this project aims to embody much of what I wrote about there.

The printed book edition of Art Space Tokyo is a beautiful object, well-built and fully embracing of its physicality.

The iPad (or 'tablet') edition will feature reimagined content and experiment with different forms for the narratives. We’ll report back to the community with our findings. What works and doesn’t work when bringing a Definite Content book like Art Space Tokyo to the iPad? We really want to find out, and think a lot of you do too.

Because this is a niche project, we eschew traditional distribution channels, sell direct, and set the price high enough to ensure the returns can lead to more experimentation and expansion on the project.

That this book should exist and grow — both physically and digitally — is something Ashley and I feel in our bones. If you have any interest in art or Tokyo, live in Japan or plan on visiting, then you’ll get something from this book.

And if you donate over $850 you get an original piece of art (a fantastic deal considering Takahashi's usual commission rates) from one of the most hardworking Japanese artists today. (Seriously, Takahashi-san is a machine — inspiring and evolving and hustling to keep doing the work he loves.)

But really, this project is exciting because we're in the middle of a new era of publishing. We should give niche books like this beautiful digital and physical forms, while simultaneously ensuring they have a chance to flourish, produce tangible returns and become sustainable financial ecosystems and brands in and of themselves.

We want this to be a start of a series of beautiful books — both physical and digital — capturing the the essence of cities around the world through an exploration of their art spaces. We want an Art Space Mumbai, Art Space NYC, Art Space Beijing. An Art Space London and Art Space Berlin. Art Space Melbourne and Art Space Beirut.

The funding of this project is the first step in moving towards that goal. We thank you an advance for your support. And very much look forward to exploring these new narrative spaces together.

Craig Mod, March 2010

About Us

Craig Mod — is a designer, developer, writer and publisher exploring new forms for the future of story telling in the context of an increasingly digital world. He is the co-author, designer and now publisher of Art Space Tokyo.

Ashley Rawlings Editor and co-author Ashley Rawlings is a specialist in postwar Japanese art. After graduating with a BA in Japanese studies from the University of Cambridge, he moved to Tokyo in 2005, where he worked as a freelance editor, writer and translator. His writing on the Tokyo art scene has appeared in several Japanese and international printed and online publications, including The Japan Times, ART iT, ArtAsiaPacific and He is now based in New York, where he works as features editor of ArtAsiaPacific.
Nobumasa Takahashi Born in 1973 in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, Nobumasa Takahashi has been exhibiting his work extensively for the past 10 years. Most recently he has held solo exhibitions in collaboration with design shop Cibone and has been comissioned by Microsoft to illustrate the back of the Zune.

Nobumasa contributed over 50 illustrations to Art Space Tokyo, including all exterior renditions of the spaces, profile portraits and a variety of other illustrative design elements.

You can view more of his work online at his website, Bamboolove:


"... an unexpectedly stunning bit of cultural travelogue" — Khoi Vinh "Much of the charm of the guide is in the little observations, the sly asides and the high and wide originality of the artists, whom Mod and Rawlings capture and pin to the page like a collection of polychromatic butterflies. This gorgeous book is a working guide, but it’s also a work of art." — Kirkus Review “Art Space Tokyo is the definitive book on contemporary art in Tokyo ... this book provides a singularly unique critical, social, and cultural perspective on art in Japan. ” — Viewers Like You

Even more press here.

More about the book on


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    28 backers

    PDF + access to all project updates

  • You selected
    Pledge $65 or more

    155 backers

    All of the above + reprinted hardcover edition of Art Space Tokyo

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    64 backers

    All of the above + name in credits page as patron

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    11 backers Limited (20 left of 31)

    All of the above + signed hardcover edition + limited edition Art Space Tokyo TENUGUI (traditional Japanese wrapping/utility cloth)

  • You selected
    Pledge $850 or more

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    All of the above + original drawing by Japanese artist / Art Space Tokyo illustrator Nobumasa Takahashi

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    All of the above + I (Craig Mod) take you on a 1 day personalized tour of Tokyo galleries & cafes, tailored to your liking (sorry, no sexy stuff)


Funding period

- (33 days)