Recently I received an email from friend and author, Dr. Mark Brazil regarding a new book he has written. Many of my readers will recognize that Dr. Brazil is the author of ‘A Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia’, the premier English guide to the birds of this region.
Over the last few years Mark has been preparing a collection of essays about the natural history of Japan, writing, editing and shaping them to weave a seasonal and cultural tapestry. The work, The Nature of Japan: From Dancing Cranes to Flying Fish, is now complete.
Mark has commissioned Hisashi Masuda, a budding Hokkaido-based artist-naturalist, to produce the illustrations and earlier this year he delivered a very fine set of extremely attractive line drawings to complement the text. Conservation biologist Ian Redmond OBE kindly wrote the foreword for the book. The laborious preparatory process, including scanning of the artwork, is now complete. The book’s layout has been designed, the cover has been completed (a draft of the cover and several sample pages are below). The book runs to over 300 pages and contains 75 illustrations; it will have a cover price of ¥2,800 plus tax in Japan. All that remains now is to print it and distribute it, but that of course is expensive.
In the time-honoured fashion of 18th and 19th century artists, musicians, playwrights, and authors, Dr. Brazil is inviting subscriptions to help this new work on its way.
By pooling one off subscriptions he hopes to be able to finance the production, printing and artwork for this work. The Nature of Japan is the first ever volume about the natural history of this amazing archipelago in English and the first book to be illustrated by Hisashi Masuda.
Anyone interested in natural history, in Japan, and in natural history literature, would be interested in this project and might consider supporting it by subscribing.
Subscribers who contribute from ¥6,000-12,000 will each receive a first edition of The Nature of Japan signed by both author and artist, numbered, and with a personalized dedication.
Supporters who contribute ¥25,000 or more will each receive a first edition of The Nature of Japan signed by both author and artist, numbered, and with a personalized dedication, along with a second signed and numbered copy suitable as a gift for a friend, and a 2014 calendar produced by Hisashi Masuda.
The goal is to raise at least half of the production costs by individual subscription to cover the costs of production within 2013. He is looking for corporate sponsorship for the remainder.