Japanese stab binding (also known as Japanese binding, side stitch or oriental binding) is one of the simplest forms of bookbinding, created from several holes punched down one side of the book, through which thread is passed.
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Stitched binding first appeared in China in the sixteenth century, before spreading to Japan and Korea. The Japanese bindings were either four-hole (Chinese style) or five-hole (Korean style) bindings. The two methods existed side by side in Japan during the Edo period (between 1603 and 1868). They were commonly used for cheap novels, reflecting the growing literacy rate and the need for access to publications. It was the last stage of hand bookbinding before industrial and machine processes took over.
The main Japanese version of stab binding is called Yotsume Toji, which roughly translates to “four holes.” The standard four-hole stitch can be made more ornate and intricate by adding more holes and using various stitched patterns.