File #13
book cellar amus/amus arts press

book cellar amus/amus arts press
Oei Bldg. B1F (B6), 2-8-1 Nishi-Temma
Kita-ku, Osaka
Tel: 06-4709-7082
Hours: 11:00-20:00 (Tue. 12:00-)
Closed Sun. and every fourth Thu.

In this installment, I continue with another venue that won't be around much longer. I had only known about book cellar amus through the free paper and e-mail magazine they publish; this was my first actual visit. Opened in October 1999, the shop will be closing after exactly four years at the end of October. Housed in the basement of an old building in Osaka's Nishi-Temma, home to a collection of galleries and antique shops, the book shop specializes in foreign books on art, photography, design and architecture as well as poetry anthologies and picture books.

Comprising a small cafe and a gallery, the shop hosts a variety of interesting events, making it a center of cultural information in the city. The publishing company, amus arts press, also emerged here. With an emphasis on visual art that supersedes time and place as well as language, the company publishes books with a contemporary perspective and has served to introduce some of Japan's most radical writers to the world. Though he is not the owner, Hamada Nobuyoshi has been involved with the company since its inception and has been working with books for close to 30 years. With a career that has included everything from book shop manager to editor, his principal occupation, Hamada's work at amus involves a host of different jobs.

If nothing else, the fact that the shop is the only one of its kind in Osaka makes its imminent closure a tragedy. With increases in the purchase of used books and on-line shopping, it is, I suppose, a sign of the times. This is not only limited to the publishing industry - following various media developments, the distribution system (supply and demand) is going through massive changes. Ultimately, it is human relations and communication that will suffer I fear. The only thing one can do is hope that something new will grow out of the situation.