Art Space Tokyo cover straight on boom

On Pre/Post & Art Space Tokyo

We’re in the pre- era of publishing and media. Some consider it the era of pre- digital dominance or pre- death of printed matter.

Others hear the talk of change, clutch their hardcovers and shrug it off as a bunch of hype: the pre- not worth worrying about it era.

Whatever we consider this pre- era to be, it’s undeniably post- many things that defined publishing until about ten years ago. It’s post- having to bend to big distributors. It’s post- ignoring the screen as a viable reading space. And we’re rapidly closing in on post- printing mass-market throwaway books (they’ll work great digitally).

Our new edition of Art Space Tokyo embraces this nebulous reality of contemporary publishing. We strived to make the physical book a beautifully designed object. We built it to last, if you will. And we hope our deep respect for the printed book as a storytelling canvas is reflected in the finished product.

Simultaneously this project embraces digital. The online editions of this book (currently in production) are concerned not only with craftsmanship but also the advantages that networked connectivity, portability and increasingly high-resolution screens bring to the experience of reading.

There’s one more special point about this edition: it was entirely crowd-funded by 270 backers using the online service Kickstarter. Without their generous support, none of this—neither the second printing of the hardcover nor the digital edition—would exist. For believing in our vision, allowing us to explore this new pre-post- era of publishing, and helping keep alive a project so dear to our hearts, we thank you.

Craig Mod, Tokyo, May 2010

Book Details

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.

Each of the featured spaces has been rendered as a striking illustration by Nobumasa Takahashi. The book covers art spaces in neighborhoods such as Ginza, Yanaka, Gaienmae, Omotesando, Harajuku, Roppongi, Asakusa and more. The neighborhood surrounding each art space has been meticulously mapped with recommendations for the best food, coffee and sights to enjoy in an afternoon of art viewing.

Whether you live in Japan or not, if you want insight into the Tokyo art world, this is the book for you.

Like all PRE/POST books, Art Space Tokyo is lovingly designed and produced.

Production Details

  • ISBN: 978-0-9845958-0-8
  • 272 Pages
  • Clothbound
  • 2 color silk screen, 1 color foil stamping on case
  • 2 color printing on Japanese papers throughout
  • 50+ ink illustrations
  • 12 detailed neighborhood maps
  • Sewn in bookmark


Ashley Rawlings

Ashley Rawlings

Editor and co-author Ashley Rawlings is a specialist in postwar and contemporary Japanese art. After graduating with a BA in Japanese studies from the University of Cambridge, he moved to Tokyo in 2005, where he conducted research into the late-1960s Mono-ha movement at Sophia University while also working as a freelance editor, writer and translator. His writing on the Tokyo art scene has appeared in numerous Japanese and international publications, including ArtAsiaPacific magazine, where he was managing editor. He currently divides his time between London, Tokyo and New York.

Online at

Craig Mod

Craig Mod

Co-author and designer of Art Space Tokyo. Founder of PRE/POST. Splitting his time between the Palo Alto startup world and Tokyo.

View his other work online at

Nobumasa Takahashi

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.

You can view more of his work online at his homepage, Bamboolove.


Edited by:

Ashley Rawlings


Preface, wayfinding notes, neighborhood and art space descriptions by Craig Mod and Ashley Rawlings

Book & Map Design:

Craig Mod


Profile and art space illustrations by Nobumasa Takahashi
Cover illustration by Craig Mod


Mahiro from Gallery ef by Manami Kamikawa, October 2007
All other interviews by Ashley Rawlings, winter 2007-2008

Translations of interviews and essays as follows:

Yuko Enomoto: Ryutaro Takahashi, Fumihiko Sumitomo
Manami Kamikawa: GA Gallery, 21_21 Design Sight, Gallery ef, Aoyama | Meguro
Lisa Kato: Ikko Suzuki & Kirara Kawachi
Darryl Jingwen Wee: Hara Museum
Lena Oishi: Project Space Kandada, Aoyama | Meguro
Ashley Rawlings: Gallery Koyanagi, Tetsuya Ozaki, SCAI The Bathhouse, Misa Shin, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Ghibli Museum
Tomomi Sasaki: Watari-um, Ghibli Museum

transcriptions by:

Yuko Enomoto, Hiroyasu Hirakawa, Manami Kamikawa, Lisa Kato, Mayuko Kohno, Lena Oishi, Ashley Rawlings, Aya Satomoto and Sanae Toyota

editorial assistance:

Yuko Enomoto, Katrina Grigg-Saito and Bruce Rutledge


Art Space Tokyo Cover


Art Space Tokyo is a great hardcover guide to the contemporary art scene in the sprawling city of Tokyo.”

The Editors, Superfuture

“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.

Graphic Spotlight, Kirkus Review

“... an unexpectedly stunning bit of cultural travelogue.”

Khoi Vinh, Subtraction

“I have never visited Tokyo, but when I do, I know what book to pack.”

Mandy Brown, A Working Library

“[This] compact volume revels in being a monument at a moment when permanence can seem but a stylistic choice.”

Philip Tinari, LEAP

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.

Ian Lynam, Viewers Like You

“I've been in the print business in one facet or another for the majority of my life, and this book is undoubtedly quality.

Andrew Noyes, Amazon User Review

[I]nsight into the city's world of contemporary art ... readers are treated to a variety of revealing interviews with gallery owners and art fair operators, among others, as well as essays by art critics and other specialists.”

Cristoph Mark, Daily Yomiuri

Art Space Tokyo took us to many amazing places that we otherwise would not have discovered. The fun is in the journey ... you’ll soon discover that each one of the 12 destinations is easily a full day of exploration. So if you have 12 days in Tokyo, then you’re set!”

Justine, Upon A Fold

Art Space Tokyo has a unique visual rhythm which is created through the absence of photography. Instead, it features graphic illustrations by Nobumasa Takahashi and Craig Mod, resulting in a book which flows more like a manga novel than a clinical city guide to museums.

Calum Ross, One A Day

Art Space Tokyo is the kind of gallery guide we wish we could find find for every city.”

Elsa Brown, WeJetSet

“For the unseasoned traveler Tokyo can be hard to navigate and even harder when it comes to locating small spaces for the first time. This book is concise and clear, two attributes which are vital amid the straggle of urban planning.”

Rachel Carvosso, suite101

“Art Space Tokyo ... is a gem of a publication satisfying a longstanding need for English-language material on the terrain it tackles.

Neilton Clarke, Art Monthly Australia

“Lovely design with care and an eye for detail make it a total must have piece in my opinion.”

Uleshka Asher, WorldChanging

“A new guide to the Tokyo art scene points the way.”

Benji Lanyado, The Guardian

“I have taken delivery of my copy of Art Space Tokyo, and I am thrilled! ... It’s beautifully put together and a real joy to read and handle.”

Melanie Katsalidis, a reader