BACKSTORIES by Tokuhiko Kise

Quietly, it speaks.

While there’s nothing showy or loud about it, the back is extremely valuable. Without saying much of anything, the back reveals who a person is and their way of life.

How do you get a “dignified” and “cool” back? You certainly don’t get it just by muscle training.

I think I talk too much, saying jokes and making a fool of myself. But then there’s someone else, someone who isn’t really saying anything particularly interesting or saying that much at all, but is somehow still “interesting.” In just one, absent-minded word, they can draw the attention of everyone in the room.

I don’t know what has become of my own back – I can’t see it for myself. Yet in terms of furniture, I can build and shape the backs of my pieces in any which way I like.

This is the SJ Shelf: S for the Japanese word for “back”, senaka, and J for the word for “pride”, jiman.

The backboard of this shelf is made of thick natural oak. I took the smooth sides of planks of oak, lined them up one by one, and secured them together side by side. The shelf has two sizes, one that is tall and another that is short and wide. The shorter one, if used to divide space in a room, can also be used like a counter. This way, you can show off its back.

But I think the taller one is usually put against a wall. You might be thinking, “But if I put it against a wall, what happens to its glorious back??”

Don’t fret! It can still be seen from the front. It is still standing there quietly behind the collections on the shelves. Naturally, you won’t be able to see it well if the shelves are crammed full of books, but even so, you can still feel its air, its presence, its sense of security.

And look at that, I’ve caught myself talking too much again. Well, this series is here for me to talk after all. Forgive me this once.

Tokuhiko Kise