Manga publishing is a huge business, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, but what happens when the books are no longer wanted? They’re sent to secondhand bookstores, passed down under they’re tattered and worn, recycled and turned to pulp… But Koshi Kawachi, a Tokyo-based artist whose works often feature water and recycling themes, has come up with a fun and eclectic way to give the old comics a burst of new life. His concept is quite simple: place an old comic upright in a dish in a sunny, airy spot, sprinkle some seeds over it, water them, and wait for sprouts to peek out from between the printed pages. Radishes, buckwheat, broccoli, rocket, basil, and many others will work—and of course, so would any book or comic. You might balk at the idea of sacrificing of a perfectly good book—but you can always use a hated one, perhaps one with a particularly weak storyline that you can (literally) breathe some fresh life into it. Paper is potentially a good fertiliser, and if the nitrogen content of pulp could be boosted and the ink made more environmentally-friendly, then Kawachi’s idea could open up imaginative possibilities for book recycling and indoor farming.
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