Kyoto University of Foreign Studies has an exhibition on “Crepe-Paper Books and Woodblock Prints”; there’s lots of interesting stuff there, but I’ll call your attention to the Preface, which discusses the phenomenon of “crepe-paper books,” called chirimen-bon in Japanese (縮緬紙 chirimen is ‘crepe paper’):
The term “chirimen-bon” refers to books that were made by crinkling “washi” (i.e., Japanese paper) printed with the contents (i.e., text and/or pictures) before binding them Japanese-style as pages. They are called “Crepe-paper books” in English. They arose in the Meiji period, with the publication of translations, made by Westerners residing in Japan, of old legends and tales. Typically, the text was illustrated by a Japanese illustrator in accordance with the plot, and hand-carved woodblocks were used for manual printing on high-grade “washi,” which was crinkled before binding. Besides those relating legends and tales, there were some “chirimen-bon” written about Japanese culture. They come in a diversity of languages, mainly including English, German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Their success led to the publication of some stories, albeit few, set in other countries. With the help of sales contracts concluded with overseas bookstores, “chirimen-bon” found increasing favor in Europe, North America, and other Asian countries.
I have a few such books around somewhere, relics of my early life in postwar Japan, and I’m glad to know something about their history. (Via No-sword.)