No Misery (2022)

Basic information
Book title: No Misery
Authors: LEE Kai Chung, SHEN Jun
Publisher: The Phantom Archives
Language: Traditional Chinese, English, Japanese
Publication date: October 2022
Book Size: 225*300*17 mm
Paperback: 222 pages
Binding: Perfect binding
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 978-988-76489-1-8


No Misery is an artist book that combines travel journals, dialogues, interviews, memoirs of the settlers, and excerpts from Lee Kai Chung’s video work. Based on the memoirs and maps of the Japanese agrarian settlers, the authors revisit the route the settlers took to leave Manchuria at the time – by train from Gongzhuling, a Japanese agricultural settlement in the southern section of the South Manchurian Railway (or Chinese Eastern Railway), south of the ‘Manchukuo’ capital of Hsinking (now known as Changchun), to Jinzhou (a temporary facility for repatriates), Huludao (a repatriation center for overseas Japanese citizens and war prisoners), and finally to the repatriation port in Maizuru, Japan. That route formulates a structure of revisitation and re-enactment, which also serves as the context of this book. Based on a study of public history, private memory and the identity of those left behind in Manchuria in the first half of the twentieth century, the artists’/authors’ editorial and creative work seeks to present a temporal, geographical, political, and emotional ambiguity that is also a response to the present situation: to capture the displacement and emptiness that exists in the human state of mind, while erasing or revisioning history becomes a norm. The book urges ultimately to question how one can transcend this state of stagnation and regain mobility by reacquainting oneself.

The book was compiled by Hong Kong artist Lee Kai Chung and researcher Shen Jun, and written in collaboration with Japanese artist ISAJI Yugo and the memoirs of MURAI Katsuyoshi. No Misery is published by The Phantom Archives, an initiative by Lee and Shen, and is the first of four artist books in the research-based art project The Infinite Train (2020-present).

This publication project is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. We are grateful to the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) for their generous support of early research for this project, as well as to the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) in Hong Kong and the Art Center Ongoing in Tokyo, Japan for their support of artistic creation.