About Washi(Japanese paper)

The term "washi" was coined in the early Meiji period (1868-1912) to refer to Western paper, and is a general term for the unique paper developed in Japan.

The process of making washi begins with the cultivation of raw materials and continues through dozens of painstaking processes to produce a sheet of paper.Until it's complete.None of the processes are easy, but you can also experience Japanese tradition and culture, which is fascinating and full of possibilities.traditional industriesIt is.

Handmade washi, produced with the blessings of nature, has been passed down from generation to generation since ancient times.It is a sustainable natural material that is friendly to both people and the earth.100% Kozo handmade washi.Originally, the main raw materials were kozo (paper mulberry), mitsumata (mitsumata), gampi (gampi), and other ligamentous fibers and their waste paper.

In a narrow sense, "washi" refers to handmade paper, but in a broader sense, it also includes machine-made paper, since machine-made pseudo-washi production using wood pulp and Manila hemp as the main raw materials began in the late Meiji era (1868-1912) and developed along with modernization.


Why is Washi so strong?FIBRE LENGTH COMPARISON

This image shows a photocopied paper (upper left), machine-made paper (upper right), handmade paper with pulp (lower left), and 100% Kozo handmade paper (lower right) torn to compare the length of the fibers.As you can see, the fibers of 100% Kozo handmade washi are by far the longest.

Paper is made strong by the intertwining of its fibers.The more intertwined the fibers are, the stickier it becomes, and the more unbreakable it becomes even when rubbed.This is why it is so durable.


History of Washi

In the old days, we learned from China, and in the near future, we have been strongly influenced by the mass production methods of Western Europe.The word "washi" itself was born in the modern era, but its history is so old that it dates back to the Asuka period.

  • 610: The first record of paper making in Japan is found in the Japanese Book of Records, where a monk from Goguryeo is mentioned as making paints, paper, ink, and Tengai (a millstone that is turned by water to make flour).
  • 1874: Japan's first machine-made Western paper is produced.
  • 1894: Japan's first machine-made washi is produced.



The raw material for handmade Washi, the kozo (paper mulberry) tree.
Kozo, the main raw material for handmade washi, is grown on site and grows to the point where it can be harvested in one year.
A kettle for burning kozo.
Steaming in a kettle makes it easier to peel off the wood core and epidermis.
Hold it with your foot and rip it off.
Hold the log with one hand and the epidermis with the other, and strip it off in a way that makes the tip cylindrical.
I just stripped it.
A bundle of black leather.

Peeled blackbark in bundles and dried naturally.
The peeled blackberries are then bundled and dried in the natural wind.
Scraping with a knife.
The black skin is placed on a sleigh stand and carefully scraped off one by one with a knife.
White skin that has been shaved off.
After shaving, the white bark is rinsed with fresh water, boiled, and the impurities that cannot be removed are manually removed and the bark is pounded.
Wood core.
The shaved off bark part becomes compost for the mulberry field.
In the spirit of gratitude for nature's bounty, the unused raw materials (wood core and black bark) are used up as firewood to fire the kettles, thus realizing a sustainable cycle.
Toloa mallow.
Put water, paper material, and mucilage of toloa mallow into the making boat, and stir with a mixing stick.
The mucilage from the roots of the plant helps to evenly disperse the fibers of paper, which tend to sink and harden. The mucilage from the roots has the ability to evenly disperse and float paper fibers that tend to sink and harden.
Making paper. The tool used to make the paper, a bamboo screen, is heavier than you might think, and the experience and sense of the craftsman is all that is needed to make the paper of a certain thickness.
Transfer to the paper bed.
After the paper is made, it is transferred to the paper bed and stacked one on top of the other. It is then left overnight and squeezed through a press. Then, the wet paper is peeled off from the paper bed and allowed to dry.
Drying in the sun.
For drying, there are two methods: the traditional sun-drying method (see image), in which the fish is stretched on a drying board and dried by the sun, and the iron-plate or hot-air drying method, which is unaffected by the season or weather.
Finished washi.
Each sheet is inspected and sorted by hand (for thickness, unevenness, tears, scratches, and dust), and only those that meet the standards are cut into pieces for different purposes.