The Info List - Japanese Paper

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Washi (和紙) is traditional Japanese paper. The word "washi" comes from wa meaning 'Japanese' and shi meaning 'paper'. The term is used to describe paper that uses local fiber, processed by hand and made in the traditional manner. Washi is made using fibers from the inner bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia chrysantha), or the paper mulberry (kōzo) bush. [1] As a Japanese craft it registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.[2] Washi is generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Origami, Shodo, and Ukiyo-e were all produced using washi. Washi was also used to make various everyday goods like clothes, household goods, and toys as well as vestments and ritual objects for Shinto priests and statues of Buddha. It was even used to make wreaths that were given to winners in the 1998 Winter Paralympics. Several kinds of washi, referred to collectively as Japanese tissue, are used in the conservation and mending of books.


1 Manufacture 2 Types 3 Applications

3.1 Art 3.2 Clothing 3.3 Cuisine 3.4 Furniture 3.5 Objects 3.6 Events 3.7 Weaponry

4 Manufacturers 5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 Further reading 8 External links

Manufacture[edit] Washi is produced in a way similar to that of ordinary paper, but relies heavily on manual methods. It involves a long and intricate process that is often undertaken in the cold weather of winter, as pure, cold running water is essential to the production of washi. Cold inhibits bacteria, preventing the decomposition of the fibres. Cold also makes the fibres contract, producing a crisp feel to the paper. It is traditionally the winter work of farmers, a task that supplemented a farmer's income. Kozo, a type of mulberry, is the most commonly used fiber in making Japanese paper. The kozo branches are boiled and stripped of their outer bark, and then dried. The fibers are then boiled with lye to remove the starch, fat and tannin, and then placed in running water to remove the lye. The fibers are then bleached (either with chemicals or naturally, by placing it in a protected area of a stream) and any remaining impurities in the fibers are picked out by hand. The kozo is laid on a rock or board and beaten. Wet balls of pulp are mixed in a vat with water (and, in some cases, neri, which is a mucilaginous material made from the roots of the tororo aoi plant) and one of two traditional methods of paper making (nagashi-zuki or tame-zuki) is employed. In both methods, pulp is scooped onto a screen and shaken to spread the fibers evenly. Nagashi-zuki (which uses neri in the vat) produces a thinner paper, while tame-zuki (which does not use neri) produces a thicker paper. Types[edit] See also: List of Washi With enough processing, almost any grass or tree can be made into a washi. Gampi, mitsumata, and paper mulberry are three popular sources.[3]

Ganpishi (雁皮紙) – In ancient times, it was called Hishi (斐紙). Ganpishi has a smooth, shiny surface and is used for books and crafts. Kōzogami (楮紙) – Kōzogami is made from paper mulberry and is the most widely made type of washi. It has a toughness closer to cloth than to ordinary paper and does not weaken significantly when treated to be water-resistant. Mitsumatagami (三椏紙) – Mitsumatagami has an ivory-colored, fine surface and is used for shodō as well as printing. It was used to print paper money in Meiji period.

Applications[edit] Until the early 20th century, the Japanese used washi in applications where Western style paper or other materials are currently used. This is partly because washi was the only type of paper available at that time in Japan, but also because the unique characteristics of washi made it a better material. The different uses of washi include: Art[edit]

Chiyogami – a method of stenciling or screenprinting paper with traditional Japanese designs Ikebana – the art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō Inkjet printings Kami-ito – pure-fiber washi paper spun into thread Katazome – a method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste Kitemaking Mokuhanga (Japanese wood printing) Nihonga (Japanese paintings) Origami – the art of paper folding Printmaking Sculpture Sewing Shibori – several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern Shifu – washi that has been spun into yarn (kami-ito) and woven into cloth Shodo – the art of calligraphy Sumi-e – the art of Ink wash painting Sumingashi – a form of paper marbling Ukiyo-e – a genre of woodblock prints Washi eggs – covering eggs with washi paper Chigiri-e  – using Washi for "painting" pictures


Cosplay Kimono Obi Zori




Cushion Futon Shoji


Bags Bento box Harae-Gushi, the washi whisk used for ritual purification by Shinto priests Japanese banknotes Loudspeaker cones. Mitsubishi Ofuda for Shinto Plates Scale models Toys Umbrellas Printing


Japanese festivals Sumo


Fire balloons


Gundo gami (Akiruno, Tokyo) Awa washi (Tokushima) Ecchu washi (Toyama) Echizen washi (Echizen, Fukui) IseWashi (Ise, Mie) Mino washi (Gifu) Sekisyū washi (Hamada, Shimane) Sugihara gami (Taka, Hyōgo) Tosa washi (Kochi) Yame washi (Fukuoka) Uchiyama gami (Iiyama, Nagano)

See also[edit]

Genkō yōshi Japanese tissue List of Washi Sir Harry Parkes Tissue paper Ukiyo-e

Notes and references[edit]

^ Hughes, Sukey (1978). Washi: the world of Japanese paper. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 0-87011-318-6.  ^ Government, paper makers welcome addition of ‘washi’ to UNESCO list ^ Hughes, Sukey (1978). Washi: the world of Japanese paper. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 0-87011-318-6. 

Further reading[edit]

Hughes, Sukey (1978). Washi: the World of Japanese paper. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 0-87011-318-6.  Fukushima, Kurio (1991). Handbook on the Art of Washi. All Japan Handmade Washi Association. 

External links[edit]

"Washi". Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System.  Washi

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