2. WASHI Encyclopedia

WASHI Encyclopedia:



Question 9.
What is the reason for boiling the raw material pulpwood?

For raw material of paper, there is fiber taken from the inner bark of vegetation and fiber taken from wood. The inner bark part is in all vegetation and is located between the outer bark and wood core and its function is to deliver starch formed in the leaf to the parts below the leaf. However, according to the vegetation, there are some which have dense inner bark and long fibers and some which have not.
When making Washi, this inner bark fiber is mainly used and vegetation which has the most and longest fiber that can be easily extracted, is utilized. The vegetation which utilizes the inner bark fiber can be divided into 2 groups, i.e. from the wood family, Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi and from the grass family, flax, ramie, hemp and Manila hemp. The inner bark of these materials are bound together by a substance called pectin.
Also, wood fibers of such vegetation as fir, larch, beech, mangrove, etc. are utilized and the fibers of these species are bound together by a substance called lignin.
These binding substances are removed and only the fibers are used for papermaking material. The method of removal is to add an alkaline chemical to the vegetable and boil it. Then both pectin and lignin are removed and the fibers become loose and separate individually. Here, we shall dwell upon the method of removing pectin from the inner bark of material used for Washi.
First, such chemicals as caustic soda, sodium carbonate or slaked lime are added (in case of caustic soda or sodium carbonate about 20% in weight and in case of slaked lime, 40% in weight) to the raw materials such as Kozo, Mitsumata or Gampi, then boiled (the percentage of raw material to water is 1:20). This is called the boiling process. The chemical additive when boiling is generally caustic soda in case of black bark or 60% white bark and in case of 100% white bark, sodium carbon-ate or slaked lime is used. 2 hours boiling after reaching boiling point, pectin dissolves and
becomes pectic acid which is soluble in water and the small amount of lignin content becomes alkali lignin which is also soluble in water.
The raw material after boiling is taken out of the cauldron and soaked in flowing water. After 24 hours of water rinsing, when the raw material is pulled apart by hand, there is no resistance and the fibers are easily parted because the substance which binds the fibers is practically all removed.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Boiling the raw material in a cauldron


Question 10
What kind of work is involved in speck removal?

The labor for removal of bark and specks mixed in the boiled material is called “speck removal”.
The pure white finished paper looks beautiful and gives a person a good feeling. However, if specks or dust are prominent here and there in the paper, the general impression is poor.
Papermakers try their best to make a beautiful sheet of paper free of specks. However, natural vegetation contains material, which should not remain in the paper. For instance, during the process of growth of vegetation, trees rub against each other and form disfigurements or when a creeping vine coils around a tree, that part remains as a bruise like a keloid burn. Papermakers call these parts “burns”and however much bleaching is carried out, it does not turn white and if paper is made with these parts left in it, it remains in the paper as unwanted specks.
Also, during the process of making the raw material by steaming the tree cut from the hills and debarking, the papermaker pays closest attention and endeavors to avoid any specks entering but as a large lot of material is handled at once, there are cases when specks and small particles of sand are mixed.
Then, during the stage of raw material preparation, it becomes necessary to remove these unwanted specks before beating. This work requires patience and perserverance as each speck is removed by hand.
There are 2 ways of removing specks. First, the raw material is placed in water and the specks are removed by spreading out the raw material little by little (water selection method) or squeezing as much water as possible from the raw material and spreading out the remaining wet stock over a board and remove the specks (dry selection method).
In either method, all the specks cannot be completely removed by one treatment and especially such specks small as needlepoints are likely to be overlooked. There-fore, speck removal is carried out on the same lot of material several times until only pure white fibers remain. There are cases when the “water selection”and “dry selection” methods are combined.
In the process of making paper, this work requires much patience and is most trying. One must sit all day facing the wet raw material and pick out specks as small as poppy-seeds. Especially in winter, it is so cold that one’s fingers become numb but the papermaker continues his job by warming his hands in hot water.
Answer: Kou Hamada


Question 11.
What kind of methods are there to make the paper white?

A vegetable contains lignin and hemicellulose besides cellulose and these elements play the role of binding fibers together.  Also, when utilizing the fiber, it is necessary to remove the non-cellulose part as mentioned before (cf. Question 9) when the raw material is boiled.
When the fiber contained in the vegetable is extracted, it has a white color. However, even though a strong alkali chemical such as caustic soda is mixed, heated and boiled, it is difficult to remove all of the non-cellulose material. If too much chemical is used, the fiber deteriorates before removal of the non-cellulose material and cannot be used. Therefore, an important condition in boiling the raw material is to remove the non-cellulose material as much as possible without damaging the fiber.
The fiber material which has been boiled and washed in water still contains non-cellulose material (poly-saccharide other than fiber, ash and resin). Therefore, the raw material remains brownish color and will not become white, beautiful paper. There is brownish colored Washi and there are uses for such paper but in order to make a white paper, it must be bleached further and made into more refined fibers. Bleaching methods are as follows:
Natural Bleaching
When using white bark raw material, after boiling and washing in water, the raw material is placed in a shallow water tank and spread out sparsely so it is well exposed to sun rays. This is the method to bleach by ultraviolet rays. Beside snow-bleaching common to cold areas, there are such methods as paddy-field bleaching (cf. Note 1)and river bleaching (cf. Note 2). By these methods, the paper does not become pure white but by pasting it on a Shoji (sliding latticed door) it will become white as the days go by.
Chlorine Bleaching
This is the bleaching method generally used presently. It is the method of bleaching by oxidiza-tion of chlorine which dissolves the pigment of the raw material and has the advantage of bleach¬ing in a short time. However, the chlorine effect is very strong so while bleaching, it may also damage the fibers so it requires close attention
Also, if washing in water is insufficient after bleaching and chlorine remains in the raw material, discoloration may occur which will also become the cause of deterioration.

Note 1.
Paddy-field bleaching
During the farmer's slack season, bamboo poles are placed side by side in the paddy-fields. Water is stored in the paddy-fields and the raw material is spread out on the bamboo poles and exposed to the sun.
Note 2.
River bleaching
The raw material is spread out in the running water of a shallow river and exposed to the sun.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Question 12.
What is the difference between “Nagashizuki” and “Tamezuki”?

A ccording to the Engishiki Question 7),there is an article on papermaking in a government established mill and papermaking during that time can be imagined.
In this article, the raw material, supplies provided per year and also the craftmansVork load is stipulated in detail. However, there is no mention of the currently used mucilage** Tororo-aoi1' (cf. Glossary) and reading the process of raw material preparation, we can see that paper was made by the “Tamezuki” method.
Tamezuki method during the. Heian period (794-1192)
For raw materials, hemp, Kozo, Gampi, Kurara (leguminous plant, cf. Glossary) and cloth (flax) are listed and the process of raw material preparation was to cut the raw material into small pieces, boil it in ash liquid, speck removal and beating it in a mortar. In this process, attention should be paid to the cutting and beating process. Especially, in the beating process, the amount of labor per day per workman was stipulated at about 500 grams for Kozo and 800 grams for hemp. Then, after beating the pulp stock, it is put into the paper- making vat and scooped up into a screen. After the wet sheet is formed, it is transferee! onto a piece of cloth. To avoid adherence of the wet sheet, the wet sheet and cloth are placed upon each other, alternately. This is called “ Tamezuki”.
The pulp stock used for Tamezuki is short fibered and when well beaten, dispersion in water is good. And when scooped onto the screen, the outflow of water is slow, so with one scoop, the texture of the wet sheet can be formed. In this case, a sheet of paper made from this well-beaten pulp stock shall adhere to the other sheet when piled on top of each other and will be difficult to separate so that is the reason a piece of cloth was placed between the wet sheets.
The main papermaking method of Washi is called “Nagashizuki”.
Current Nagashizuki method
A mucilage called “Neri” (cf. Glossary and Question 13) taken from Tororo-aoi" or uNonutsngi'' (cf. Glossary) is added to the Kozo or Gampi pulp stock and the pulp stock water is then scooped up several times onto the paper mold. After the wet sheet reaches the required thickness, the screen is released from the frame and the formed wet sheets are stacked upon each other.
In this method, cutting of fibers and laborious beating as in the past, is not necessarily required but by addition of Neri, the outflow of pulp stock becomes much slower than in Tamezuki so the pulp stock may be scooped up and several passes may be made on the screen so the base ply of paper can be formed without hurry.
Therefore, it can be said that the basic difference of the methods is that adjustment of the overflow of water is done by beating of pulp stock during preparation of the raw material in Tamezuki and hy“Ne’i” in case of Nagashizuki.
At present, paper made by the Tamezuki method is used for
woodblock printing paper or paper for graduation diplomas. However, the pulp stock used for these papers is the same pulp stock used for Nagashizuki which is not so well beaten. As outflow is fast, it is difficult to make a good texture paper so Neri is added. Therefore, these papers are not made from the orthodox Tameza- ki method but it can be said to be a hybrid of both methods.
Answer: Akira Ohkawa


Question 13.
Why is “Neri” required?

In order to make a beautiful sheet of paper, it is necessary to disperse all of the pulp evenly and uniformly in the water. For this reason, close attention must be paid to raw material preparation and it is important not to have fiber sheaves (fibers which do not dissolve but remain in bundles due to uneven boiling or insufficient defibrating)but however well the pulp stock is prepared, the fibers will not disperse evenly just by putting it into water and stirring it. Even short fiber pulp stock does not disperse evenly in water so it is more difficult to obtain an even dispersion of long fibered Kozo’ Mitsumata and Gampi.
On top of that, the specific gravity of vegetable fiber is about 1.5 times of water so when immersed in water, it will sink immediately. It is at this point that “Neri”is utilized. It is usually called Neri or Nori (paste) so many people think that this used to bind the fibers when making paper. But this is wrong as the role of Neri is to help dispersion of fibers in water and does not have any adhesive strength.
Then, the reason why fibers disperse well when Neri is used, is that in the root of “Tororo.aoi” generally used as Neri, such polysaccharide as “Galacturon acidM which is easily soluble in water is contained in abundance. When the Tororo-aoi root is crushed and mixed with water, a great amount of viscous liquid can be extracted. This liquid is put into a bag and filtered to take the specks out, then put into the pulp vat and stirred together with the pulp stock. Then, as this Neri is a polysaccharide the same as cellulose, it is very intimate with the fibers. It wraps itself around each fiber slimily so the fibers do not entwine themselves around each other but are dispersed evenly in the water. On top of that, as the water itself has adequate viscosity, the fibers do not sink easily but will float in the water for a prolonged period.
However, viscosity of Neri does not last forever. Especially in summer, viscosity is apt to be lost so whenever pulp is replenished, Neri is also added.
The vegetation used for Neri is not only Tororo-aoi but the viscous liquid of the root of Aogiri(firmiana platanifolia), bark of Noriutsugi, root of Gin- baiso (blue bottle grass)are used and all these are of the same polysaccharide family.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Root of Tororo-aoi

Flower of Tororo-aoi

Question 14.
Why is paper made in cold winter weather better?

From olden times, it was said that‘‘paper should be made in mid-winter”. The origin of this saying is due to the fact that good quality paper is made in the cold-est time of winter. When making Washi, a vegetable mucilage is used and this mucilage is a member of the polysaccharide family.  The molecule form is long, like a chain (chain molecule). Therefore, when the thick liquid of Neri is picked up, it is stringy like a cow’sdrool. Technically, it is called “ropy”. When this Neri is put into water and stirred together with pulp, long, thread-like Neri molecules spread out lengthwise and crosswise. Due to this action, the fibers are wrapped up by the Neri and disperse but when the temperature is high, the chain of Neri molecules break and becomes short. Then, viscosity gradually decreases and in the end, viscosity is lost and becomes the same as water.
When making paper in hot summer, the temperature of water in the pulp vat increases so viscosity of the Neri decreases rapidly and dispersion of fibers gradually becomes poor and Neri must be added and stirred from time to time.
Paper is handmade and the papermaker regulates the thick-ness of each sheet of paper by the feeling of his fingers and experience so it is better to work under uniform conditions as long as possible. During summer, it is necessary to add Neri from time to time and regulate conditions in the vat so efficiency is poor and besides, there is a tendency of the paper becoming uneven.
On the other hand, in winter, the temperature is low so even if water in the vat is left overnight, it still has viscosity the next morning and conditions for paper- making remain unchanged. Therefore, work conditions are uniform and efficiency is good, which is the reason why it is better to make paper during the cold period.
Another reason is the problem of decomposition. The papermaker makes about 300-500 sheets a day which are stacked upon each other on a board. This stack of wet sheets is usually called“Shito” and after a day’s work is over, pressure is gradually added to press out the moisture in the Shito. This takes some time and approximately a day is required to squeeze out the moisture and according to the type of paper, there are times when the paper is left as the Shito for several days in a moisture extracted condition.

“Ropyness” of Tororo-aoi mucilage
As mentioned in the Neri sec¬tion, when making paper, a mucilage of polysaccharide vegetation is used. Also, in the fiber itself, some polysaccharide remains. During the high temperature of summer, this becomes an excellent hot-bed for breeding of bacteria. When paper decomposes in the Shito、each sheet of paper cannot be peeled off when drying time arrives and even if it can be separated and dried, stains remain or outwardly the paper may seem to have no defects but when words are written on the paper, markings appear and many harmful after-effects show up later.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Question 15.
Why does paper peel off sheet by sheet from the Shito?

What amazes one watching Wzs/w.-making is the papermaker’s skill in finishing a uniformly thin sheet of paper. Also, what is strange is that when drying, though moisture has been extracted, the wet sheet can be peeled off one by one from the Shito. Why can it be peeled off and not adhere to the sheet underneath?
When making paper, I mentioned that Neri was used (cf, Question 13) and when peeling off the sheet from the Shito, this Neri plays an important role.
“Paper does not peel off if there is no Neri”.
For instance, when fibers are dispersed in water without using Neri, the pulp cannot disperse evenly in the water and some fibers remain in sheaves and in some places, the fibers will not intertwine at all. If this pulp stock is scooped up and made into paper, thick and thin parts will appear and in total, uniform papers cannot be made.
If there is no Neri,water drips through the screen too fast so a uniform thickness of paper cannot be made as the fibers are not intertwined sufficiently and uniformly. If this kind of paper is placed on the Shito and pressed, then when it is to be peeled off to dry, the sheets will adhere to each other, the sheet beneath will also be peeled off together or a sheet too thin will tear.
This kind of phenomenon hap-pens in reality at times even when paper made with Neri. The person drying the paper calls this happen-ing “spoiling of the Shito”.
“Paper with sufficiently effective Neri may be stacked one upon each other”.
When making paper under such pulp conditions as the Neri being sufficiently effective and the fibers evenly dispersed in water, then the pulp water has viscousity so water does not drip out easily and pulp water scooped up into the screen can be shaken with ample time so the fibers intertwine well and an even paper thickness can be obtained.
Though a sheet of paper made this way is laid upon another on the Shito, the fibers of the upper and lower sheet do not intertwine so that is the reason a wet sheet may be peeled off one after the other. The sheet is peeled off the Shito in a wet condition so the chemical cohesion (hydrogen cohe¬sion, cf. Question 3) which gives paper its intrinsic strength has not taken place. At this point, the wet sheet has only the strength of the intertwined fibers so it easily peels away from the sheets below with which it has no intertwining relation.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Question 16.
Why is there a difference in paper by drying on a wooden board and drying on a steel plate?

When you go to a papermaking village on a sunny day, you may be able to view the scenery of paper being brushed onto a large drying board and drying it in the sun. White paper contrasted with the surrounding greenery is a beautiful sight. However, behind this beautiful sight, heavy labor is taking place as the persons brushing the paper carry the large and heavy boards outside and then bring them back to the workshop, put new wet sheets on them and carry them outside again into the sun. Drying of paper cannot be carried out during bad weather causing inefficiency or during the rainy season, accidents such as the Shito itself becoming spoiled happens.
So the idea of the triangular dryer came about. This method is carried out by attaching steel plates in a triangular prism form and drying the paper by heating the steel plates with steam. Ordinary steel plates rusts easily and damages the paper so currently, stainless steel plates are used. (cf. Question 26)
By this method, drying is possible without consideration to weather, easily handled and saving space. Currently, drying of Washi is carried out by this triangular dryer.
“The subtle difference in quality in accordance with sun drying and the triangular dryer".
Is paper sun-dryed on a board and paper dryed on a triangular dryer exactly the same? The paper seems to have a subtle difference.
The difference is in the pliability of the paper. This is due to the difference in the drying temperature. Steam drying has a higher temperature so the moisture content remaining in the paper decreases and the paper becomes stiff. Therefore, regarding pliability, board drying is judged to be better. If left alone for an extended period, moisture content of both papers should become even but it is not so and it seems that this difference remains forever.
“Regarding paper strength, board dryed paper is judged to be stronger”.
The next great difference is that board dryed paper is stronger than paper dryed by the triangular dryer. When cellulose is put in water, it expands by absorbing water. The rate of absorbency differs according to the type of pulp, pulp preparation, etc., but in any case, the paper made by those expanded fibers are dryed by brushing them on a board or steel plate. At the same time as drying,

Drying by the triangular dryer
the fibers start contracting but in case of board drying, the board and paper are both kinds of vege-tation so the rate of contraction can be regarded as about the same. This means that when the paper dries, the board also dries and contraction takes place. Therefore, the most important point for paper strength, i.e. hydrogen cohesion (cf. Question 3) is carried out naturally and a strong paper is formed.
On the other hand, when drying by steel plate, the contraction rate between paper and steel differs and especially in case of the triangular dryer, as the temperature is standard, the steel plate does not contract but only the paper starts to contract.
For that reason, a part of the composition of the paper is destroyed and as ample hydrogen cohesion is not carried out, the paper becomes weak.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Sun drying by boards

Question 17.
What shape and size of Washi can be made?

I have often heard Washi called Koban (small-sized sheet) Mino ban (cf. Glossary), Hanshiban (cf. Glossary), Hanori (cf. Glossary), Zenshi (full-sized sheet) and all of these names come from the size.
The size of Washi in the old times was 1 shaku 1 sun (33.3cm) x 8 sun (24.2 cm) and in Mino (Gifu) another old size made was 1 shaku 3 sun (39.4 cm) x 9 sun (27.3 cm). They were made one by one and the screen used at that time utilized miscanthus ribs and flaxen thread or horsehairs for the weaving thread which were not very good material.
Times changed and paper demand increased so Genta Yoshii of Ino-cho, Kochi endeavored to improve the papermaking mold and for ribs, he used bamboo and silk thread for weaving them. He also developed tools (1860) to make 6 or 8 sheets instead of the 1 sheet screen used hitherto. He also spread Ska (silk gauze) on the screen and invented the silk gauze papermaking method (1827) and was the forerunner of making such thin papers as Tengujo. (cf. Glossary)
This improved papermaking mold has been used for over a 100 years and even today it is used with no great improvement added.
The size of Washi generally made today are:
Shojigami            63.6       x            93.9       cm
Gasenshi             72.7       x            136.4 cm
Hoshoshi             39.4       x            53.0       cm
Udagami             31.8       X            45.5       cm
However, there are papermakers who produce small sized screens making only one sheet at a time. These sheets are untrimmed on 4 sides and gives the impression of true handmade paper. According to the end use, there are cases when a cross piece may be inserted into a large sized frame and 3 or 4 sheets of untrimmed paper on 4 sides can be made at once.
Untrimmed Washi is also used for postcards, letter paper, envelopes, calling cards, etc. • In these cases, cross pieces are inserted into the frame and devised to make 24 postcards and 36 calling cards at one time.
On the other hand, there are large sizes of Washi used for painting and drawing paper and decoration paper. For the indivi-dual papermaker working alone, the largest size is the 3x6 ban (97.0 x 188 cm size) paper. For a special large size, in Fukui a 4 meter square Washi and recently in Kochi 2.1 x 6.2 meter ones have been mafle. In this way, large size and small size Washi can be made by adjusting the size of the paper- making mold but in either case, they are made one sheet at a time.
Away from the general common sense that paper is in sheet form, by using a formed and shaped wire net mold, a three dimensional art paper can be made. It is enjoyable to see Washi in various forms used in interior decoration. With the tide of times, the size and form of Washi will change according to the necessity.
Answer: Kenichi Miyazaki

Question 18.
What kind of work is difficult and painstaking in making Washi?

Today, in the Washi industry, shortage of successors is a major problem. I believe this tells what a hard job Washi making is.
Much water is used and heavy raw material is handled all day and it is not exaggerating to say that there is no easy work in any stage of processing. Here are 2 or 3 illustrations.
A white sheet of paper does not permit any impurities to be mixed in it. So speck removal work is carried out and the same pulp stock is examined at least twice (water selection and dry selection method, cf. Question 10). By sitting all day and examining small lots of fiber in water, damaged fiber and foreign matter are removed. Mostly, women are engaged in this job but as the job is difficult, most people give up immediately. At first sight, it seems easy as it does not take much energy but it takes much patience.
Also, the papermaker must stand on his feet all day and make paper by shaking the papermaking mold. The mold is suspended from overhead bamboo poles and about 10 liters of pulp is scooped up into the mold. Holding the frame evenly and making sheet by sheet while keeping balance requires much skill and at the same time is hard work which can be seen by the callouses formed all over the palms of the papermaker^ hand.
The last stage of the process is drying of the wet sheets. When brushing the thin wet sheet onto a drying board or a triangular dryer, if the wind blows even a little, the wet sheet laps over onto itself and is the cause of wrinkles. Therefore, one must work all day in a windless condition inside, facing a steamed triangular dryer. Working while sweating heavily is really a hard job.
On the other hand, brushing the paper onto a one-piece board about 2 meters long is also hard labor. While being a repetition of simple labor, every stage of work requires long experience and much skill.
Handmade paper work requires hard physical strain while paying closest attention to details.
Washi is born from motion and stillness.
In a sheet of paper, the un- measureable strength of a human being is concealed.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Question 19.
Can anybody make paper?

There are about 450 Washi makers throughout Japan.  Among them, we seldom see young papermakers. At the “Young Mens National Meeting” discussions on this situation, their exhibitions, and advertisement of Washi have been carried out and endeavors have been made to secure successors. However, not many persons desire to succeed to this work and there are production centers which are very inconveniencied by this situation.
The Government promulgated a law in 1974 for promotion of traditional art and craft industries and introduced such measures as fostering of successors, developing of demand, etc. and is endeavoring to protect Japanese traditional industries.
With this tendency, recently, young people have a different image of papermaking. In other words, some can be seen as taking up Washi as an art and working with Washi as an artistic crafts-man. Foreigners have taken a great interest in Washi and we can see at each production center several persons taking training courses. They are enjoying boiling and softening of the raw material and making paper which is a heart-warming sight, making the surroundings cheerful.
However, after 2 or 3 months of training most of them leave but to learn the whole process of Washi, the term is too short.
At first sight, it may seem that the papermaker is only simply shaking the papermaking mold forward and sideways but it is necessary to spread the pulp stock water over all the screen and to intertwine the fibers as much as possible. For that reason, the pulp stock water must be moved around vigorously. We have heard from persons engaged in paperma-king for 40-50 years that "paper- making is difficult”.
Again, paper requiring a very thin caliper or special homogenity, is very difficult to make. Recently, different types of Washi have increased i. e. difference of raw materials and quality, difference in size, thickness and sheet formation, so learning papermaking according to the end use becomes necessary.
Drying of Washi is also difficult, so measures must be taken so that wrinkles do not appear, so the surface of paper touching the dryer surface will not become fluffy and for that, checking of the dryer surface and application of the brush must be studied so that wrinkles do not appear due to
uneven heat in the dryer.
Making a homogenous sheet or drying without damaging the paper is more difficult than imagined and a long term for learning the technique is neces-sary.
Answer: Kenichi Miyazaki
Washi Training Centers
Kayabuki no Yado            
945-15 Kadoide Takayanagi-cho, Kariwa-gun, Niigata Pref.
Tel. 0257-41-2361
Kazuo Ito           
959-44 2689 Koide Kawakami Mura, Higashi Kambara-gun,Niigata Pref.   
Tel. 02549-5-2920
Gokagami Kyodo Kumiai
939-19 Shimonashi Tairamura Higashi Tonami-gun, Toyama Pref.   
Tel. 0763-66-2016
Tairamura Washi Kogei Kenkyukan 
939-19 223 Higashi Nakae Tairamura, Higashi Tonami-gun Toyama Pref.     
Tel. 0763-66-2223
Keijusha Washi Bunko   
939-23 668-4 Kagami-machi Yatsuo- cho, Nei-gun, Toyama Pref.       
Tel. 0764-55-1184
Papyrus Kan     
915-02 Shinzaike Imadate-cho, Imadate-gun, Fukui Pref.    
Tel. 0778-42-1363
Eishiro Abe Kinenkan     
690-21 1754 Higashi Iwasaka, Yagumo Mura,Yatsuka-gun, Shimane Pref.    
Tel. 0852-54-1745
Awa Tesukiwashi Shokogyo Kaikan           
779-34 136 Kawahigashi Yamakawa- cho, Oe-gun, Tokushima Pref. 
Tel. 0883-42-2772
Ohzu Washi Kaikan        
795-03 Ooaza Hiraoka, Ikazaki-cho, Kita-gun, Ehime Pref.            
Tel. 0893-44-2002
Inomachi Kami no Hakubutsukan
761-21 110-0 Saiwai-cho, Inomachi, Agawa-gun, Kochi Pref.             
Tel. 0888-93-0886
Karasuyama Washi Kaikan          
321-06 6-8-2 chome, Chuo, Karasuyama-cho, Nasu-gun, Tochigi Pref.
Tel. 02878-2-2100
Anybody may experience papermaking.  Please make prior appointment by phone before visiting.

Question 20.
What are the climate conditions necessary for papermaking?

When visiting Washi produc- V V ing areas away from the city, it seems we have returned to an older age.
When entering Washi producing areas nestled between mountains, a pleasant breeze blows, the sound of water in making paper and the sound of beating raw material can be heard. Also, in the sweet smell of boiling Kozo and in the rising smoke, the scent of tradition can be experienced.
In the structure of the traditional house, most of the rooms are arranged so that the living area and working area are placed together and the papermaking area is set in the best place, facing south. Washi produced by sheets must not be uneven in thickness. For that reason, it is necessary to work in a bright, sunny spot. Also, at the raw material preparation area, in order to prevent the outbreak of decomposing bacteria and for storage of Neri to prevent deterioration of viscosity of Tororo-aoi mucilage, a dark interior area where temperature does not rise so highly even in summer, is selected. In this way, for the papermaking area, an environment well ventilated and with minimum temperature change is appreciated.
Also, Washi producing areas are always located near large rivers where water is plentiful. Even in production areas where there no neighboring rivers, they utilize the melted snow flow, water from mountain streams or subterranian water.
Washi requires a great amount of water. To produce a ton of paper, 1500-2000 tons of water is consumed so an abundant water source is necessary. For reference, in case of western-style papers, the amount of water consumed is only l/10th of Washi consumption.
Water quality is also important in making Washi. The late Ichibei Iwano who was designated a living national treasure would, when visiting a papermaking area, taste the water and say “This water tastes good. It has the optimum conditions for papermaking".
Of course, muddy water, water containing a great amount of calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate or containing iron (chalybeate water) cannot be used. It is because calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate have the chemical action of counteract-ing the Neri function, (cf. Question 13). Water with much ferrous content makes the bleaching of the raw material difficult and after a few years, brown specks (oxida-tion) appear on the surface of of the paper. That such specks should appear on the precious finished production will make it worthless.
Answer: Kenichi Miyazaki

Question 21.
How is the front surface and back surface of paper formed?

Generally, the smooth surface is the face and the rough surface is the back. According to the paper, the difference between the face and the back is either pronounced or small. To find the reason how the face and back of a paper is formed, let us review the papermaking process.
When the fiber dispersed water is scooped up onto the screen, only the fibers are caught on the screen and the water flows away downward. The ply of the fiber left on the screen becomes paper.
Long and short fibers are both dispersed in the water but when the fibers are caught on the ribs of the screen, first, the long fibers are caught and the short fibers slip through the ribs and flow down into the water. Next, as the long fibers are caught on the screen, the rib space becomes narrower and the short fibers are caught.
In this way, the fibers are piled up so when observing the cross section of the finished paper, the side of paper in contact with the screen has more long fibers and the other side not touching the screen, many short fibers are mixed with the long fibers. When long fibers are in abundance, unevenness of the surface is prom-inent and when short fibers are plentiful, the surface seems to be smooth. This is the first reason the front and back surface of a paper is formed.
The second reason can be found in the drying sector. Paper with moisture removed still contains much moisture so it is spread on a wooden board or on the metal plate of a dryer. The moisture content is evaporated by the radiant solar heat or the conductive heat of steam.
When spreading on a wooden board or metal plate, a brush is used to spread out the wet sheet and some traces of the brush remain but the surface of one side is pressed upon the surface of the board so it will become smooth. Washi dryed on wooden boards are often seen to have the grain of the board imprinted on it. Any-way, the smooth surface touching the board is the face and the side which has the brush traces is the back.
This is more conspicous when paper is dryed on a steel dryer and as the moisture between the fiber evaporates and when the fibers become more and more interlock¬
ed, the fibers are drawn to one direction on the surface of the dryer so unevenness which is caused by the thickness of the fiber becomes more prominent on the surface of the side not touching the plate.
In order to prevent this second cause, in the case of ‘‘Kyokushi” (durable printing paper, cf. Glossary), the paper is spread upon a wooden frame and dryed. Therefore, there will be no brush traces and a paper with both sides smooth is made. However, the first cause is not completely eliminated so strictly speaking, the front surface and back surface of the paper remain.
Answer: Akinori Ohkawa

Question 22.
How is a watermark made?

A  design visible when looking through paper is called a “watermark”. The thin part of the paper is bright and the thick part looks dark. A design made only by the thin part of the paper is called “white watermark” and the design utilizing the thin and thick part is called “black watermark”.
The 1,000 yen and 10,000 yen notes issued by the Bank of Japan have the “black watermark”. According to the law, “black watermark” cannot be used unless special permission is given so the watermark used in general writing and book papers are all “white watermarks”.
It is said watermark designs began in the 12th century in Eur-ope and there is also an example of watermarks being used in feudal government notes during the Yedo period. (1603-1867)
By placing wire bent in design form on the screen and then making paper, the paper becomes thin at the wire part so when it is held to the light, it looks bright and white against the background. This is called “white watermark”.
In case of a flexible bamboo screen, such hard material as wire cannot be used so Shibugami (a thick strong paper treated with persimmon tannin) is cut into the form of a design and sewed onto the screen. The rib which makes the screen and the impression of the thread with which the ribs are wove looks white and these are called “rib marks” or “thread marks” not watermarks. How-ever, in principle, they may be called a kind of “white water- mark”.
To make “black watermarks” put the indentation in a fine mesh wire and use it instead of a screen, then make paper. In the depressed part of the indent, the paper gets thick and the projecting areas become thinner. Therefore, a person’s face and other designs can be freely expressed.
Generally, watermarks come out clearly if the fiber is short so in Washi using long fibered Kozo, a clear watermark will not appear. “Rib marks” and “thread marks” are also not clear for that reason. Therefore, when making watermarks in “Hosho” (cf. Glos-sary) and other papers, the lines of the design are made a little broader and a clear “white watermark" is formed.
Watermarks are not only made in Washi but many watermarks are made on machine-made papers. The method of making watermarks differs from that of handmade papers. After fibers are caught on the wire screen, a round roll with a watermark is pressed upon the fiber ply. The fibers are pushed away by the relief and becomes thin, causing a water-mark.
Answer: Akinori Ohkawa

Question 23.
What kind of material is used to impart color to Washi? The method?

This can be largely divided into dyes and pigments. By dye, the component having color, in other words, the coloring dissolves in water and with a certain force, remains in between the fibers or permeates the interior of the fiber itself minutely and imparts color.
In case of pigments, they do not dissolve in water, but minute corpuscles of pigment color the fiber by using a binding agent.
Dyes can be divided into natural dyes and synthetic dyes. There are vegetable and animal dyes in natural dyes and the representative animal dyes are shell purple and cochineal. After steeping shell purple in a liquid secreted by a kind of snail shell, it gives off a beautiful purple color by oxidization. Cochineal is a scale parasite living on cactus of Central and South America and after steaming the male, it is dried. Shell purple is used by itself but cochineal needs a mordant to help the dye settle and ferric oxide rouge (imparts red color) or alum (imparts reddish purple color) is necessary.
Vegetable dyes are diversified and dyes are extracted from various parts of the vegetable i. e. root, tree trunk, bark, stem leaf, flower bud, fruit, etc..  Aside from Kihada (Phellodedron amurense) tree bark and some other vegetable dyes, a mordant is necessary and according to the mordant, the color changes.
Regarding synthetic dyes, a British chemist by the name of W. H. Perkin was synthesizing a spe-cific chemical to find a way to treat malaria and he unexpectedly discovered the basic dyestuff “Mauvein” which is said to be the first synthetic dye.
Later, many colors were discovered and were easily obtain-able, so are widely used. Most of them are direct dyes and light colors stay fixed comparatively easy. However, as the color becomes deeper, fixing of the color is difficult and a mordant or fixative such as alum or alum cake is necessary.
Regarding pigments, there are inorganic pigments such as finely ground minerals and shells and organic pigments extracted from animals or synthesized from petroleum. At present, it may be said that almost everything surrounding us is colored by pigments. They have varigated colors and compared to dyes, they do not discolor when exposed to heat or light. However, it is also true that when dyeing by pigments, sometimes a binding agent is necessary and as it does not dissolve in water, it is difficult to handle.
These dyes and pigments are used to dye Washi and one method is to dye the pulp stock and then make paper and the other method is to dye the paper after it is made. The first is called pre-dye and the latter, after-dye.
In case of after-dye, the most general method is brushing by which the dye or pigment is brushed onto the surface of the paper. By brushing several colors on a wet sheet, the boundry between the colors become blurred and an elegant dyed paper can be made.
Other methods, i.e. blurring the colors by using a spray or folding up the paper into triangles or squares and dipping the corners or sides in different colored dye liquid which creates pleasant designs when opened is called Onzome (fold dyeing). In all, there are many types of dyeing methods.
Answer: Akinori Ohkawa

Question 24.
Why are there blurring and non-blurring papers?

Paper is formed by many fibers intertwined with each other and is porous with countless openings between the fibers.  If a drop of water is dropped on the paper, it will immediately be absorbed and this is due to the quality of adaptability to water of the fibers and capillary action.
The first reason for the difference of blurring in papers that can be considered is the raw material. Using fibers which have thick film (membrane) as hemp, a porous paper will be made and water absorption will be great. On the other hand, thin film fiber as Gampi is not so porous and water absorption decreases.
Again, using the same fibers, if beating is increased, the fiber will become soft and intertwining between fibers will increase so openings will decrease and the degree of blurring will become smaller.
The second reason that can be considered is the chemicals used during the process of making Washi. Especially, the chemicals used in the boiling process not only greatly influences paper strength but also water absorption and blurring. When using such weak alkali agents as wood ash and sodium carbonate, much non- fibrous matter remains between the fibers and increases binding between the fibers and decreases the number of openings. There-fore, the paper will become somewhat hard and blurring will be less.
When boiling by such strong alkali agents as caustic soda with an eye to higher bleaching, oppositely,the more bleaching increases, the more non-fibrous matter is dissolved so the paper becomes more pourous and much blurring will occur.
When writing on Washi, it blurs greatly. Therefore according to the end use of Washi, as a method to prevent blurring, sizing is carried out.
The method of carrying out sizing on the surface of paper is called surface sizing and by clogging the openings in the interior of the paper by a sizing agent and preventing water penetration is called interior sizing.
Besides glue, rosin and starch, synthetic resin, etc. are used for sizing. The representative surface sizing method is called “Dosa” application which is to brush a liquid mixed with glue and alum on the paper. In the paper using this method, blurring stops and is used for such papers as “ Kana Shodoyoshi” (Japanese phonetic character calligraphy paper), Japanese painting paper and special printing papers.
The representative method of adding sizing agent to the pulp stock prior to making paper to restrain blurring is called rosin sizing. Rosin is added while stirring the pulp stock and then, alu¬minium sulphate is added to fix the rosin on the fiber. However, recently, using aluminium sul-phate as a fixing is the cause of deterioration of paper so instead, a method using neutral or weak alkali sizing has been adopted.
Answer: Akinori Ohkawa

Question 25.
Why is Washi prone to be fluffy? What method is there to prevent it?

When erasing a pencil mistake from the surface of Washi, the fibers become twisted and the. surface becomes fluffy which gives it an untidy look.  Again, when printing on Washi, after a short time, fibers are picked from the paper by the printing ink. These fibers cling to the printing plate and make printing impossible.
In case of western-style paper, erasures or in printing, there is no trouble. Though using the same wood pulp, paper made by only dispersing the wood pulp in water is weak and becomes a paper prone to be fluffy, the same as Washi. In other words, paper is made by cohesion between fibers so in case of non-treated fibers, strong cohesion between fibers does not take place.
Since old times, it is said that “paper is made by beating” so in the process of making paper, beating is a very important mechanical treating process as this process gives that paper a wide breadth of variation.
The main function of beating is to bruise the wall surrounding the fiber and allow water to permeate the interior of the fiber and cause expansion and by that action to make the fibril loosen from the fiber itself. The beaten fibers contact with each other nicely and as a result, the cohesion area enlarges, openings between fibers decrease resulting in a high density, compact sheet.
Paper using wood pulp can be made into various kinds of paper according to the degree of beating from such soft papers as tissues to printing paper, wrapping paper, etc..  In the process of making Washi, there is the same beating stage but the object is to dissolve the bun-dles of fiber one by one by agitating the pulp and is somewhat dif-ferent from the beating of western-style papers. A nicely formed, pliant, tear-resistant paper can be made without beating the raw materials for Washi i.e. Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi, but fluffiness is apt to happen.
In order to reduce fluffiness, by using a weak alkali boiling agent such as wood ash and sodium car-bonate, it is necessary to let more non-fiberous matter remain or increase the beating time. Another method is to apply glue, starch, casein or synthetic resin to make a film on the surface which increases cohesion of fibers more strongly so fluffiness can be controlled more.
Answer: Akinori Ohkawa

Question 26.
How can bookworms or stains be prevented?

When opening an old book, there are some that are full of bookworm holes. Also, when books are piled on top of each other near a wall, there are times when the back cover is eaten by bookworms and crumbles into pieces.
There are several kinds of bookworms and the following four are the ones that especially cause most damage.
Yamato Shimi (Yamato bookworm). Most generally seen and there is a tendency of more individual count in warmer areas. In Japan, they are called Shimi (bookworm), Kiramushi (silver- fish) or Hakumushi (leafworms) and are known as harmful insects for Washi and other material. They exist mostly in libraries and pasted Washi papers.
Gokiburi (cockroach). This is the main harmful insect of the household and Yamato Gokiburi (Japanese cockroach) and Kuro Gokiburi (black cockroach) are known from old times. The same as Shimi, they prefer the pasted part of Washi papers and especially damage back covers of books.
Shibanmushi (deathwatch). A small size beetle about 3 millimeters, famous as harmful insects of second-hand books. They do not damage the pasted part of the book as the Shimi but damage the book by making tunnel holes.
Shiroari (white ants, termites). A famous harmful insect which almost everybody knows. Shiroari and Japanese Shiroari cause damage to houses and wooden struc-tures. They do not attack books from the beginning but migrate from structures. These insects prefer dark and damp places so to store books, a sunny, well ventilated place is important. Regarding books which have already been worm eaten, they should be left in a well ventilated place and dryed in the shade. After repelling the ants, they should be stored together with an insectide. For an insectide, clothing-use naphtalene or paradichloro benzine will do.
Next, regarding stains on the paper, it is annoying to see brown stains appearing here and there on valuable pasted scroll paintings or paper tablets. 2 reasons can be given.
One is due to the steel plate used during drying of the wet sheet. The wet sheet is brushed onto the steel plate and heat-dried and at that time, a small amount of ferrous material is transfereed to the paper. After a long period of time, that ferrous material becomes oxidized and appears as a stain. Now, use of steel plates has been abolished and changed to stainless steel plates so this problem is being solved.
The other cause is due to microbes. Those contained in the raw material and those in the atmosphere which attach themselves to the paper. After adequate heat and humidity is pro-vided and the conditions are proper, the microbes start to become active and cocoon spinoffs (threads) appear and cocoon roots generate organic acid and that part becomes the cause of brown spots.
In order to protect valuable and precious documents from these stains, it is important to do as much as possible so that dust does not adhere to the the paper and to protect it from humidity.
Answer: Kou Hamada

Question 27.
What kind of tools are used for Washi?

1IT asm is made by using a tool VV called Sugeta (papermaking mold, cf. Glossary). The Sugeta is a screen using bamboo or miscanthus (Japanese pampas grass, miscanthus sinensis) ribs woven with silk threads which is placed in a wooden frame.
Bamboo ribs are made by using black bamboo (Phyllostachys puberilla) or long jointed bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides). The ones cut in October or November are the best and these ribs are woven together for the bamboo screen. It is necessary to have the length of the bamboo rib over 40 cms so the longer the length between the joints are, the better it is and from one stalk of bamboo only 7 or 8 sections can be used. The bamboo is finely split and the outer bark and the pith removed and are made into one rib each. To weave one screen 2 ft X 3 ft (about 60 x 90 cm), generally 2000 ribs are necessary. According to the type of Washi, the diameter of the ribs differ ranging from 0.5 to 0.7 millimeter.
The material for miscanthus ribs is miscanthus which is gathered in autumn just before the frost comes and slender head stems are selected. Usable dried and selected ribs are only about one third of the amount gathered.
Miscanthus screen is used in making Washi for mounting and calligraphy.
The thread which is used to weave the screen is a strong silk thread tanned with persimmon tannin. Of course, the count of the thread changes with the size of the rib. The count of the thread is indicated by the weight of three threads, 49 meters long. Thread for Shojigami screen use is 3 momme 2 bu (about 12 gms).
Screen weaving is done by pairs of threads which are looped around the ribs in a chain line at regular intervals. In order to keep the tightness even, the threads are wound on bobbins of even weight.
It takes about a week to weave one screen. The final finishing is done by dipping the screen in water and then deciding the size of the screen to fit the frame.
The frame is made of straight- grained high grade Hinoki (Japanese ground cypress) which has been dried for some time and which has no warp. The frame is
made slightly convex so that when the pulp stock is scooped up into the frame, the weight of that stock will level it out.
As metal fittings for the frame are used in water, bronze is used as it is rust-resistant and has a certain degree of elasticity which is necessary. From a bronze rod, fixtures such as hasps, handles, etc. are made and from bronze wire, blunt supporting pins are made. All are made by hand.
In this way, it is important to select light and strong wood material which is stable whether wet or dry.
Answer: Kenichi Miyazaki

Question 28.
How many people are there currently who make equipment for Washi? How about their successors?

Equipment making can be broken down into makers of bamboo ribs, miscanthus ribs, weaving threads, screen weaving, frames, metal fixtures, brushes, metal patterns and watermarks.
In old times, there were many papermakers so equipment making craftsmen were in control of their special department and devoted themselves to their work but in recent years, the number of papermakers have decreased greatly so demand for equipment has also decreased. Now there are only 30 equipment makers throughout Japan and almost all of them are aged and have no successor. However, they still continue equipment making but in a very scaled down condition.
Considering this situation, in 1974, the National Washi Equipment Preservation Society was established and such matters as technical interchange, exchange of information and successor
training measures were taken up to be studied. The government, in 1976, in order to preserve the equipment maker’s technique which supports the Washi industry, designated this society as a Cultural Properties Protection Technique Preservation Organization and is stressing the inheri-tance of that technique.
Most of the members of the society live in Kochi where Tosa Washi is produced and there are makers of bamboo ribs, miscanthus ribs, weaving thread, screen frames, metal fixtures and brushes who take orders not only from local Washi makers but also from Washi makers throughout Japan.
In Gifu were Mino Washi is produced, there are 4 makers of screen frames, metal fixtures and brushes and in Fukui where Echizen Washi is produced, due to the relation to more design-oriented Washi, there are 7 makers of metal patterns, watermarks and screen frames who protect traditional know-how and technique, centering their trade to the local demand.
In other areas, such as Ehime and Tottori where Washi is produced, screen frame makers make equipment for calligraphy paper and in Shizuoka, 2 screen frame makers taking orders from Washi makers in neighboring Yamanashi. Especially, in this area, there are orders for screens for machine-made Washi and a long screen with a width of 1 meter and length of 10 meters is made every now and then, taking a month to manufacture.
Regarding the problem of successors to equipment makers, recently young Yoshiro Kinuyama (born 1957) from Saitama decided to follow the trade and presently has started screen weaving and frame making studies at Ino-cho, Kochi. He has already studied Washi making for 5 years and made this decision undaunted by the current situation of screen frame making. Noboru Inoue (born 1906)who has spent all his life making screen frames for Tosa Tengujo, replied to his inten-tions and is teaching him earnestly. Currently, his studies have advanced to the stage where he is able to take orders for small-size equipment.
For Washi makers, this is good news and everybody is looking forward to his independence.
Answer: Kenichi Miyazaki


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