1. HOME
  2. WASHI Encyclopedia
  3. WASHI - IT’S VARIOUS USES

Frequently Asked Questions:
WASHI - IT’S VARIOUS USES

Index

 

Question 32.
How has the use of Washi changed?

The main use of Washi is a vehicle for writing and copying. As it was truly a vehicle for writing, the ancient nations strived hard to create and develop paper. But paper was not the only writing and copying material. In ancient China, silk cloth, in Europe, sheepskin were the main vehicles and a highly devoted writing and copy culture was established. Paper which was developed later, was prone to be regarded only as a mass production substitute.
In Japan, there was a period when paper and wood tablets were used together but the highest writing and copying art paper such as calligraphy paper and paper for copying of Buddhist sutras were developed on Washi which had just been perfected. The merger of these two movements can be said to be the primary factor for creating the world’s highest grade handmade paper.
Moreover, such important qualities as thinness, smoothness, lightweight and strength are utilized in other areas besides writing.
For instance, among the trea-sures of Shoso-In, paper is tightly wound around the core of a brush and the core of the brocade cloth inside the mirror encasing box utilizes paper. However, during the early days of Washi {Nara period 710-784), the paper artisan probably was not aware of such use. During that age, paper was roughly divided into high grade paper for copy of Buddhist sutras and general government use paper.
Entering the perfecting period {Nara period 710-784), to adorn calligraphy and copying paper, such decorative techniques as Uchikumori (cloudy design) and Ramonshi (twilled design, cf. Glos-sary) were developed. These tech¬niques were devised to comply with commissions for calligraphy paper by the ladies of the court who had keen artistic perception. This contributed to the birth of development of Washi (after the middle ages) for uses other than for calligraphy and copying.
For instance, Fusumagami (slid-ing panel paper) or Maniaishi (cf. Glossary) which later developed as a sliding panel printing paper are thin Gampi papers which con¬tain minute particles of clay. However, this technique was born due to the fact that thin Gampi papers for calligraphy writing preceded this development.
As the Shoinzukuri (old study room style architecture) was perfected, paper for architecture such as Shojigami (sliding door paper) was born (cf. Glossary for Shoin- shi). One can enjoy the orderly arrangement of fibers of the Shojigami used to admit light.
Yoshinogami (cf. Glossary) used to filter lacquer and oil or used as tissues and often called Yawara or Yawayawa (soft paper or softies), Tengujo (cf. Glossary) used for copying or to draw draft sketches are the thinnest handmade papers in the world and it is only due to the fact that Kozo papers are made into Washi by the Nagashizuki method that this could be accomplished.
Later, Motoori Norinaga (1730- 1801) making the comparison between Japanese and Chinese paper said in his book “ Tamaka- tsuma” (1793-1801,14 vol., Essays) “Tang (China) paper can only be used for writing but besides writing, Washi can be used for wrap-ping, wiping, utensils such as boxes or baskets or twisting it into thread to tie things together. It has many uses and various qualities such as thickness, thinness, strength and softness”
That Washi has many end-uses somewhat resembles present day western-style papers but in the case of Washi, just one kind of paper can be put to various uses. From tms standpoint, the outlook on the intrinsic value of Washi, in other words, together with paper strength such as tensile strength, firmness, texture, rattle of the paper, luster and gloss, sharpness or cloudiness brought about by the intertwining difference of fibers, etc., the ability to judge such factors with delicacy has been transmitted to posterity as traditional Japanese artistic sense.
Answer: Shin Yagihashi

Question 33.
What kind of Washi is used in industrial arts?

The most closely related industrial art sector for Washi is the textile dyeing industry.  Washi with Konnyaku (devil’s tongue root) starch brushed on to it is crumpled thoroughly and then made into clothing which is called “Kamiko,’ (paper clothing). The Konnyaku starch keeps the Kozo fiber from fluffing. Even in winter, it is warm as it is wind-proof and the more it is used, it has the softness to adapt itself to the shape of the body. Such are the characteristics of this paper and the priests of Todaiji Nigatsu-do (temple located in Nara, completed 749) crumple the Washi and tailored it into vestments during the “ Omizutori rite”. (Held March 12.) The priests draw water from the well and light large pine torches which are carried to the main temple. Harbinger of Spring, the sparks of the torches bring good luck.
Cutting Washi into thin strips, twisting them into paper threads and weaving these threads make a cloth called “Shifu” (paper cloth). There are threads made from Kozo and Gampi. Paper thread is used for the woof while silk, cotton, hemp or paper thread is used for the warp. The more it is used, it has the pliability to adapt itself to the shape of the body and also has such characteristics as vivid color tone and the random scattering of knots which emerge when spinning paper threads into yarn. However, it must be stressed that this cloth also has strength enough to endure washing in water.
Saganishiki (Saga brocade) is a cloth which does not use Washi thread but is made by weaving the flat Washi paper itself. Kyogami (paper for copying Buddhist sutras) is cut into strips as in a blind, and by using a bamboo shuttle, the woof thread (paper, cotton or silk) is sent through the paper. At present, the paper for copying of Buddhist sutras is resin treated, machine-made Mitsumata paper but in the past, white Hoshoshi or lacquered black or brown paper or paper adorned by such decorations as gold leaf or gold dust was used. By passing the thin woof thread through the flat Kyogami, the delicate bumpy twill is most enjoyable so, essentially, the white Washi surface texture is most suitable for this cloth.
Katagami (stencil paper) is made by pasting seveal sheets of Washi together with persimmon tannin. The direction of the grain of each sheet is alternated to prevent expansion and contraction. A design is cut into this paper and the cut stencil is used for dyeing cloth. The design may be Komon (fine pattern), Nagaita Chugata (medium pattern) or Kataezome (stencil dyeing). Even though resist paste is squeezed through this stencil with a squeegee and immersed several times in water, it is still able to endure such heavy handling.
The next industrial art closely related is the lacquer art.
In order to filter lacquer, Yoshinogami (a thin, soft paper, cf. Glossary) is used. Thin Kozo and Gampi is used in copying the draft of the design onto the surface of the lacquerware (thin Minogami, Tengujo), Gampi Hakuuchishi (goldZsilver foil beating paper) is used to make gold or silver foil and Mitsumata Hakuaishi (foil packaging paper) is used to preserve those foils for the gold (sil-ver) decoration of lacquerware. Therefore, in each complicated stage of lacquer art, the role of Washi is highly regarded.
Also, making of the basic form for lacquered goods with Washi is called “Shitai” (paper core), and Ikkanbari and Harinuki are those illustrations, (cf. Note below). There are many ways of making Shitai, for instance, using only Washi or pasting Washi on a wooden or flax cloth core. However, in the past, lacquer coating was the main object and the basic material was unknown but currently, the tendency is to coat lac-quer thinly to preserve the surface character of Washi. Various kinds of Washi are used for Shitai such as Sekishu Hans hi, Yoshinogami
and Misugami (the clay contained in the paper mixes with lacquer and becomes a suitable foundation).
Shiso Ningyo (paper doll) is made by pasting Washi together on a core to make a strong and brightly colored paper doll. Minogami and Echizen Hosho are used to polish and wipe the blade of the Japanese sword clean, so in various areas of industrial art, special characteristics of Washi are extracted and used in many ways which even the papermaker could not dream of.
Note
Ikkanbari
Washi pasted foundation coated with lacquer. Began by Man Hirai,hence the name.
Harinuki
A wooden pattern pasted with Washi and after drying removing the wood pattern and coated with lacquer.
Answer: Shin Yagihashi

Question 34.
How is Washi used in repair of cultural treasures?

In order to protect paintings or manuscripts, the reason why Washi is often used is due to the strength of Washi, in other words, it is difficult to tear and endures repeated folding. However, in reality, it is the softness and stability that is utilized the most.  If only strength is considered, for several months to about 10 years, pulp paper made by machine is strong enough. However, when thinking of preservation of cultural treasures, at least a 100 years should be the target. Also, almost all cultural treasures repaired by using Washi are handled carefully and set gently on an appropriate pedestal away from the sun or are viewed hanging on the wall and are kept in safe-keeping. Therefore, the repairing paper does not have to be so strong. But if paper with 100% strength declines to l/10th in strength in 10 years, it is not ade-quate enough but if a 30% strong paper has 20% strength left after a 100 years, that is the paper required. Washi meets these requirements.
Moreover, paper strength which deteriorates rapidly, often contain factors which promote deterioration or which frequently generate such factors and these factors give a bad influence directly or indirectly to cultural treasures and may well accelerate the damage.
As an illustration of Washi used for repair of Japanese paintings or documents, please refer to the paragraph regarding Washi and mounting, (cf. Question 41)I will describe how Washi is utilized in Europe.
At the restoration section annexed to libraries, museums and art galleries of Europe, when dam-ages to paintings and drawings written on paper, copied documents, and woodblock printings are repaired, thin Washi is often used. European paper compared to Washi is thick and coarse so if thin Washi is pasted on the sur-face, it will not change the impres-sion of the original paper. Also, compared to European papers, transparency of Washi is good so even if it is pasted on the surface of printed matter, the letters underneath will never be illegible. That is also one of the strong points of Washi. Kozo paper has transparency but Gampi paper is still more transparent so it is often used for repair of color printed books.
Thick Washi is used in places to support the page of a book. In case of European books, paper is folded in two and is sewed together with binding thread along the fold and finished but the folded part is often damaged. For that reason, Washi is pasted from the back surface along the fold to reinforce the page or when the fold is torn in two, at the fold. The two parts are joined together with Washi and the fold of Washi is bound. Besides being soft, even folded Washi is tear resistant so it is indispensible for repair of books.
When Washi is used for repair of oil paintings or murals, the strength of Washi is utilized to a certain degree. But in that case too, as it has flexibility and stability, it adapts itself to the bumps of the painted surface and it is required not to have the stability so that it does not cause any bad effects on the painted surface.
The supporting part of oil paintings is flax cloth. When the cloth ages, it is repaired by exchange of new cloth or pasting new cloth on top of the old. During the period of repair, in order to protect the painted surface, paper is pasted on the surface. Among oil paintings and murals located in art galleries or churches, Washi cut into long strips is pasted on the surface. When the oil paint layer is found to be starting to peel off, it must wait to be repaired so during that time in order to prevent more peeling, Washi is pasted on it temporarily.
Answer: Katsuhiko Masuda

Question 35.
What kind of Washi is used for calligraphy?

There are many different kinds of Washi used for calligraphy and it is important to check closely and carefully select whether the paper is to be used for Chinese characters or Japanese phonetic characters.
The many kinds of paper used for Chinese characters and Japanese phonetic characters are as follows:
Paper for Chinese characters
Hanshi (cf. Glossary) Used in general for the clean copy. Com-paratively thick and blurs some- what.
Koshugasen Made in Koshu (Yamanashi). Characteristics: Blurs and ink color distinct. Inshugasen Made in Inshu (Tottori). Many varieties, little blurring. Gasen paper is also made in Fukui, Kochi and Kagawa, each area with its own characteristics. Chugokugasen Made in Chugoku (China). Blurring is deep set and ink effect is good but recently, quality is deteriorating so selection must be careful.
Taiwangasen Blurring and fad-ing is good but it seems that ink effect is not so good. Price is cheap so it is popular causing severe competition to domestic paper.
Kankokugasen (Korean). Strong quality using Kozo as the main raw material.
Paper for Japanese phonetic characters Differing from paper for Chinese characters, paper for this use is often decorated and the main papers are as follows: Kakoshigasen (decorated calligra-phy paper) For Japanese phonetic character use, as less blurring paper is favored Dosa sizing is applied.There are also papers colored by brushing on dye-stuff, spattered with gold or silver foil or decorated with printed designs. According to the density of the glue or burnt alum or due to the degree of mixing of Gofun (white shell powder), absorption of ink differs.
Hanshi Paper generally used is thin and smooth-surfaced. Raw material:Mitsumata. Paper shelved for 3 years is best for writing and seems to have a certain character.
Kumogami Literally, “cloud paper”. Used for Shikishi (a large, square card for writing poetry) and Tanzaku (long strip of paper to write poems on). Colored blue on the upper part and purple on the bottom part.
Kinsenshi {Ginsenshi) Literally, “gold or silver embedded paper. After spreading gold or silver foil on the base paper, a thin paper {Tengujo) covers the foil which can be seen beneath. Used for Shikishi or Tanzaku.
Hiunshi Literally, “flying cloud paper' Gampi fibers which have been well beaten are dyed purple or blue and is laid on the paper in the form of a small cloud. Suminagashishi Marbled paper. Floating India ink on water and making a design utilizing the sur-face tension of water which is transferred onto the paper. Karakami A paper surfaced with white shell powder and pressed with a design mold laid with mica. Kiritsunagishi, Yaburitsunagishi, Kasanetsunagishi Literally, “Cut-joined, tear-joined or plyjoined paper”. Karakami and dyed papers which have been patterned by cut-joined, tear-joined or ply- joined papers.
Soskokuski Paper decorated with scattered gold or silver foil to the various forementioned papers. There are decorations of scattered gold and silver foil, gold or silver dust or gold and silver foil cut into slender strips and applied on the paper which also have designs of butterflies, birds or plants and trees using ultramarine or verdigo color.
Answer: Etsudo Takeda

Question 36.
What kind of Washi is used for Japanese painting?

Japanese painting is an art utilizing a technique which prevails throughout the world.  Pigments taken from natural minerals, vegetables and animals are kneaded together with an animal glue called collagen. This coloring material is used for painting and this technique was the painting technique when mankind first began the act of painting. In that sense, it can be said that Japanese painting is not purely Japanese. 
The murals of ancient Egypt, the icon paintings and also in India and China,paintings using glue are known.
However, due to the appearance of oil paintings and new color materials,this pan-global painting technique has, at present, been limited to few areas of the world and Japanese painting has become representative of paintings which value glue and natural pigments. 1 he most important basic ma-terial supporting Japanese painting is Washi.
There are such basic materials as stonewalls, clay walls, wooden boards, silk and leather and Japanese painting are compatible with various materials but among them, Washi with its durability and beautiful texture, is the foundation of support for Japanese painting and it is possible to paint color thickly on it and utilize the texture of the paper.
Among Wasm mostly used for present-day Japanese painting, the cloud texture hemp paper made by Heizaburo Iwano of Echizen (Fukui) is well known but in other periods, it seems that there was a painter’s preference or a sort of fashion for a particular Washi material.
Paper used for paintings during the Muromachi (1336-1573), Momoyama (1573-1603) and the Yedo (1603-1867) periods were mostly Gampi Washi. These were the ages when the beauty of the gold leaf and fineness of paper texture was preferred. There was an age when Senshi (cf. Glossary) using Chinese Spindletree bark as raw material was greatly utilized or many instances when the paint¬ings prior to that age were painted on Kozo paper.
At present, the main technique of Japanese painting is to paint color material thickly so a truck hemp paper is preferred but Japanese painters in the past made efforts to search for Washi which is able to match the painting he desires to express.
The papermaker also had dialogue with the painter and such special Washi as Gahoo-shi or Hooan-shi (cf. Note) named after the painter were made and wielded a great influence on the individualistic painting expression of these painters.
In order to do away with criticism advocated a short time after the war that Japanese painting is a secondary art, the traditional technique was abandoned and expressionism valued. For that reason, it seems that attention was not |paid Ito the|basic |material. However, because of reflec-tion on the damage to some painting due to disregard for technique, some artists appeared who started to pay attention again to the basic
material and also papermakers who made paper to match his work of art. This kind of situation is an important matter when considering Washi and in the future, Washi suiting the artists’ expression will be more in demand.
Japanese painting does not use paper in as great amount as is used for calligraphy, but high quality paper made from carefully selected material and long-lasting paper is required. For that reason, excessive processing or bleaching of fibers is disliked because it could cause spots and early deteri-oration of the paper. Also papers which can cope with usage of large amounts of Dosa sizing required to fix the color material is necessary.
Anyway, it is a fact that the many special characteristics which Washi possesses is an important factor sustaining Japanese painting and for the sake of Japanese painting wmch bears a part of the culture of Japan, communication between the artist and papermaker is desired.
Note
Gahoo
Gahoo Hashimoto(1835-1908)
Hooan
Hooan Kosugi(1861-1964)
Answer: Isao Hayashi

Question 37.
Tell us about Washi and printmaking.

In May, 1988,the Machida City International Printmaking Art Museum was planning a workshop to be conducted by a German artist, Horst Janssen. I said “was planning” because this invitation which was so expected, unfortunately could not be realized due to health problems cropping up just before departure from his country.
However, his exclusive print technician, Freilinghaus came to Japan in his place and introduced a part of Janssen’s work.
This technician, Freilinghaus was not just a printer but was an eccentric person and known as an expressionist of shocking erotic and masochistic human character. It was also thought he might be influencing in someway the images of Horst Janssen, the rep-resentative artist and leading printmaker of West Germany. Janssen was widely known for his watercolor works but after meeting Freilinghaus and especially after experiencing the printing effect on Washi, he seems to have become fascinated with copper plate etching as one possessed. It should be especially mentioned that the fact that Freilinghaus selected Gampi and Mitsumata Washi papers contributed greatly to the tremendous increase of work and a new development of expressionism since Janssen’s fascination with copper plate etch-ing.
As everyone knows, etching is a type of print medium expression which must leave the total com-pletion of expression dependent on the printed effect. When we realize that in printing, not only technical skill but also selection of ink and paper has an important meaning, then it may be possible to fathom that Janssen’s fascination to copper plate etching was in part due to his discovery of Washi.
In February, 1972,I was invited to the specially established Art Department of Kochi University and gave a concentrated lecture on copper plate etching. I knew Kochi was historically famous as a producing center of Washi and in between lectures, I visited those papermakers remaining in Takao- ka and Ino-cho. At that time, the copper plate etching technique which had its roots in Europe was firmly established in Japan and it was a period when word of "etching boom” was even starting to be heard. However, regarding tools and materials for copper plate etching, paper was the only item that had to be imported from France. Carrying on the desire of the pioneer, Tetsuro Komai who worked very hard to establish genuine copper plate etching in Japan, it was my wish to foster this effort and I was hoping for a Japanese variation of copper plate etching using domestic materials and my visits to papermaking works was an idea with an eye to that objective.
Because of the thick and long inner bark fiber of Kozo Washi, it is not an appropriate paper for copper plate etching. Troubles arise, such as the tacky ink filling the concave areas of paper causing poor definition of print lines. However, paper called “Nacre” which is highly esteemed in France was thought to be made using Japanese techniques and also Gampi print, a technique often used by domestic artists as a method of printing by pasting a sheet of Gampi paper over western-style paper was resulting in a unique soft and tasteful effect so I thought there may be some room for innovation from these standpoints.
Fortunately, I was able to gain the acquaintence of the former Chief, Kaname Betchaku, of the Kochi Paper Industrial Labora-tory and he agreed to assist in development of a new paper based on it’s suitability for use in copper plate and lithograph printing.
Western-style paper used for printing was mainly made from rags in the past but in recent years, it is made from cotton pulp called linter. At that time, 2 kinds of printing paper made from cotton pulp were produced but including test papers made by the foresaid laboratory, these papers were not better than foreign papers which could also enhance the unique expressionism of the Japanese.For some time, exchange of test papers and results of test printing between the laboratory and myself continued. Gampi and Mitsumata papers were found to be highly adaptable to oleoginous ink and therefore suited the soft, delicate and aesthetic sense of the Japanese which has been fostered by a temperate cli-mate. Finally, a newly created paper called N. B. paper was made by making a sheet by the Tamezuki method and overlaying it with a thin Gampi ply. It took 3
years to make it into a marketable product but with the timely opportunity of being involved with the movement for promotion of local industries by Kochi prefecture, Mr. & Mrs. Kanatoshi Ozaki of Ino-cho are making a wonderful paper with cotton pulp as a base. Moreover, it was found out that “Nacrg” was a specially made Mitsumata paper.
Incidentally, Horst Janssen was an avid fan of Ukiyoe and was so enthusisastic that he once imagined himself as Hokusai and etched his own form fishing by the riverside. However, it is interesting to see that the most sensitive part of his artistic nature was printed on Gampi and Mitsumata paper. Admiration of the Orient in Europe is not a new development but it is unusual for anyone other than Janssen who has in a straight-forward manner injected his artistic style directly into Washi.
Intellect, emotion and volition comprise the mental factors of human beings and to me, it seems that “intellect” permeates western-style papers while “emo-tion” is interlocked into Washi. Compared to Europe where the object of paper was thought only to transmit, record and preserve “intellect”,it seems to me that in Japan, “emotion” was described and also fostered by this vehicle.
European civilization has reached a saturation point and has come to a standstill. As a result, considering the situation where the Orient is being newly rediscovered at the end of this century, I am surely not the only one who deems this development a great point of interest.
Answer: Tadayoshi Nakabayashi

Question 38.
What kind of arts and crafts of Washi are there? What sort of Washi is used?

A s representative arts and crafts utilizing Washi, the following may be mentioned : cut and pasted pictures, torn and pasted pictures, paper flower mak¬ing and paper dolls.
Cut and pasted and torn and pasted pictures are pictures drawn by use of paper which has been cut or torn. Mixing coloring material on a pallete to create various colors, like painting, is impossible. As the color of the dyed Washi is most important, beautifully dyed, non-fading high quality paper becomes necessary.
Paper cut with scissors is used for a pasted picture and handmade Washi is mainly used but at times, machine-made Washi is used in combination.
Paper torn by hand is pasted to make the picture and the “fluffi- ness” of the Washi when torn is valued, so handmade Washi made from Kozo and Mitsumata is used. There is absolutely no limit as to which Washi must be used but it is selected by the work of art, form of expression, etc..
As Washi is made by utilizing vegetable fibers as raw material, flowers made from Washi as compared to other imitation flowers will express a stronger likeness to real flowers and pos-sess a unique elegance. Momoyo Kaifu who is the foremost maker of Washi flowers says, "On a certain later date, each person will gather up his (her) past memories and with peace in heart, create a flower. This is the best feeling and is my creed when making a Washi flower”.
Washi dolls using Washi as the basic material has as roots such dolls as Kamibina (doll festival paper dolls) and Anesama Ningyo (playing dolls). Doll art using Washi is unique to Japan but recently, appreciation of this art is high overseas.
Those who wish to start doll- making should use Chiyogami (paper with colored, woodblock printed patterns) or Yuzen Kata- zome (paper stencil-dyed with decorative Yuzen textile patterns). When one desires to give the doll a gentle expression or movement, Chirimen Momigami (creped crumpled paper) or Konnyaku(dew\Vs tongue) treated decorated paper is the best. From there on, it is up to the artist’s imagination as to what he or she wants use. The variety is countless such as Itajime (fold and dye paper), Bijitsu Su- khnoyoogarni (paper made with artistic decorations on it) or Kamiko (paper clothing) to clothe the doll.
This can be said about each art and craft but by becoming acquainted with as many kinds of Waslii as possible, the breadth of expression of the item to be made shall become broader. Also, by handling many different kinds of paper, you will become more and more fascinated by Washi.
Answer: Tomoko Omura

Question 39.
Tell us about Origami (Paper-folding).

Origami was introduced to Japan around the 6th century from China. At that time, besides writing, paper was used to wrap offerings to the deities (salt, etc.).
At a traditional wedding in Japan, the sake-botWe is decorated with male and female paper butterflies.  It can be considered that paper was originally a material to be used in sacred rites.
Recently, among younger people, a wrapping boom has arisen and methods of gift wrapping have also been devised. A varigated development such as from “folding, wrapping, tieing” to “folding up, stacking, etc” has taken place.
The history of Japanese origami first started during the end of the Heian period (794-1192) when Kiyosuke of the Fujiwara family folded paper into the shape of a frog. During the Kamakura period (1192-1333) when nobles bestowed swords, etc.,there was a custom of attaching an origami on the list of contents. Even today, the words uorigami attached” remains which signifies historical or pedigree guarantee. Later, during the Muromachi period (1338-1573) paper-folding became one of the skills to be learned for good man-ners (etiquette) and developed into the Ogasawara school,Ise school and Saga school.
On the other hand, when the material called paper became easy to obtain during the Yedo period (1603-1867), origami spread through the populance as a play-thing of the masses. In the story ‘‘A Generation of an Amorous Fellow” written by Saikaku Ihara (1642-1693), a scene of paper- folding is depicted. Even at pres¬ent, when a prayer is offered “a thousand cranes” are folded. This endearing custom has been carried on for ages.
A few years ago, an American television station took up the themes of “Origami”, “Sake (Japanese wine)” and “Matsuri (Festivals) as representative of Japanese culture and the writer supplied information on origami• Reviewing the videotape sent me, the opening scene of “Origami” showed an employee at the sales booth of a department store skillfully rolling and wrapping up a round can of biscuits. It seems that everyday wrapping is seen by foreigners as a part of the origami genre.
A certain Frenchman who wrote in a handbook of origami gave as examples, ceremonial envelopes, written oracles, fans, wrapping of powdered medicine, kimonos and obis (sashes). In these Japanese acts of folding, folding up, tieing, stacking, etc., there is multi-colored beauty and sureness of hand work.
I have always felt that as a Japanese it is a pity to leave traditional aesthetic sense asleep which was bom naively and naturally from the long history in which we are living. Not only as a hobby, the action taken in folding a sheet of paper and making it into a three dimension figure has educational effect which fosters concentration, creativity and the feeling of discipline. It is recognized that the movement of the fingertips has such medical effects as stimu-lation of the brain, helping its development and prevention of senility. Thus, origami is currently encouraged in the educational field and at rehabilitation centers and has proved to be effective. Also in geometry and in the aeronautical engineering field of computer graphics, I hear that old and new origami is an object of research.
Before, Japanese children learned origami at home or at school and enjoyed themselves making simple and complex
origami. With the times, play has changed and origami has been discarded as educational material and not many children make origami any more. On the other hand, ironically, attention has been paid by schools in Europe, U. S.A., Mexico, New Zealand, etc. where lessons and lectures have been held and origami artists and enthusiasts are increasing throughout the world.
Japan has a long history of a unique paper called Washi which is thin and strong. This fact is the origin of the word u origami1'vthxch is now in common use throughout the world. Paper made from vegetation breathes and lives. I believe that to become intimate with origami is the same as directly touching and conversing with the origin of our great nature.
Origami transcends time, disregards location, can be made by both adults and children and in spite of a language barrier, with only one piece of paper, one can share joy with people of the world by creating a form with one’s fingertips. Origami may be made with any kind of paper lying around you but I wish that you would see with your own eyes, feel with your own hands and chal-lenge the traditional industrial art product, Washi—the softness and strength of it’s delicate texture, it’s abundant variety and beautiful differing colors. Washi should take you to an endless world. Origami which has been inherited by us, is, in my perception, the most peaceful of pastimes.
Answer: Kazuo Kobayashi

Question 40.
Tell us about wrapping and Washi.

“AA/"rapping” is one of the VV main functions of paper. Recently, it is reported that what is said to be the oldest paper in the world unearthed in China was wrapped around a bronze mirror. From this illustration, it is also said that perhaps, the object of papermaking was to wrap items. Anyway, it is certain that paper was not just a vehicle for writing. The paper of that ancient age was made by recycling rags and was probably cheaper than cloth and it was only natural that the public noticed that it was an excellent wrapping material. In the relation between man and goods, it is only natural, in our daily life, to use one thing in many ways.The act of “wrapping” is to collect the contents together, protect it, transport it and to make it easier to deliver. The representative wrapping device of Japan was probably the “ Furoshiki” (a wrapping cloth). The benefit of using the furoshiki which is able to contain different kinds of articles and wrap them in one piece of cloth should be highly evaluated as Japanese resourcefulness. Though the object of wrapping may be the same, in case of Washi, because of its physical character, it takes a different shape than the freeness of the furoshiki. Generally, compared to cloth, paper is thin, light and has tensile strength. It,s strength cannot rival cloth but the price is cheap. In the days when paper was a valuable item, waste paper, recycled paper, or paper made by accumulating waste raw material and cheap papers which could not be used for other purposes were probably used.
In case of “wrapping”,the paper is creased alongside the contents and then wrapped. For that reason, wrapping paper is reborn in a form newly restructured by straight lines. To enjoy such change and in accordance with the difference of the contents, different kinds of wrapping methods are devised by each generation. When using Washi, the wrapped form itself is beautiful. Also, the whiteness inherent to the paper is a symbol of purity and chastity and was a vital basic material for those who mastered ceremonies. Such skills as cutting and folding, etc. was applied to Washi and was often used as pendant paper strips in shrines, in congratulatory events and festive rites. Also, such traditional customs as the use of money envelopes and betrothal gift goods which are tied in with etiquette and linked to our daily living, is still practiced today.
Those papers called “ tsut- sumigami”or “ kosooshi” (both meaning wrapping paper in Japanese) came to be called **Wrapping paper” in the last 20 years. After World War 2, in all areas of food, clothing and shelter, the westernized influence became more evident and mass consumption became fixed as a social arrangement. “ Zoto-hin” (pres-ents), “Chugen” (mid-year gift) and “Seibo” (year-end gift) all came to be called “gifts’’and “ hosooshi” became “wrapping paper”. Originally, paper was an item attached to the merchandise and had no value but suddenly, attention became focused on
wrapping material itself. A growing number of specialty stores to handle gift merchandise only, imported and displayed a variety of beautiful wrapping paper. Initially, these stores mainly handled imports but with increased competition and overheating of this boom, higher grade goods were in demand and efforts were made in developing individualistic designs. However, with mass produced machine-made paper, discrimina-tion of paper quality was natu-rally limited. Therefore, the main object of designing became paper processing by printing, chemical treatment or embossing, etc. i.e. all kinds of paper processing tech-niques were freely employed to create an appealing product.
It is only natural that Washi became tied into this booming market. Viewing the quality of the paper itself, it is evident that Washi is superior quality-wise. Though printing may not be suitable, dyeing can be done without restraint and itsjstrength and light weight make it suitable for wrapping. Moreover, the strong point of Washi is its emotional appeal and the richness directly felt when handled amplifies the sentiment of the sender.
It is hardly possible that the wrapping industry should neglect this situation. Together with know-how on various ways of wrapping, Wasm became a part of the wrapping market. Since then, 10 years have elapsed and even at present, a small amount is market-ed as the highest grade wrapping paper available. Though it may not be called a boom,it is expected even hereafter that it will con-tinue to keep a share of the mar-ket supported by faithful enthusi-asts. However, when looking at Washi wrapping as merchandise, the display arrangement is poor. In case of western-style papers, wrapping paper wrapped on paper cores or wrapped in cellophane have already a permanent market. To sell wrapping papers wrapped up does not seem to be right but in order to channel this merchandise in the current market system, it is an unavoidable standardization.
If Washi is handled in the same method, such direct appealing factors as the sense of touch and the warmth inherent to Washi itself would be difficult to be conveyed. However, if it is uncovered, it will be a sad and unfortunate sight if left in a sales space dirtied by the surrounding atmosphere. The concern of those who love Washi and those managers of shops who desire to continue to supply Washi can be easily imagined. On top of that, the high production cost cannot be compared. Faced with such difficult problems, there are many shops which have given up handling of Washi. The present time is very important as to whether Washi is able to gain a footing in the world’s common wrapping market or not. The producer should not only rely upon cultural background of Washi but it is necessary to question oneself whether Washi is effective or not as a means of more richer commu-nication.
Currently, this is an age where people are examining paper and questioning its quality. From the global environment conservation standpoint, recycled paper and Washi are being highlighted. Paper is slowly but surely moving towards the situation where the function of paper is requested to be a vehicle of emotion as apart from being a vehicle of information.
I believe that in this situation, as a basic material to suit the aspiration of the consumer, Washi wrapping will be accepted by the people.
Answer: Kyoko Ibe

Question 41.
What kind of Washi is used in mounting?

The term “mounting” means mounting of hangings, scrolls, folding screens, framed paintings, sliding doors and also includes repair and mending of antiques.
Either in the East or West, after drawings, paintings, or calligraphy leave the artists,hand, they are finished by the mounting craftsman into hangings and fold-ing screens. What supports these artistic forms is paper on the back side and what they have in common is that it is all done by Washi. (especially Kozo paper).
For instance, taking a hanging scroll as an illustration, there are three stages of work, back surface mounting, additional back mounting and total back mounting using such Kozo papers as Minogami, Misugami and Udagami (cf. Glos-sary) separately.
Mounted works of art which have deteriorated over the years, need to be repaired by mounting craftsmen. Their main work is to renew the mounting paper. By this work, the work of art is passed on to the present and it is necessary
to say that the quality of the supporting Washi paper is very important.
The manufacturing process of paper due to technical advancement uses strong chemicals, so the inherent qualities of Washi such as strength and aesthetic appearance disappear and too often the paper is too white, the fiber weakens or the paper becomes acidic. It is evident that this kind of paper is not good for old works of art.
Also, drawings, paintings and calligraphy which have been damaged by insects must be repaired using the same high quality of paper. Better Washi making techniques of not only Kozo paper but also Gampi and Mitsumata are needed to make paper which can be used to restore and repair those works of art.
Such mountings and those crafts-men engaged in such work have a close relation inseparably bound with Washi.
Answer: Iwataro Oka

Question 42.
How is Washi used in architecture such as in homes or buildings?

It is said Japanese houses are made of wood and paper. That was the traditional way of life.  Paper has been used in many ways: on the floor, a Yutan (paper carpet), for open room spaces,sliding panel paper and sliding door papers, for the lower part of sand walls, Minatogami (cf. Glossary), for walls and ceilings, for room partitions, screens and folding screens and for lighting.
To keep out draught in winter, a large paper enclosure was hung up in the room. A hanging paper scroll is often hung in the To- konoma (alcove). Even for bedding, Kamifusuma (paper bed cover quilt) and for Kamiko (paper clothing) or Shifu (paper cloth), Washi was used.
For interior design, there is no country outside of Japan which has skillfully developed such a varigated culture using paper. It was the papermakers who made strong, clean Washi, the craftsmen who added beautiful designs and manufactured various articles of daily necessity and the sure aesthetic sense of those who introduced these items into their daily lives who made this possible.
However, today, the paper interior materials used in architecture are mainly for sliding panels and sliding doors. Vinyl plastic has replaced wall paper. The house owner, designer and contractor have since the war, placed too much importance on economics, function and easy construction so that they have ignored paper which is a more delicate construc-tion material.
However, once we step into a traditional private house or cere-monial tea house, why do we feel enveloped in a nostalgic peaceful-ness? Differing from such nonor- ganic material as concrete, steel and glass or such non-organic and hard material as synthetic resin, paper and wood once were living. Therefore, they respond to our inner psychology and speak to us with strong and silent words. The whisper of paper is deep and when our feelings are insensitive, that voice cannot be heard.
40 years have passed since the end of war and the livelihood of the Japanese has gradually returned to a settled life and it seems that more people are having another look at the good quality of Washi.
In ending, listed here are some points to consider when using Washi for interior decoration.
1. There are no restrictions on sliding panels and sliding doors but when using Washi on walls or ceiling, please check construction limitations. Even if resticted, there are some Washi products which will qualify.
2. Between handmade and machine-made Washi, there are differences in taste, quality, speci-fications and price. Please select according to the budget.
3. Regarding 10-30 years long- run value, handmade Washi for sliding panels or sliding doors is economical.
4. If mounting work is not appropriate, the paper will deteri-orate or fade with time. It is important not to cut down on backmounting costs.
5. Abundant designs on Washi
are available and special order designs even for 1 sheet can be made. Creative designing is possible.
6. It is possible to include Washi material to modern interior decoration. Consult a Washi store about your wishes.
7. Regarding special character-istics or actual work, please con-sult experienced paperhangers, mounters or approved wall paper stores.
Answer: Mitsuhiro Ban

Question 43.
It is said printing on Washi is difficult. Why?

In present day Japan, printing technique for western-style papers maintains the highest level in the world. With this technique, multi-color printing on Washi is highly possible and in the future, there is a great outlook opening up in development of the printing sphere. However, for that objective, it is necessary to overcome some technically unsolved problems.
Up to the beginning of the Meiji- period (1867-1926), all printed matter in Japan was on Washi. From the 1870’s on, western-style paper production increased and printing paper switched to western-style paper and the printing method changed from surface printing to lithograph printing and at present, color printing is very popular. During this time, even in the monochrome genre, Washi printing was restricted to a specialty field and multi-colored printing was regarded as hopeless. But is color printing on Washi hopeless?
Among readers of this book, I believe there are some who have seen Washi calendars at year end. These calendars are color printed on Washi made by expert papermakers of producing areas, carrying sketches of the ancient capital by the famous Japanese painting artist Isao Hayashi and printed by experienced printing technicians.
In this age of western-style papers which has a history of a 100 years, printing machines, printing ink and platemaking technology have all been made to adapt to western-style papers. However, looking back, color printing on western-style papers was not an entire success from the beginning. Even color prints about 20 years ago had color overruns and poor reproduction of photographs. Moreover, the colors of printing ink were not natural and were poor goods compared to present color printings. The peo-ple engaged in printing technology modified this situation together and reached the present-day high standard.
If papermakers and printing experts would study together and make efforts, color printing of Washi could be carried out much easier but the truth is that such efforts were not exerted and all concerned gave it up as hopeless.
World famous Washi has char-acteristics not available in western-style papers. If this Washi was printed with beautiful sub-jects equal to western-style papers, this would not only help in spreading reproduction and preservation of cultural assets, special printings and drawings but also Washi could be kept alive in everyday life. In this way, it would help greatly in the inheritance, dissemination and development of Japanese culture. This would also tie in with expansion of the printing area and also increase demand for Washi.
Especially, in the future, regarding problems to increase the printing area to Washi printing, the following matters can be considered.
1. How   to maintain the smooth-ness of Washi without losing its special characteristics of good texture and beauty.
2. Means to find methods to prevent show-through of ink.
3. Prevention of peeling or fluffing of paper. Modification of strong adhesiveness of printing ink to fit Washi.
4. Prevention of stretch or shrinking of paper. The printing machine prints while pulling the paper strongly. In case of multicolor printing, it will pull the paper as many times as the color differs so the printing structure must be improved. Again, in case of offset printing, the use of water will become the cause of stretch and shrink, so that must be alter-ed.
5. Modification of Washi so paper lint does not appear. Compared to western-style papers, there is much lint and as the printing plate becomes soiled, printing cannot be clearly done so Washi papermakers must also make efforts to modify their product.
These problems were, in the past, inherent in western-style paper printing but have been improved and modified. Of course, this problem can be overcome by the combined efforts of Washi papermakers, those engaged in printing machinery and material manufacturing. I look forward to the day that is accomplished and to the time when multi-colored printed Washi is spread throughout the world.
Answer: Shohei Asano

→ Index of WASHI Encyclopedia

→ Glossary of WASHI Encyclopedia