2. WASHI Encyclopedia





  • Iwate Prefecture Higashiyama Washi

A refugee of the overthrown Fujiwara clan seated at Hiraizumi (Hiraizumi-cho, Nishi Iwai-gun, Iwate ) first engaged in papermaking as a side line to farming and produced this Washi for use in daily life. It has a tradition of about 800 years. In 1942, 285 persons were engaged in papermaking but in 1988, only 4 papermakers have continued Washi production.
The raw material is the bark of cultivated Kozo and this paper has a natural Kozo color and a taste of fineness and elegance while being strong, so it is favored and used for Shojigami (cf. Glossary) and various other folkcraft items.

  • Miyagi Prefecture Shiroishi Washi

A special local species of paper mulberry (Kajinoki) is cultivated and is used to make a pure paper mulberry fiber Washi. This paper is soft and strong so it is appropriate for Shifu (woven paper cloth), Kamiko (paper clothing), calligraphy and drawing paper, Katazome (stencil dyeing paper), permanent preservation recording paper, wallpaper etc.. The paper produced today is the characteristic Michinokugami (cf. Glossary) which has been made since the Heian period (794-1192).

  • Fukushi'ma Prefecture Toonoshi

Raw material is 100% Kozo and is a winter made unbleached paper. T. his is a pure Washi made by the traditional method, meaning that Kozo is prepared into white bark, boiled with soda ash, hand beaten, handmade and dried naturally. The papermaking history of Katoono dates back to the Eiroku years (1558-1569) and due to encourgement of the Tanakura clan, Toonoshi was highly valued as Yedo samurai recording paper. In addition, the accounting ledger paper called Nobegami was also famous.
The paper is strong and has an elegant luster so is widely used for calligraphy paper, drawing paper (especially India ink painting), various paper arts (dolls, dyed paper, paper flowers, torn paper picture, pasted paper picture, Shifu, Japanese-style notebook, etc.) paper for taking impressions, Katagami (stencil dyeing paper), Fudagami (cf. Glossary), blockprint paper, vegetable wax dyeing paper, permanent preservation recording paper, general use paper and Shojigami.

  • Tochigi Prefecture Karasuyama Washi

This paper has been traditionally made in Karasuyamashi located in eastern To¬chigi. It has been handed down from about 1200 years ago.1 he reason papermaking started here is perhaps due to the natural gift of clear water from Naka river which flows from the Nasu mountain range.
This Washi is represented by Hodomu-rashi (cf. Glossary) but many other kinds of paper are made. It is known for its paper strength and elegance and the main characteristic is that it uses Kozo cultivated in the Nasu area and is famous for its fold resistance.
It is also well known for its making of Kaishi (cf. Glossary) for ceremonial use at the Imperial Household.

  • Ibaragi Prefecture Nishinouchi Washi

It is said that the history of Washi in Ibaragi is as old as 1500 years. Washi made by utilizing the clear water of Kuji river which originates from Mt. Yamizo rising above the boundries of Ibaragi, Fukushima and Tochigi. This paper was named Ni-shinouchi (cf. Glossary) by the venerable Lord Mitsukuni, second Lord of the Mito clan during the Tokugawa period (1603- 1867). This paper is famous even today as it was used for the “Dai Nippon-Shi (History of Greater Japan, 397 volumes, started 1657) which was a selection of history compiled by Lord Mitsukuni. The paper is made even today in the locality of Nishinouchi, Yamagata-cho, Naka-gun, Ibaragi.
Nishinouchishi folded in half came to be known as Hanshi (half-sized paper) and three sheets joined together came to be called Hangiri (half cuts). At present, besides being made for calligraphy paper, Japanese painting paper, India ink drawing paper and woodblock paper, it is made for permanent preservation paper.

  • Yamanashi Prefecture Nishijima Washi

This paper which has a history of about 450 years was favored by Lord Shingen Takeda as calligraphy paper. Later, after viscisitudes of time, it has continued up to the present, centering on production of calligraphy paper such as Gasenshi (cf. Glossary) and Hanshi (cf. Glossary).
The main raw material is waste paper (mainly Mitsumata) but straw, bamboo, etc. are mixed in. The ink color, blur, finish of the brush and brush application all are delicately expressed on this paper and it is praised by calligraphy experts as an excellent calligraphy paper.

  • Shizuoka Prefecture Suruga Hanshi, Shuzenjishi

Washi known as Suruga Hanshi or Shuzenjishi produced in the western part of Shizuoka, has a long history and tradition originating from the Nara period (710-794). In recent times, during the height of pros-perity, with development of the tea industry, there were about 70 papermaking villages.
The main raw materials are Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi and especially, after cultivation of Mitsumata became possible, production of Suruga Hanshi flourished. At present, a great amount is produced and paper made from “matured Mitsumata waste” is favored by calligraphy experts.

Suruga Yunogami
This paper is produced in an area centered on Yuno, Shibakawa-cho located at the eastern foot of Mt. Fuji and is made by utilizing the large natural spring water from the famous Shiraito Falls.
The main raw material of this paper is bark of Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi and the paper is handmade and dried naturally on Tochi (horse chestnut, Aesculus chinen- sis) boards. For that reason, it has a unique luster and feeling and a tranquil character. If the preservation method is suitable, it is widely favored as a permanent preserva-tion paper.

  • Saitama Prefecture

Ogawa Washi (Hosokawashi cf. Glossary)
It seems that the origin of this paper starts back in the 8th century. This is due to the reason that at that time, Buddhist tem-ples were constructed in various areas and a great amount of sutra copy paper was necessary.
In the 17th century, after the Tokugawa Shogunate government was established, the daily use of paper of the populance in-creased and the demand for Washi for such uses as publishing books, account books for trade dealings, etc. grew annually. As a supply source, this area (at present, the area around Ogawa-cho, Hiki-gun, Saitama) developed into a large papermak-ing center.
The traditional technique of the other name of Ogawa Washi i.e. “Hosokawashi” has been designated as an Important Intan¬gible Cultural Asset and papermaking still continues up to the present.
Wazo Odaka


  • Niigata Prefecture Echigo Washi

In the records of Shoso-In of the Nara period (710-794),it mentions that paper was made in Echigo (Niigata) and Sado (island off Niigata) which proves that Echigo Washi has a long history. In 1988, the Washi producing areas in Niigata totalled eight: 2 papermakers in Kawakami-mura, Higashi Kambara-gun (Koide Washi, Prefectural Intangible Cultural Asset),1 in Kamo-shi,1 in Takayanagi-cho, Kariwa-gun, 2 in Oguni-cho, Kariwa-gun and 2 in Yunotani- mura, Kita Uonuma-gun.
In areas with much snowfall, Kozo is cultivated in summer and made into to paper as side work in winter when snow falls and piles up. Here, papermakingi follows a traditional method of snow bleach¬ing of Kozo fibers and burying the newly made wet sheets in snow, recovering them in March when clear bright days increase and then board drying them.
The paper made is either bleached or unbleached Kozo paper and is used widely as Shojigami,printing paper, woodblock paper, kite paper, lantern paper and dyed paper.
Some paper is used for vegetable dye paper as the paper quality is high. It is both strong and sincere with a distinctive classic Washi feeling.
In March, 1988, all Niigata papermakers formed the “Echigo Handmade Washi Soci- ety” and mutual dialogue between papermakers became closer and in each producing center, the succeeding generation has been fostered and are continuing to uphold the tradition.

  • Toyama Prefecture Etchu Washi

In Shoso-In records (written about 750) the name of “Etchu Washi" can be seen together with Echizen (Niigata) and Mino(Gifu) Washi so Toyama is also an area where the art of papermaking started early in Japan.
The paper flourished after the feudal clan system was established and Uchi Yao-cho was the only papermaking area in the Toyama clan which produced medicine wrapping paper for the Etchu patent medicine as well as other papers. Tairamura Gokakami also realized an increasing market and need of such papers Shojigami, etc. for consumption in the neighboring large Kaga clan.
Present production centers are 3 paper mills located at Yatsuo-machi, Nei-gun (55 employees), 4 paper mills in Taira-mura, Higashi Tonami-gun (30 employees),1 mill in Hirugaya, Asahi-cho, Shimo Shinkawa- gun (3 employees). Both Yatsuo-machi and Hiranuma mills are specialized mills and the production scale is preeminent in Japan.
The paper is 100% Kozo and is a reliable paper made in line with traditional methods. At Yatsuo-machi, dyed paper, Momigami (cf. Glossary) and paper for various uses are made and the quality and beautiful coloring of the dyed paper have an established reputation. Tairamura Gokakami produces Shojigami, recording paper, lantern paper, calligraphy and draw-ing papers and at Hirugaya Asahi-cho, Shojigami and India ink drawing paper is produced. All these papers are called “Etchu Washi” and are designated as Japanese Traditional Industrial Art Items.
Making of design papers by stencil dye-ing and making of pouches and other processed goods utilizing the strength of the paper is flourishing. On top of that, papermakers are actively contemplating development of new uses such as in the interior decoration and architechture field.

  • Ishikawa Prefecture Kaga Washi

During the Yedo period (1603-1867) when this area was governed by the Kaga clan, paper used for formal ceremonies was called Goryoshi. Paper produced for Goryoshi, clan bank notes, wrapping paper to seal silver foil, etc. were, in total, called Kaga Washi.
From old times, the traditional art of gold and silver foil beating flourished in Ishikawa and connected with this, Hakuuchi-shi (paper for beating foil) was made in large amounts.
The present production centers in Ishikawa are Kanazawa-shi, Futamata-cho (3 papermakers), Tajima-cho (2),Wajima-shi (1), Kawakita-cho, Nomi-gun (1), Torigoe- mura, Ishikawa-gun (1).
At Futamata-cho, Obi (Japanese sashes made by Kamiko technique), Kaga color Hosho, Sukigata moyooshi (cf. Glossary) and Gampi paper containing clay used for finishing of foil beating are made. In this area, cultivation of Kozo and an establishment for experiencing papermaking by laymen is projected.
At Wajima, Gasenshi mixed with bamboo and cryptomeria bark fibers are made, at Kitagawa-cho, Gampi papers containing clay and at Torigoe-mura, 100% Kozo paper for upper and lower cover paper for foil beating is made.
Shoji Yamaguchi


  • Kyoto Kurodani Washi

Papermaking in Kurodani is said to have been started in old times by fugitive war¬riors of the Heike clan and handed on to their descendents. It has a tradition of about 800 years and is still continued today.
The characteristics of this Washi is, as common in all areas, utilization of good quality Kozo growing in the mountains of Tamba and Tango and clear water springs which are suitable for papermaking. From these natural blessings, a strong Washi was created. At present, there are only 3 or 4 Kozo papermakers but they continue the old papermaking method and produce paper while handing down the traditional technique to posterity.
This paper was made in the old days in an outlying area but today, as transporta¬tion has become easier, it has come to the attention of those concerned. It has been designated as a Kyoto Intangible Cultural Asset and is processed into many paper products which are then supplied to the market.
Tango Washi
This paper is made by carefully bleaching in the mountain stream of Isuzu river, the high quality Kozo cultivated in the vicinity of Mt. Oye (famous for the legend of repulsing of the ogre). The characteristic of this paper is that it is a folkcraft paper colored with vegetable dyes. It has a tradi¬tion of 120 years and at one time, over 200 papermakers were engaged in making Washi but at present, only 2 papermakers are still keeping up this tradition.
In 1975, it was designated Oye-cho Intan¬gible CulturalAsset and at present, paper-makers are producing calligraphy paper, folkcraft paper, etc. in the Futamata area, Oye-machi, Kasa-gun, Kyoto.

  • Shiga Prefecture Ohmi Naruko Washi

In the Engi-Shiki (cf. Question 8) it is recorded that Ohmi (Shiga) was paying government taxes with paper and paper hemp (raw material). From old times, raw material was abundant and Washi production was flourishing.
During the Bunsei years (1821-1831) the technique for making Naruko Washi was introduced from Echizen (Fukui) and paper was made by using Gampi which grew wild in the mountains. Especially, during the Meiji and Taisho periods (1867-1926) a great amount of paper for gold and silver thread (cf. Glossary) used for the famous Kyoto Nishijin textiles was made.
Gampi paper from this area is strong and densely made. It is characterized by deli¬cacy, elegance and soft texture. From the special qualities of Gampi, it is drawing attention as a permanent preservation paper and it is a well-known fact that a special run of Naruko Washi was supplied for the picture scroll entombed in the time capsule of the World Exposition to be preserved for 5000 years.
At present, this area is not only making Gampi papers but are also engaged in making various kinds of paper such as Kozo papers and light-colored dyed papers, etc..

  • Fukui Prefecture Echizen Washi

The name of this Washi can be seen in the annals of Shoso-In of the old Nara period (710-794). In the samurai society of the middle ages, demand for Hoshoshi increased and among them, Echizen Hosho and Torinoko (cf. Glossary) papers gained a high reputation as quality papers and the Echizen area came to be known as la representative Washi producing center.
Originally, Echizen Washi developed in the area located in the center of Fukui i. e. Goka area of Imadate-cho (Furoo, Ohtaki, Iwamoto, Shinzaike and Sadatomo) and even at present, about 100 household indus-tries are engaged in handmade, machine- made papermaking and paper processing. The products are Fusumagami (sliding panel paper), Komagami (cf. Glossary), Hoshoshi, Danshi (cf. Glossary), Shoken- yoshi (security paper), Gasenshi, etc.. The abundance and variety is unrivaled.
The pulp stock for this paper is stubborn-ly and strictly selected and the paper made retains a subtle nature. For sheet drying, the female Ginkgo tree boards are persistently used and it is a proud paper with fine

Wakasa Washi
During the reign of Tadakatsu Sakai, Lord of the Wakasa clan, cultivation of Kozo and Mitsumata was encouraged and papermaking in Nakanada made rapid progress. The products are ledger paper and base paper for paper umbrellas.
After the war, papermakers were members of the Fukui. Industrial Cooperative A’ssnl but 2 years later, they decided to become independent and as a technical reform they shifted from white papers to dyed papers such as Yuzen (Yuzen stencil dyeing), Shibori (tie dyeing), Itajime (fold and dye), Bokashigami (color gradation) for folkcraft use. Through these measures,
the name of Wakasa Washi came to be known and at present, an association has been formed with 7 papermakers and 2 dyers as active members. The “Wakasa Washi no Ie” (Wakasa Washi House) located at Toojiki, Obama-shi is engaged in direct sales.

  • Hyogo Prefecture Sugihara-gami

This paper is a Kozo paper produced at the early papermaking area, Sugihara-dani (present Kami-cho) located in Harima (Hyogo) and sutra copy paper and thin papers have been made here since the Nara period (710-794). During the Muromachi period (1336-1573),it was a written rule that “A samurai should not write on any other paper but Sugihara", so this paper was used widely as a samurai’s writing paper and for government correspondence.
Kozo grows abundantly in this area and good water flows from the deep valleys. Utilizing these natural benefits and through tireless ingenuity and effort, Sugihara paper has been favored for over 1000 years as a distinguished paper.
However, like other producing areas, due to a decrease in raw materials and change of occupation, production stopped at the end of the Taisho period (1926) but the people of Kami-cho revived this tradition and at present, by efforts of Masayasu Inoue, Sugihara paper is being produced again.
The beginning of this paper goes back to the age of civil wars (about 400 years ago) when Saint Renjo visited this area and Yaumon Higashiyama (1596-1623) learned the papermaking method of Echizen Washi and started papermaking here. He espe¬cially conceived the idea of mixing clay and even today, Nashio paper is famous for it’s Kin-Hakuuchishi (gold foil beating paper, cf. Glossary).
The characteristic of Nashioshi is the clay mixture production which cannot be made elsewhere. The method is to crush concentrated lime which is stirred in water and then mixing the suspended particles (bentonite) into the paper pulp. The paper has resistance against both moisture and dryness, preservation life is long, repels insects and due to the clay it is heat resistant. It has a soft luster and elegant simplicity.
As to the variety of paper, there is the Nashio Maniaishi (cf. Glossary), Nashio Uchikumo (cf. Glossary), Hakushita (cf. Glossary), Kin-gin Hakuuchishi and other folkcraft papers which are produced at Nashio, Shiose.machi, Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo.

  • Nara Prefecture Yoshino-gami

In ancient Nara, the south mountainous area near Yoshino was the center of paper- making and the paper was called Nara Gashi (elegant Nara paper) and was used in abundance. In 1540, the name of the paper changed from the area name of Nara to the producing area of Yoshino and up to today, this Yoshino name is generally used.
The characteristic of this paper is that it is a thin Kozo paper and so thin that it is called “Yoshino softies”. Especially, utilizing this characteristic, it is guaranteed to be the best paper adapted to filter lacquer.
White clay obtained from the mountains of Yoshino is mixed with the paper pulp and formed to create calligraphy paper which is highly esteemed as the best.
Also, at present, Yamato Uda paper (cf. Glossary) is produced and is widely used as a backing paper for mounting and for the same mounting use, a middle backing paper called Misu paper (cf. Glossary) is made. The characteristic of this paper is that after sheet-forming the wet sheet is immediately taken off the screen and dried on drying boards so both texture and strength have a subtlety which is said to be the masterpiece of Kozo papers. At present,16 papermakers are working hard to produce this paper.

  • Nagano Prefecture Uchiyama Washi

This paper is also called Uchiyama Shoin (cf. Glossary) and is known as a pure white Shojigami preferred by city dwellers. Iiyama-shi, Nozawa-mura and Sakai-mura, Shimo Takai-gun are areas with the highest snowfall in Japan, and the special char-acteristic of this paper is that the Kozo bark is bleached white by the “ Yuki Zara- shi” (snow bleaching) method. When snow time comes, summer-grown Kozo is used as raw material and everybody begins paper- making. The characteristic of this 100% Kozo Washi is that it has not only strength but permits ventilation and passing of light.

  • Gifu Prefecture Mino Washi

Mino (Gifu), Chikuzen (Fukuoka) and Buzen (between Fukuoka and Oita) papers were used for family registration in the 2nd year of Taiho (710) and among those family register papers, the fibers of the Mino produced Washi were uniformly entwined and there was no unevenness which indi¬cates it was the best among these papers. Also, at the end of this year, the Kiso mountain road (from West Nagano to Magome pass,120 kilometers) was opened which was also an industrial route so the territory of Mino has maintained an important position from the past to the present as an advanced papermaking area.
The characteristic of Mino Washi is that it has a uniform surface. This is achieved by skillful repetition of vertical and hori¬zontal movement of the screen. It has a high quality reputation superior to other local papers.
This paper is designated as an Intangible Important Cultural Asset. At present about 40 papermakers are producing art paper, folkcraft paper, Ise Katagami (cf. Glossary), and mounting paper.
Takashi Mame


In the 3 prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama and Yamaguchi, there are a few Washi producing areas left. Yokono in Tsuyama-shi, Okayama is a producing area of Kinpaku Aishi (Gold foil interleaf paper) and has also recently started to produce processed papers.
Besides this, Bitchu Washi {Kozo, Mit-sumata and Gampi paper) located in Kurashiki-shi, Okayama has a history of about 1000 years. Niimi-shi which produces Takao Washi (Kozo paper), Ohtake Washi {Kozo paper) produced in Ohtake, Hiroshima and Tokuchi Washi {Kozo paper) and Tokuchi-machi, Yamaguchi still remain in operation.

  • Tottori Prefecture Inshu Washi

This paper is made at Aoya-machi, Ketaka-gun and Saji-machi, Yasu-gun located in East Tottori and is the second largest producing center next to Echizen (Fukui) Washi.
It has a history over 1000 years and during the Yedo period (1603-1867) prospered as a supplier of paper officially designated by the clan. After the Meiji period (1867- 1912) such daily use papers as Shojigami, copy base paper and office use papers were made in volume. After World War 2,paper-makers switched to and developed and supplied calligraphy paper, Chigiri-e yoshi (paper for torn paper picture). The industry has always adapted to the changes in lifestyle of the general public. Therefore, products are diversified.
Gasenshi (calligraphy paper) and halt- size calligraphy paper are skillfully made by combining straw, miscanthus, bamboo and wood pulp with Kozo and Mitsumata. Therefore, it reproduces a sharp ink color and has a good reputation as a paper which has excellent expression of light and dark shades of ink. Also, art paper and processed Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi papers are
famous and appeal to the user because of their qualities of good design and color and dyeing technique.

  • Shimane Prefecture Izumo Washi

Izumo Washi is a general term for papers made in the Izumo area of Shimane. and at present, the following papers are made in the 3 areas of Izumo. Folkcraft paper (Yagumo-mura, Yatsuka-gun), Hirose Washi (Hirose-machi, Nogi-gun) and Hiik- awa Washi (Mitoya-cho, Iishi-gun).
The origin of Izumo folkcraft paper is said to be from the Heian period (794-1192). The main materials are Gampi, Kozo and Mitsumata and among them, the unbleached Gampi paper made by Eishiro Abe (deceased) who was designated a Living National Treasure, was famous and even at present, his granchildren, the brothers Shinichiro and Norimasa are keeping up the tradition.
The characteristics of this paper is careful selection of raw material and with the aim of extracting only the pure paper fiber. By making most of its specific quality, they have succeeded in making an unrivalled beautiful Washi. There are also complete sets of many beautifully dyed papers.
Sekishu Washi, Sekishu Hanshi (cf. Glossary)
Sekishu Washi is made at the following 3 towns:at Misumi-cho,Naka-gun as the cen-tral producing area, Tsuwano.cho, Kanoashi-gun and Sakurae-cho, Ouchi-gun. Sekishu Hanshi is produced at Misumi-cho.
The origin dates back to the Nara Period (710-794) and in the Yedo Period (1603- 1867), Sekishu Hanshi was the standard paper of the age with the Osaka market as the distribution center. Kozo is the raw material but it has a unique method of production. At the alkali boiling stage, the epidermis of the Kozo bark is not removed and great care is taken at the beating stage to separate the fibers uniformly, which aids in making a strong and beautiful paper.
The Sekishu Hanshi which is produced by the Sekishu Hanshi Technical Assembly, is designated as an Important National Intan¬gible Asset and that technique has been carried on up to today. Recently, Kozo is the main raw material, but Mitsumata and Gampi papers and a wide variety of Washi processed goods are also produced.
Yasuro Hamatani


Shikoku is an area which produces much paper. From the past, raw material has been cultivated and delivered to all parts of Japan. The volume of water in the rivers in Shikoku is abundant and it may be said that as a paper producing area, conditions of location are ideal.
For this reason, there are many handmade and machine-made paper mills loca¬ted here. In Kawanoe-shi, Ehime, there are such large industries as Daio and Maru- uzumi Paper Companies and at Ino-cho and Tosa-shi, Kochi, there are also many machine-made paper mills. There are no other areas in Japan where these mills in close proximity with handmade paper mills coexist and coprosper with each other.
93 Washi mills (no. of vats, 179) are located in the Shikoku area and in 1976,Tosa and Awa Washi and in 1977, Oozu Washi were designated National Traditional Industrial Art. While expressing their spe¬cial qualities, these papers are preserving the traditional papermaking technique.

  • Ehime Prefecture

In the Kawanoe area, there are 17 Washi makers mainly producing Mozo Hanshi and Kairyo-shi (cf. Glossary).
A large variety of raw materials are used and they are producing calligraphy papers, each of which have their special character¬istic and it may be said that it is a production center where a mass production system is maintained. As mentioned before, there are many machine-made paper mills and next door to a large enterprise emitting smoke from a smoke-stack over 200 meters tall, Washi makers are making a living and this scene seems strange but at the same time, the difference between traditional industry and modern industry can be clearly understood.
In the Tooyo area,17 paper mills produce Hoshoshi and Danshi. Crepeing of Danshi is a valuable technique born from tradition.
In the Ikazaki area (Kita-gun), there are 5 Washi mills which are making Kozo papers, Shojigami and calligraphy Hanshi. One mill has 15 vats lined up and is an imposing sight.
In Nomura-cho (Higashi Uwa-gun), a mill produces Senka-shi (cf. Glossary) which has been made from the past and even in Matsuyama-shi 1 mill remains which makes calligraphy paper.

  • Kochi Prefecture

In the Takaoka area of Kochi-shi, there are 25 Washi mills which are producing Shojigami, calligraphy and art papers. In this area, compared to the past, the scale of Washi mills has become smaller but there are many younger generation papermakers who often play baseball together with the other young men of Ino-cho (Agawa-gun) and it may be said it is an area composed of three generations of papermakers.
In the Ino area, Tengujo (cf. Glossary), Zubikishi (tracing paper) and base paper for mimeograph use was produced in the past but due to the great change in office machinery, demand for these papers de-creased sharply. However, recently, with “Tosa Washi Traditional Industry Hall as a center, the variety of Washi has increased and with traditional papermaking tech-nique a fine texture Washi is being produced. At 12 Washi mills, mainly art paper and mounting paper are made and ultra thin papers which have been made from the past are also still produced.
Also, at Monobe-mura (Kami-gun) 3 Washi makers produce Niraushi, at Otoyo- machi (Nagaoka-gun)1 mill makes Iwahara-shi, at Nangoku-shi,1 mill makes Gasenshi, at Agawa-mura (Agawa-gun)1 mill makes Seichoshi (cf. Glossary), at Hayama-mura (Takaoka-gun) 2 mills make Suzaka Hanshi,at Kubokawa-machi (Takaoka-gun)1 mill makes Shojigami and at Hidaka-mura (Takaoka-gun)1 mill makes Kozo papers adding up to a total of 10 mills. In these areas, cultivation of papermaking material is active, so the spe¬cial traits of raw material is well known and a distinctive featured Washi is produced.
In this way, in Kochi, Washi mills are located throughout the whole area of the prefecture so the variety of Washi is great But on top of that, it is a producing area where the 3 “makings” i.e. papermaking, raw material making (cultivation) and tool making are all assembled in one area.

  • Tokushima Prefecture

In Tokushima there is 1 mill in Yamakawa-cho (Oe-gun), 3 mills in Kami Naka-cho (Naka-gun) and 1 mill in Ikeda- cho (Miyoshi-gun).
At the Yamakawa-cho mill,a great variety of dyed papers are made and has prospered together with the folkcraft paper boom. On the ceiling and walls of the International Scientific Exposition held in 1985, blue dyed paper and vegetable-dyed paper were used for decoration. In March, 1989, the Awa Washi Traditional Industry Hall was inagurated. It is an area where there are many subjects of interest regarding the Washi industry.
In this way, Shikoku is a paper producing area which has possibilities to grow larger in the future and further develop as a paper producing center.
Kenichi Miyazaki


It is said that Washi making spread to Kyushu during the Bunroku years (1592- 1596) and was introduced by Saint Ni- chigen, a priest of the Nichiren Sect. At the Fukudai Temple in Chikugo-shi, Fukuoka (formerly Mizoguchi, Furukawa-mura, Yame-gun, Fukuoka) there is a monument inscribed with the words “The Birthplace of Kyushu Papermaking” written by Ta- keakira Enomoto (1836-1908,an important member of the Meiji government) and a statue of Saint Nichigen. Thereafter, it is said that the papermaking technique spread to the various areas in Kyushu.
The golden days of papermaking in the Kyushu area was 25 years from the end of the Meiji period to the beginning of the Showa period (1903-1928). The number of papermakers totaled 7000 and paper was exported to China and Korea. The highest peak of production was reached around the 2-3 year of Showa (1927-28) and after that, the number of papermakers and production decreased.
After World War 2,a temporary boom arose but due to the change in life-style of the general public, demand for Washi con¬tinuously decreased and at present, there are only 30 papermakers.

  •  Fukuoka Prefecture Yame Washi (Chikugo Washi)

Yame Washi was originally called Chi-kugo Washi and its production was initiated by Saint Nichigen. This Washi has the oldest history and tradition in the Kyushu area. The characteristic is using as main raw material, the long-fibered Kozo indigenous to the Yame area and producing paper by skillful traditional methods. Therefore, the quality is elegant and strong and denies all attempts at imitation by other local papers.
This paper is favored widely in such uses as mounting paper, painting and writing paper, woodblock printing, folkcraft paper,
industrial use, etc. and recently, a new demand area is being developed by produc-tion of processed items. In 1972, it was designated as Fukuoka Intangible Cultural Asset (industrial art technique) and in 1978, as Fukuoka Special Industrial Art.

  • Saga Prefecture Nao Washi

This paper developed as a side work of the farmers located in Nao, Yamato-cho Saga-gun who mainly produced lantern paper and at present, 3 papermakers are designated as Saga Cultural Assets.
Jubashi Washi
This paper also was a side work of the farmers located in Jubashi, Imari-shi and at present, there are 5 papermakers. They are designated as Imari-shi Intangible Cultural Assets.
This paper is used for lantern paper, mounting paper, calligraphy paper, etc. and cooperative work in the manufacturing process is being carried out.

  • Oita Prefecture Yayoe Washi

At Yayoe-cho, Minami Amabe-gun, Sho¬jigami, umbrella paper and Hoshoshi are being produced and are designated as Yayoe-cho Intangible Cultural Assets. At present, development of products to meet consumer needs are carried out.

  • Miyazaki Prefecture Hokita Washi

At the Hokita area, north of Saito-shi, production of machine-made and handmade Washi is carried out on a small scale.

  • Kumamoto Prefecture Miyaji Washi

The tradition of Miyaji Washi produced at Miyaji, Yatsushiro-shi, is carried on by Hiroshi Miyata alone who is mainly making Shojigami. For that reason, the prefec¬ture and Yatsushiro-shi are backing up the fostering of Miyaji Washi.

  • Kagoshima Prefecture Gamoo Washi

This paper is produced in Gamoo-cho, Aira-gun, and is used for Shojigami and mounting paper. They are also expanding production to include writing and painting paper.

  • Okinawa Prefecture Ryukyu Paper

At Takaraguchi Hikawa located in Gibo-cho, Shuri, Naha-shi, good quality water flowed forth and the Ryukyu royal government established a papermaking mill. Even after the royal government was annexed, Tosa paper artisans were invited and a modified paper mill was constructed but was destroyed by the disaster of World War 2 and ceased to exist. Eishiro Abe who participated in the Folkcraft Movement highly desired restoration of Ryukyu paper. His follower, Kimihiko Katsu, moved to Takaraguchi Hikawa in December, 1977, and attempted to restore Ryukyu paper production using the local Plantain (Musa Paradisiach) and green Gampi as raw material. He was successful and later increased the assortment of papers by utilizing local vegetation to make brilliant-colored dyed papers befitting to the tropical south island. These papers gathered much attention. However, in 1987, he passed away suddenly at the age of 40 and now, 2 of his appren-tices (Meisei Ankei and Chosho Takayasu) are continuing his work.
Jitsumo Akiyama

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