Monday, October 02, 2023

Papermaking techniques

Kawata river area and Kotsu mountain The original papermaking technique came from China and quickly spread throughout Japan. This evolved into washi that reflected the special skills of the papermaker, the feelings of the people and the area (materials, climate, and traditions). Many types of washi reflect their area of production in their names, such as Awa (Tokushima), Tosa (Kochi), Mino (Fukui) and Sekishu (Shimane) prefectures. According to the Kogoshui (807A.D.), an ancient record, Awa prospered due to the production of paper and cloth from the locally grown hemp and paper mulberry(kozo). Since the god, Amenohiwashinomikoto, an ancestor of the ruling Inbe clan, made the first paper in Awa, this technique has been transmitted down through the generations until today. During the Edo period, various kinds of paper from Awa became well known, especially the indigo dyed washi. This was even exhibited at the 1890 Paris Expo and today, remains a special product of Tokushima. During the Meiji era, when washi production was at its peak, there were 500 manufactures in the Yoshino River area and 200 in this Kawata River area. However, it was also the beginning of the decline for washi, as the demand for Western paper instead. The tradition of washi making is not a thing of the past but is something to be maintained and passed to the next generation. The Awagami Factory was established to preserve and broaden the awareness for the beauty, strength and sensitivity of washi.