Japanese Paper & Paper Craft

Japanese Paper

Japanese paper is well known for its beauty and its distinctive patterns. It used can be used for writing and wrapping but it also is an elementary part of Japanese sliding screens and windows. Over time multiple centers of paper making have developed in Japan. On this page we introduced a few Japanese papers that have been recognized as national crafts.

Awa Paper / Awa Washi / 阿波和紙

Awa Paper originates from the city of Yamakawa in the Tokushima prefecture and paper production for imperial court ceremonies can be traced back to the 8th century. Although various papers for calligraphy, craft and painting are made in Awa, the indigo-dyed paper of Awa is the most distinctive output.

Tosa Paper / Tosa Washi / 土佐和紙

Tosa Paper from Ino city in Kochi prefecture since centuries is famous for its colored paper although a vast range of papers is still being produced.  Traditional papers for shoji window-screen or calligraphy are made as well as papers for contemporary use such as fine quality printing as well as gift wrapping.

Inshu Paper / Inshu Washi / 因習和紙

Inshu Paper is made in the village of Saki in the Tottori prefecture. It has a long history and it is well known for artists’ papers which are very distinctive. In addition to art and craft papers for important records, documents as well as wallpaper, paper for sliding screens, translucent paper for shoji window-screens, and some colored papers are produced.

Echizen Paper / Echizen Washi / 越前和紙

Echizen Paper has a history of being used for official purposes. It was used by the court around 927, has been used to write down official orders and even supplied paper for official bank notes at the end of the nineteenth century. Today Echizen produces a wide range of paper for official use (e.g. bonds and checks) as well as common use for gliding slides and screens, stationery, painting and calligraphy.

Uchiyama Paper / Uchiyama Washi / 内山和紙

Uchiyama Paper from IIyama city in Nagano prefecture is particularly known for its strength. Iiyama’s abundant streams, clean air, cold winter temperatures and heavy snowfalls play an important role in its production. Techniques for paper making include freezing the bark fibers by laying them onto the snow and snow bleaching, which imparts a soft whiteness to the sheets.

Japanese Paper Craft

Having a long history of making great papers it is no wonder that many Japanese customers make use of objects made of paper. Here is a selection of a few Japanese paper crafts which survived and still are part of modern days.

Inu Hariko / 犬はりこ

Inu Hariko are papier-mâché dogs dating back to the late Edo period, when they were given to children as toys.But they also have been given to pregnant women as good-luck charms because it was believed that dogs give birth easily without complications.

Daruma Dolls / だるま

Daruma is a doll of papier-mâché sold with white eyes. When a goal is set the left eye is filled and the right eye will be filled after achievement of the goal. It is a great ceremony for teams who want to achieve a common goal where every member of a team can sign on back of the Daruma to express commitment to achieve the goal.

Akabeko / 赤べこ

Akabeko (red cow) is a traditional toy from the Aizu region of Japan. The toy is made from two pieces of papier-mâché-covered wood, shaped and painted to look like a red cow or ox. When the toy is moved, the head thus bobs up and down and side to side.

Meet the brands & artists making Japanese paper crafts

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