NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Papermaking with a history of more than 1000 years “Mino Washi, Tatsuo Ichihara”

Papermaking with a history of more than 1000 years
"Mino Washi, Tatsuo Ichihara"

 

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“Washi” made in Mino

”Mino Washi” is well known all over the country. The exact history of when it started is not known, however, the oldest family registry which is kept in Shosoin in Nara Prefecture was made with ”Mino washi”, so it definitely goes back as far as the Nara period.
The quality of ”Mino washi” is very high, so it was used as official paper for the Imperial Court for things like Imperial edicts.
After the Kamakura period, ”Mino washi” went through times of decreased production, but the Toki family, guards of Mino Country, promoted the industry and shipped them as ”Mino shi” (Mino paper) to all parts of the country.
In Edo period, it was used for ”shoji” paper doors. It was so popular that the word ”Mino” came to be used as another word representing ”shoji”.

Creating artistic paper

“Mino washi” also supported traditional ”kogei” of Gifu as well. The color of ”Mino washi” is soft and delicate, and when held up to light, you can see the fibers intertwining beautifully in vertical and horizontal directions. This makes the paper suitable for making items like Gifu lanterns and Gifu Japanese umbrellas.

Tatsuo Ichihara, whose workshop we visited, is a professional with 60 years of experience in the field.
He produces not only the traditional ”shoji” papers but also colorful lace-patterned paper and art paper with plants woven in.
He makes small crafts from his ”washi”. In a sense, he creates beauty which cannot be imagined from the word ”paper”.

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ACCESS

Mino Washi Tatsuo Ichihara
Mino City, Gifu Prefecture