Washi craftsmen VOL1

Washi craftsmen VOL1(※YouTube MEXTch)

Misugami is handmade backing paper used for paintings and calligraphic works..
Misugami paper washi has traditionally been handcrafted in the Yoshino region in Nara Prefecture. Using bark from the paper mulberry plant, the branches are profusely washed in a solution containing white pigment. The washed paper is then affixed onto a drying board to dry, giving it a rough and transparent finish. The paper is soft and flexible and enables glue to adhere incredibly well to the surface. Misugami is essential for roll-up paintings and calligraphic works.
Nowadays, misugami craftsmen are very few in number. As these craftsmen are essential for the preservation of cultural properties, action is needed to preserve their technique.

Washi craftsmen VOL2

Washi craftsmen VOL2(※YouTube MEXTch)

Upon considering the characteristic of the paper mulberry plant, the traditional technique involves steaming the bark in tree ashes and refining it by hand-striking the fibers. Ryoji Uekubo has restored several national treasures and cultural properties. He is now an indispensable asset to Japan in the restoration of cultural properties.

Washi craftsmen VOL3

Washi craftsmen VOL3(※YouTube MEXTch)

White pigment is first added to the tub. Using a wooden lever, the branches are vigorously washed. The sunset hibiscus plant is further added to this mixture. Fine adjustments must be made to secure just the right amount of hibiscus plant which is the most difficult process. Finally, the process of manufacturing paper sheets begins.

Washi craftsmen VOL4

Washi craftsmen VOL4(※YouTube MEXTch)

Wrist movements are critical when making washi paper.

Washi craftsmen VOL5

Washi craftsmen VOL5(※YouTube MEXTch)

Setting the paper to dry out in the sun gives it an extremely soft and delicate finish.


Office for Public Relations and Press, Management and Coordination Division, Minister's Secretariat

(Office for Public Relations and Press, Management and Coordination Division, Minister's Secretariat)