Echizen WashiEchizen Paper

Beautiful princess will appear in Futoshi Oka River of this village now approximately 1,500 years ago and is informed papermaking (do) kino gi when we told. In the Nara era, we were given an important post as copying of a sutra paper to pass, and to represent o of Buddhism.
When samurai came to begin to use paper in large quantities, technique, amount of production of papermaking improved, and paper of quality that "Echizen orders" were high in came to be made and we were under the protection of the Shogunate and feudal lord as production center of paper and developed afterwards. We are strongly supported by many artists including Taikan Yokoyama, and the name is known to the whole country for modern times.

Legend has it that some 1,500 years ago, a beautiful princess came to the village of Okatagawa and taught the people there how to make paper. In the Nara period (710-794) the paper was highly respected for the copying of Buddhist sutras. Then, when paper began to be used in large quantities by the warrior class, some very high quality papers such as Echizen Hosho were produced in large amounts and using improved techniques.
It was then that the Shogunate and feudal lords gave this paper producing area their patronage and further developments were made. In more recent times many artists including the famous painter, Taikan Yokoyama, have favored Echizen Washi, which are well known throughout the country.

Epitomizing Japanese culture, Echizen Washi have an almost indescribable richness and quality springing from their strength and suppleness, while also having a fine surface quality full of warmth and texture that only handmade paper boasts. The range of papers is immense including fine art papers, printing papers and some for the printing of woodblock prints. Others are made for calligraphy, envelopes and writing paper. Exclusive papers are also made for diplomas and a fine translucent paper is produced for the sliding screens or shoji of the traditional house.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Paper making is thing by any of the following.

    When is in Japanese vellum, thing by the next technique or technique.

    Thing by "collection creation of dried laver."

    Mat use thing made of wire netting.

    "Work out"; for o do not be.

    When is to thing except Japanese vellum, thing by the next technique or technique.

    Thing by "we drain creation of dried laver."

    Mat use thing bamboo or made of lawn.

    "We work out" use hibiscus.

    Drying is thing by "boarded place drying" or "iron plate drying".

    Raw materials

    Assume main material paper mulberry, paper bush, Lychnis coronata or hemp.

  • Work scenery

    Process 1: Boiling

    We mix caustic soda and soda ash with pot and boil mitsumata, Paper mulberry, unsized silk paper, Manila fiber becoming raw materials. Depending on raw materials and use, we adjust quantity of soda ash and time for boiling. For example, we use for kana writing paper, high-quality fusuma paper as unsized silk paper is shiny and can make thin paper. As Paper mulberry has a long fiber, we use as paper for woodcut. We reduce soda ash to be able to use fiber of Paper mulberry by the same length and lengthen boiling time.

    Process 2: Dustcloth, seisen

    tori rino gets out by hand while washing parts such as wounds of impurities and fiber itself such as garbage which is mixed in raw materials if we boil in water. When rain gets from wound under the influence of the pruning or wind of tree becoming raw materials, wound says to part of the inside. We do like that and all remove part of wound that there has been at this time.

    Process 3: Beat

    We ride raw materials on the board of zelkova and we swat with stick of oak and untie. And we beat in Japanese halberd beater more.

    Process 4: Bleaching

    We bleach by paper and dye. Paper which Iwano makes seems to be natural color.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 5: sukiso

    We put Nellie such as Hydrangea paniculata and hibiscus. As kind is in Nellie, we use suitable Nellie. In addition, we mix and may use.

    Process 6: Papermaking

    We make paper using sukiso. At that time, we sandwich thread between paper and paper. Technique that was an expert of is necessary to make paper so that thickness of paper becomes uniform. Paper which we made makes direction the same and repeats. In addition, Echizen Washi has technique called way of drawing a picture on the water, too.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 7: Compression

    When it is how many or is piled up, we give water. With compressor, we pressure up and down and give water now.

    Process 8: he giwake

    We take off thread which we sandwiched and tear off one piece of paper. Paper which we tore off can stick to board of tree of gingko nut and dries. We dried in the sun in old days, but dry now using room (muro).

    Process 9: Polish

    It varies according to uses, but we put through roll and provide luster and complete thing giving luster if we dry.


  • Close-up

    Boyhood when we wanted to become sculptor of woodcut

    Iwano who helped with work of father as boy by the temple acquired technique of papermaking by model-learning. But there was way which Iwano aimed at elsewhere. We say that Iwano who saw many woodcuts wanted to advance to way of sculptor since childhood whether paper which father makes is because it was specialized Washi Paper printing woodcut. However, in the times, supply of Washi Paper for woodcut is not enough. When, in Japan after the war, the Operation Armies right brought ukiyoe print in own country. When we could not go if we did not make Washi Paper more and more, we were not able to chase dream. We came to cannot but inherit business, but while we knew various trips before making thing and Washi Paper of Paper mulberry of raw materials without therefore staying only for papermaking, we began to be interested in profundity of Washi Paper creation of dried laver and have begun to have pride in making exclusive paper of woodcut again.

    Work scenery of Iwano

    We surpass father

    Father who was predecessors in the family line made Washi Paper, and he began being craftsman, and we were authorized by living national treasure. Beside such a father, Iwano who made paper together looks back saying it is saying it "has not been scolded that it was shouted by father even if we fail". Because "we do not become able to make well even if we shout. But other paper was said not to go to see"
    Using the best raw materials, it would be parental affection to pray for when we wanted you to inherit traditional technique without having an affair for father who made Washi Paper by expertise. In response to the thought, Iwano uses hibiscus of kneading on fire rinihanoriutsugini small quantity using white bark of the best Paper mulberry. We compare in the days of father, and thickness of paper is warm, and order is placed. Modesty has a slight saying it is saying "it was apt to come to seem to be rugged, but thinks whether you come to make such a paper, and you approached father if it attains thickness" and laughs. "Papermaker does not have expert in first graders throughout the life."

    Iwano is particular about board to dry saying "luster that should not be gingko nut board does not appear"

    We do our best for the best Washi Paper

    The quality of print is up to paper, too. Therefore we are not allowed to cut corners saying it is with "paper which work that it is easy to print is easy to make". The best joy is thing and voice from various places of woodblock artist, "only paper of Ichibee Iwano is usable" to see print work which came off the press for Iwano working on Washi Paper seriously every day. As "unrewarded drudge," we support art of Japan. Papermaker said, "it is that Mainichi did its best" only for work that deception did not work for.
    It is June, 2000 that Iwano was authorized by living national treasure. Thereafter, Washi Paper which Iwano makes lets value soar in some shops. We smile wryly saying it is saying "it is the disposal to become higher, and to come out to imitation.".

    The succession of Echizen Washi

    In the about sixth century, technique of papermaking came from continent. "Village of Echizen Washi is because it is the birthplace of Washi Paper. Therefore saying there is thought to have to succeed to this technique; as for said that was in old days and hot thought not to change. We say that there is person coming to learn technique of papermaking from foreign country. We decline sometime soon by doing the behind closed doors traditional succession between families. It is necessary to exceed racial limit to really succeed to technique of papermaking.

    Craftsman profile

    Ichibee Iwano (iwanoichihei)

    Ninth generation Ichibee Iwano.
    We become country designation holder of an important intangible cultural property in June, 2000.


    2.7 meters in height, Echizen Washi of huge Washi Paper Nara Yakushi-ji Temple of 3.75 meters in width

    Large fresco which Ikuo Hirayama of Japanese painter spent time of 30 years on December 31, 2000 and completed was dedicated to large Tang Western Regions fresco in House of Xuangzang three official storehouses Buddhist monastery. The Washi Paper about masterpiece of 2.2 meters in height 49 meters in length is living national treasure, making paper by hand Washi Paper of Heisaburo Iwano. 2.7 meters in height, huge Washi Paper of 3.75 meters in width are far beyond common sense of the Washi Paper industry of Japan. It is record Washi Paper made with six people in particular.

    Exhibition of large Tang Western Regions fresco
    We open specially until from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 13 (when humidity exceeds 70%, visit may be called off)
    Visit time from 8:30 to 17:00 (until reception desk 16:30)
    Admission fee 800 yen for adults, junior and senior high school students 700 yen, primary schoolchild 300 yen
    Address 〒 630-8563 457, Nishinokyocho, Nara-shi
    0742-33-6001, 0774-33-6004
    URLhttp://www.nara-yakushiji .com

    • Yakushi-ji Temple



Industrial art object name Echizen Washi
Phonetic symbol echizenwashi
Classification of industrial art object Washi Paper
Main product Woodcut, sliding paper-door (sliding paper-door) paper, print, certificate, calligraphy, Japanese painting, colored paper, envelope, letter paper (letter paper)
Main production area Fukui / Echizen-shi
The designation date June 2, 1976

Contact information

■local production associations

Fukui Washi Paper industry cooperative association
8-44, Shinzaikecho, Echizen-shi, Fukui
TEL: 0778-43-0875
FAX: 0778-43-1142

■Associated exhibit space, facility


We have rich sensitivity of "generation" (unbleached) not to be able to express by words such as elegant temperaments filled with warmth, personality, toughness that paper itself lasts again, and "Japanese culture" is breathing Washi Paper.

This paper, infused with the spirit of Japanese culture, has an elegant, warm texture and possesses an "unbleached (kinari)" rich sensibility which words like strength or personality cannot even begin to describe.

How to make

We perform papermaking in technique such as we add viscous liquid of hibiscus to raw materials and "we drain and make" paper mulberry, paper bush, Lychnis coronata, hemp "ryu (ta) me creation of dried laver". In "creation of dried laver row (so) with materials of paper which became liquid," we delicately move tool using mat (do) of "creation of dried laver figure" (figure) by hand. In the delicate thing that we put together to move, and water of paper in "creation of dried laver figure" moves about over mat, fiber of Washi Paper is connected with each other and one piece of beautiful paper makes and goes up.

Mulberry, mitsumata (edgeworthia chrysantha), ganpi and hemp are the main raw materials to which a mucilaginous material made from tororo aoi (hibiscus) is added; they are then processed using traditional papermaking methods like “nagashi-zuki” or “tame-zuki.” After the main ingredients have been reduced to liquid form and placed in a paper-making vat (“sukiso”), they are deftly hand-stirred with a bamboo-netted tool called “sukiketa.” As the liquid pulp is moved with a subtle rocking motion around the bamboo screen of the “sukiketa,” the fibers of the paper start to entangle creating sheets of beautiful paper.

Voice from production center

In addition to making use of gentle texture and luster carefully, we build up paper bringing moisture in modern life using technique of design peculiar to Echizen Washi.