Ozu traditional Japanese paper

Ozu traditional Japanese paper Ozu washi

Thin and refined high-quality washi
Excellent pieces made through traditional papermaking handwork

Description

What is Ozu traditional Japanese paper ?

Ozu Washi is a handmade paper made in Uchiko Town, Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture. The history of papermaking of Ozu Washi dates back to the Heian period, and the current style of Ozu Washi emerged in the mid-Edo period, and despite a declining workforce, it is still known as a successful high-quality Washi today.
Ozu Washi features a variety of raw materials; paper mulberry, paperbush, Diplomorpha sikokiana, hemp, bamboo, straw, and sunset hibiscus. It has many uses such as for shoji, kites and colored papers, and in particular, the popular Ozu Washi used for calligraphy. The thinness and evenness of Ozu Washi has contributed to its reputation as an exclusive and user-friendly paper ideal for calligraphy. After being allowed to mature for 3 to 4 years, calligraphy Ozu Washi naturally develops an antique patina and a smoother surface, which allows for smoother brush strokes and unique artistic expressions.

History

The origin of Ozu Washi are lost in the mists of time, but the Engi-Shiki Code giving detailed regulations of the state completed in the Heian period mentions Ozu washi and it is traditionally assumed that production began at some earlier point. A papermaking history book entitled Kamisuki-choho-ki, states that a well-known ancient poet, Hitomaro KIKINOMOTO(NO), began papermaking in Iwami Province, and the technique was later introduced to Ozu; the current style of Ozu Washi being developed by the Genroku era of the Edo period. Zenjomon Shusho introduced new techniques resulting in papermaking becoming one of the key industries of the Ozu domains, and it was even regarded as the best Washi in Japan. In 1910, a new paper mill was built employing about 430 people, but by the end of World War 2 only 74 workers remained and numbers continued to drop.
In addition to the war, production has been largely affected by mechanization. However, despite such hard times craftsmen have upheld the handwork techniques and the Ozu Washi tradition has been preserved into modern times.

General Production Process

Where to Buy & More Information

Ozu Washi hall

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See items made in Ehime