“Mino Washi”paper is made from the plants: Kozo, Mitsumata and Ganpi.
Kozo: for shoji paper,letter paper, envelope
Mitsumata: for bill
Ganpi: for blotting paper, stencil paper
Bark：Strip the bark from Kozo branches and peel black skin to make it only white parts.
The bark is submerged in water and soluble elements are was hed away.
This process used to be done in the river called “Kawazarashi”.
The raw material, “Kozo”, is exposed to the river for a few days.
After it is bleached, the “Kozo” is boiled in a big pot filled with a carbonate of soda solution for two hours.
Any remaining pieces of black bark or other colored pieces are carefully removed by hand in the water current.
After the black bark and all colored impurities removed, the Kozo fibers are placed on a stone board, and repeatedly hammered and folded over.
These days this process is usually done by using a “beater machine”.
The hammered Kozo is placed in a large vat called a “Sukibune” and is mixed with water and sticky liquid called “Nebeshi” which is extracted from the root of plants called “tororoaoi”.
Next, scoop the solution with the tool called”Suketa” then swing it back and forth and side to side.
The swings make fiber entangles to shape a sheet.
Water is squeezed from a pile of paper slowly by pressure. It takes a whole day to complete the draining.
Each sheet is peeled off from a pile, stretched out on a board by a special brush and left to dry naturally in the sunshine.
These days, metallic dryers, heated by circulation of hot water, are often used to dry sheets of paper.
Check – Cutting
Sheets are inspected carefully. They are held up to the light, and any broken or dirty sheets are removed. The thickness of the paper is also carefully checked.
Sheets of paper are cut with a specially designed knife.Having been out to a specific size, sheets of paper are bundled by the hundred.
Mino-washi is thinly made paper, yet strong and beautiful like silk because each fiber twines each other.
“Nagashi-suki” The special manufacturing method is used to make Mino-washi.
This paper is one of the best choices to use as a preserving document and paper sliding door.
Beginning of Mino-washi is assumed to be since Nara-period because the record was left in “Document of Shoso-in” that it was used for documents of family register in Nara-period. Nara-washi has come to be known widely, as a person in power, Toki-shi, introduced it in paper market called, Rokusai-ichi.
It had delivered to Kyoto, Osaka, and Ise area.
The first and still preserved paper made in Mino is used for the document of family register of Mino, Chikuzen, and Buzen in 702 (Taiho 2.) It is kept in Shosou-in.
Mino-washi has earned high reputation that it is so remarkably well-manufactured paper.
It is made of Kouzo and Tame-suki method is used.
As the production of Mino-washi had grown in Edo-period, merchants of Omi started to export it to the central of Japan.
Besides, it was specially used in the Shoin, Japanese drawing and studying room.
The brand image of Mino-washi is established by its fine paper making method.
it receives high reputation of the one of the best paper in Japan.
As the development of paper making technics and the change of people’s life style, Mino-washi has been manufactured for many kinds of industrial arts as hand-made washi, instead of paper for a Japanese sliding door, an umbrella, and a mimeograph.
The number of the manufactures at the peak was 4,768 houses and 17,782 people in 1918.
However, it has declined to about 30 houses and 60 people now.
In order to promote Mino-washi industry and local area, Mino city established the village of Mino-washi in Warabi area, the area of Mino-washi production, in 1994.
This movement is not only for the promotion of handmade Mino-washi, but it is also hoped to promote of Washi culture to all over the world.
It is original technique “Raku-Sui-SUKI-Yo” which Chemi Akutami devised.
After having painted a picture, I put the Japanese paper which has just finished being not crowded (getting wet) on the picture. And I drop water with a shower like rain on the Japanese paper.
(“Raku-Sui-Paper” is the technique developed in Mino-shi,It is made a design to the Japanese paper by dropping water.) The light and shade are made from dropping water on a surface Japanese paper and a back picture.
Seemingly we see it like the thin picture of the color because of the surface Raku-Sui-Paper,but a picture stands out by irradiating light from behind.