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Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Papermaking
Name Tosawashi:Handmade Japanese Paper

Main Production Site:Kochi

Handmade Japanese paper of warm and gentle texture.
Kochi also has handmade paper tradition called “Tosa-washi”, that has been inherited for long time.

[Traditional crafts designated by the Ministry of Economy]
Information provided by Kochi Prefectural Public Co. of Local Production for Outside Vender

Translation by: Naoko Yamashita, reviewed by: Chan Yee Ting

Materials Mitsumata (paper birch), Kozo (paper mulberry)
Crafting Processes It is said that the key items to making fine Washi (Japanese paper) are water and Kozo (paper mulberry).Tosa city and Ino-machi are known as Tosa-washi production areas, while there is a class A river called Niyodo River running through these cities. Niyodo River is the river with the third largest drainage area in Shikoku Island, next to Yoshino and Shimanto rivers. Headstream comes from Mt.Ishizuchi, with 1,560km drainage area and 124km length of river channel. Its water quality is clearer than any other rivers in Shikoku.

In the mountainous areas such as former Gohoku village and other villages in the upstream area of Niyodo river, Kozo production has been prosperous since many years ago. The fibers of Kozo produced in Tosa is longer and thicker than those from other prefectures, which is the benefit for making durable paper.

Abundant water from Niyodo and other rivers, and high-quality raw materials cultivated along the stream have supported the history of Tosa-washi. After the raw materials are carefully prepared and impurities are removed, long fibers are entangled to form Washi. The evenly entwined finished product is beautiful and durable.
History The history of Tosa-washi can be traced back to approximately 1000 years ago. The name of Tosa-washi was found in the Japanese book about court rules and customs, “Engishiki” compiled in the year of 927 (mid Heian period), that says Tosa-washi was selected as a gift to the emperor. This description proves that Washi had been already produced in this era. Being blessed with clear water from Niyodo river and many other clean rivers, and along with the development of paper making technique and production technique of raw materials such as Kozo and Mitsumata, Tosa-washi always kept up with the changing time as the main local specialty. In mid Meiji period (19C), the production scale has even been the largest in the country. The variety and the quality of Tosa-washi are well known, and now, the tradition of producing Washi is still being preserved by the people in Kochi as the staple industry.
Related URL http://kochi-marugoto.com/goods/cg8/140/

◆Exhibition / Showcase
Ino-cho Paper Museum
110-1 Saiwai-cho, Agawa-gun, Ino-cho, Kochi prefecture

Tosawashi Kougeimura
1226 Kashiki, Agawa-gun, Ino-cho, Kochi prefecture

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