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​Japanese paper is 100% a gift of nature

The Japan Washi Photo Association calls washi photographs WashigraphPhotos to distinguish them from commercially available washi-style inkjet print papers.
Traditional Japanese manufacturing culture, photo data optimization technology: Photo Authoring, in the hands of a dedicated printing directorstate-of-the-art digital output system.
These three elements crystallized and were born.It was acclaimed as a print of light.Washigraph Photo.

Japanese paper is made from eco-friendly natural plants.

Unlike pulp (Western paper), which requires large-scale logging of forests, the plants that are the main raw material for Japanese paper can be harvested in as little as two years.

Easy cultivation using fallow land and corners of satoyama will lead to industrial development in depopulated areas.

​The Japan Washi Photography Association will actively cooperate with projects to cultivate plants that are used as materials for washi paper.


Japanese paper material

The typical plant fiber used in washi photography is paper mulberry.

Neri is a liquid that plays an important role in diffusing the paper mulberry fibers so that they do not harden.

Neri is completed by crushing the root of tororo aoi and soaking it in water.

Neri is not an adhesive, but rather a traditional Japanese natural solvent that allows the fibers to spread apart.


​ Loosen the fibers that become paper

The plant fibers exposed to water are loosened by hand.

At this stage, various processes are added to create the type of paper that has been bleached and the texture of the unbleached paper.

Many of them are carefully handcrafted by women.

​ It requires patience to remove impurities and a large amount of good quality spring water.

boil the fiber

Boil the plant for a long time and expose it to water.

​There are various techniques for this process depending on the type of plant material.

strain the fiber

Paper sizes for handmade Japanese paper are available in a variety of uses and detailed sizes.

​The size of the paper is fixed at the stage of this hand-making process, rather than cutting the washi paper to change the size.

As a general rule, the handmade Japanese paper used for WshigraphPhoto is often made when an order is placed.

I once ordered an A-size giant Japanese paper for a folding screen.

​It is not uncommon for foreign artists to stay here for long periods of time in search of custom-made Japanese paper.

Apply a protectant for photo output

WashigraphPhoto images are formed by a combination of 10 pigment dyesHowever, for the following reasons, a special protective agent is applied to the half-dried washi surface.

・To improve the fixation of pigments.

・To enhance the luster of Japanese paper and the tightness of black in images.

・To prevent discoloration and corrosion over hundreds of years. ​​

The raw materials of this protective agent are all natural materials and do not use any chemical agents.


Strictly check the surface of the paper and select carefully

WashigraphPhoto uses the highest quality Japanese paper (Bizan), which is super thick.

​We use a magnifying glass to check for tangles and irregularities in the fibers before passing them through the printing machine, so the paper that can be used for WashigraphPhoto is limited to some of the paper produced. .


​Japanese paper roll produced at the machine factory

​There are various techniques depending on the type of plant material.

Made from bamboo, bamboo washi is not hand-made, but produced in a mechanized factory.

There is no bleeding because the space in the bamboo cells does not let the pigment escape.

Since it is a compressed rolled paper, it does not wrinkle easily and is used as paper for hanging scrolls.

​The glossy paper is also used for postcards.

Possibilities of indigo-dyed Japanese paper

Yoshinogawa City in Tokushima Prefecture, where Awagami Factory is located, is also the home of indigo dyeing culture.

​ We are also researching the fusion of indigo dyeing techniques and washi cloth made from washi fibers.

​Washi is an imported culture

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Paper where God resides​

The stone lanterns of Ise Jingu Shrine, a shrine associated with the imperial family, are engraved with both the chrysanthemum crest, which is the symbol of the imperial family, and the six-pointed star, which represents Judaism.

​Gion festival in Kyoto. Jewish Zion festival.
Many scholars point to commonalities.

There is a Jewish mark at Ise Jingu Shrine​There is also a theory that the Kyoto Gion Festival originated from the Jewish Zion Festival.


​A visitor from the continent

Since ancient times, Japan, which is located in the Far East, has certainly had foreigners who came to Japan from the Eurasian continent and became naturalized.

This idea is also evident from geography and archaeological verification.

​Japanese paper made from wood fibers.

It is said that the origin of this paper-making culture is the technique brought by the immigrants.

​The genetic analysis distribution of the immigrants has been announced, and it matches perfectly with the existing Japanese paper village.


​The relationship between God and paper

As a medium for recording letters and drawings, washi played a major role in nurturing ancient Japanese culture.

​At the same time, Japanese paper is still used today in various religious ceremonies.

The pronunciation as a word seems to have a very Japanese meaning that both paper and god are Kami.

It is said that the paper mulberry tree, which is mainly used as a fiber material for Japanese paper, was called kozo because it was "a material for offerings to the gods."

"It is interesting that the Japanese animism that "God dwells in all things" is reflected on paper.

Japanese paper evangelist called Mr. Imbe

Evidence of the existence of Jews in Japan 2,700 years ago seems to be concentrated in the western area of Japan.

Among them, those called "Inbe" established various techniques and cultures in Japan and played an important role in the establishment of Shinto (Japanese religion) in Japan.

Inbe-cho is also located near Kashihara Shrine in Nara Prefecture.People who started making paper in the mountains of Shikoku were also called Inbe.

Photo: A shrine dedicated to Mr. Inbe, the founder of Japanese paper, located in the mountains of Yoshino City, Tokushima Prefecture, where the Awagami Factory is located. (Photo by Katsuyuki Miyabe)

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