Minobu, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
This article introduces Japanese Nishijima Washi, which is a craftsman’s made calligraphy paper.
Washi is a type of paper made only in Japan that uses the Inawara fibers (rice straw stalks), manila hemp, bamboo, and other natural materials.
Nishijima Washi is made by dissolving those fibers in water, pouring them onto a screen, called a “Suketa”, shaking it to strain the water through and then flattening the fibers on the screen into a consistent thickness of 0.1 mm.
This technique is called “Tesuki”. Because it is all handmade using naturally produced bark fibers, each sheet has a different look and texture.
These brilliant crafting techniques have been refined for over 500 years.
Nishijima is not too far from Tokyo, so if you visit Japan I would recommend you make a visit and see how they make traditional Japanese calligraphy paper.
1．The paper craftsmen start by boiling various materials, including: Inawara fibers (rice straw stalks), manila hemp, bamboo, and other natural materials.
2．The materials are then mixed in water. How much water is used and how fast it is mixed depends on the humidity and temperature of the day. A skillful touch is needed to create the perfect texture.
3．Next the pulp is scooped out from the pulp slurry and put on a mesh tray to drain off the excess water. The remaining residue left on the filter is the Nishijima Washi. It may seem easy to level it out, but it is actually a skill that takes many years to master.
4．The finished papers are carefully laid on top of each other. When a stack has about 300 sheets it is taken to be pressed to start the first drying process. After being pressed, it is hung out in the sun for upwards of a month for it to become completely dry. At the end of this process, the stack becomes half of what it originally was.
5．The sun-dried paper is then put back into water to soak again. This starts the process of separating each individual sheet of paper from the stack, and once again must be adjusted depending on the season and temperature. Only a skilled craftsman can determine the best timing!
6．Each piece of paper is removed one at a time and is placed upon a special hot iron board to dry. Because the wet paper is so easy to tear, even the most talented and experienced craftsman must be careful during this step in the process.
7．A few short minutes after being placed on the iron, the Nishijima Washi is finished and is carefully laid out. It is now ready for final cutting, as needed, and distribution.
These traditional techniques continue to be practiced in Yamanashi Prefecture, preserving the tradition of crafting Washi.
Collaboration between Traditional Japanese art Ukiyo-e and Nishijima washi.
The craftsman agreed to make a special washi paper just for Ukiyo-e prints.
Nisijima washi is usually made on calligraphy paper.
Thickness of the paper is just 0.1mm.
Special Nisijima Wahi for Ukiyo-e prints is thickness of 1 mm.
It’s 10 times thicker than calligraphy paper.
It has a rough texture and edges, which is a result of the special making process.
No two sheets are the same, making each piece of art one of a kind.
The Epson Ultra Chrome Pro ink used with the Washi paper holds its vibrant color for over 60 years.
Made in Japan. High quality fine Ukiyo-e works using traditional Japanese techniques.
It’s easy to display in any wooden frame. Great for decor in any private or professional setting. Also makes a great gift for a friend or family member.
You can buy these products in Amazon.com.
※Single sheet, Size: 29.7 x 42.0 cm (11.69 x 16.54 in)
Ukiyoe is a painting that was established in woodblock prints during the Edo period and is one of the magnificent works of Japanese paintings.
Ukiyoe’s “Ukiyo” originally means “modern style”, “pretty world”, “amenity” .
It usually depicted everyday life in the Edo period that reflects the times of the life, customs, fashion and more.
Ukiyoe became “the world ‘s UKIYOE” thanks to painters such as Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet of their works with ukiyo-e motifs.
If you want to make your favorite photo printed on this special Nishijima Washi!!
Please contact us by email. We’ll make your original one soon.