Today’S blog is all about “Mino Japanese Paper”.
Mino, southern part of Gif prefecture, has been known for papermaking since Nara era (710 – 784 A.D.) and has produced fine Japanese paper mainly for a plenty of water from Nagara river. The area developed skills to produce various kinds of washi (Japanese paper) from various plants.
Because of the special manufacturing method of paper making, which uses flowing water, the surface is very even. Also, Mino Japanese Paper is very strong like clothes even though it is very thin and beautiful because the fibers are well-entangled.
Some of them have watermarks and other decorations. The art has been contributed to shoji screen and for important documents, but the subtle sensitivity gives fine, sophisticated nuance when they are used as lump shade.
In Gifu prefecture, umbrella, lantern, and round fan are also famous traditional crafts. They must have benefitted from this special paper.
However, the number of artisans now is only about 60, 30 families, which once was about 17 thousands, 47 hundred families in 1918. This fact suggests the hard works they have conducted to produce such beautiful crafts.
Mino Japanese Paper (Washi) was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1985.