Sightings in Japan

Our wonderful Japan correspondent, Yuki, who is currently a university student in Tokyo has agreed to let us in on her journey to discovering washi in Japan.

Ozu Washi, located in Nihonbashi, is a washi gallery continuing from the 17th century, which has one of the largest washi showrooms and a wide variety of traditional washi or antique papers.

The first two pictures of the dress, I took at Ozu Washi,
where they had an exhibit of all these gowns made out of washi.

In Shinjuku, THE place to shop in Tokyo, many stores have materials for scrapbook making on main display. Stickers and stamps are a must, but recently, I have been seeing small rolls of masking tapes in many different colors and designs. When looked at closely, you can see that the tapes are made from washi. These washi masking tapes are somewhat translucent, giving off the beautiful antique look of washi.

A part of the washi dress above features ring paper
Washi masking tapes soon to be available at HPI

DWG Dan Goldman

Los Angeles artist Dan Goldman has shared with us some of his work into the world of sumi-e painting with sumi ink, brushes and different papers (including washi).

They’re sumi ink on paper, 4 panels, each 13.25″ x 18″ (vertical running down from first image to last).

Below is a more traditional ensou by Dan. In zen calligraphy, an ensou is a circle drawn in one or few strokes. It is a symbolic expression for enlightenment, truth, the Buddha nature, and the entire cosmo universe, with the interpretation left for the person viewing or creating it.

We look forward to seeing more of Dan’s sumi-e series, for his previous work, check out his site here.

For HPI papers best suitable for sumi-e: Seichosen, Seikosen, Kumohada-mashi, KH-61 Kozo White, SH-4 Harukaze

Kyoko Ibe Presentation

On Monday November 16th, Kyoko Ibe presented her lecture, slideshow, and art at the UCLA faculty center. She was very happy with the event, and since I was able to go, the following is a summary I have made.

Kyoko Ibe has worked with paper fiber media for over 30 years and has been touring many different countries, now working on projects under sponsorship of Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs. For her exhibitions here in the states, Kyoko created pieces using over 100 year old Gampi papers for the sheet formation and 200 year old handwritten manuscripts and documents for the Gampi base. She used all natural Sumi, calligraphy black-ink, and mica particles. In the past, washi was very precious and not to be wasted. Not only were both sides to be used, but the whole sheet would be recycled as layering materials in constructing traditional sliding doors (fusuma) and folding screens. As an export, used washi with woodblock prints would be packed as wrapping paper for Japanese ceramics and art. Artists and connoisseurs in the 19th century Europe took notice of it, many collecting and taking inspiration from the washi. The largest collection of washi is in the German National Library in Leipzig, donated by Frantz Von Batz. Kyoko traveled to this national library in the nineties to view a particular washi collection documented by a British scholar, and found to her surprise that it had been kept hidden and forgotten in the corner all this time. She began research with Germany, discovering the world’s largest collection. Working with such matured washi was an experience that would become a turning point for Kyoko’s work.

An interesting part of washi’s history was that people in the past favored the recycled washi over newly made washi, valuing the traces of ink that lingered and the harmony it created. With this knowledge, Kyoko’s work was born. Using old washi documents and gampi, Kyoko invented methods to create her washi art pieces in such a vibrant and active way, different from traditional washi papermaking. At the end of the presentation, we were able to view her art pieces, and some of the 100/200 year old materials used (as shown to the left).

During her visit here, Kyoko brought us her designed handmade washi jewelry and accessories available in Japan. You can come see and purchase them in our store.

(click for larger image)

Related books available for purchase:

On the Washi Works of Kyoko Ibe

Washi in the 19th Century (cataloging the washi collection from Leipzig)

Kyoko Ibe: UCLA presentation

Kyoko Ibe, washi artist and special advisor for cultural exchange, will be giving a lecture and presentation at the UCLA faculty center on Monday, November 16. 2009 from 3-5PM.

As an international washi artist and teacher, Kyoko Ibe has just began her U.S. tour. She will have a gallery opening at the Calvin Charles Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ November 12th before making her way to Los Angeles for her UCLA presenation. After more presentations and workshops in the east coast, Kyoko will go back to Japan before starting her activities in Egypt in 2010.

Hiromi Paper is very proud to be helping with the UCLA event, so come join and RSVP with us soon as capacity is limited.

kyoko ibe poster


2010 Calendars

Safari Calendar
Safari Calendar

Our calendars are back with 2010 versions now available in our store and online here. In addition to our usual zoo calendar, we’ve added the rocking chair calendar and the possibility of reserving a safari calendar from Japan. The Japanese woodblock calendar is also back with a new collection of woodblock prints by Kawase Hasui. And last, is the handmade 100% Kozo Mino washi calendar. The following is our translation of each page as well as some background information. We will only stock a small number of the washi calendars, and will take reservations for more.

‘Mino Washi has been loved for its high quality, strength and beauty for more than 1300 years. The skill to create this paper has been perfected with great efforts of Mino paper-makers and passed on for generations.

We made these calendars for people to enjoy genuine washi in the environment of their homes. The natural color and warmth of this paper comes from the kozo bark it is made from. Please enjoy the gentle and warm feeling of these papers.

The year 2010’s theme isJapanese Onomatopoeias.” We realized that onomatopoeias are used very frequently everyday. In the Japanese language, there are 3 times more onomatopoeias than the English language.’

Here are the translations of the onomatopoeias used:


Lady walking in a kimono “shanari shanari”
A man walking with confidence “shaki!”
A baby walks “yochi yochi”

Fox cries “kon kon!”
Snow falls “kon kon”

Daddy snores “guu guu”
Baby sleeps “ suya suya”


The string is tight “pi-in”
Tied the butterfly knot “kyu”
The butterfly flies, “hira hira”
The dandelions float “fuwa fuwa”

A little girl appears “hyokkori”
An old lady smiles “nikkori”


Licking an ice cream cone “pero pero”
Sucking on a straw “chuu chuu”
Gobbling up watermelon “gabu gabu”
Drinking beer “goku goku”


Rooster cries “kokekokko”
A chick cries “piyo piyo”
A dove cries “poppo~”
An owl cries “ho-ho-“
A nightingale cries “ho—hokekyo”
A duck cries “gaa gaa”
A crow cries “kaa kaa”
A sparrow cries “chun chun”

Big and round eyes “kuri kuri”
Sparkling eyes “kira kira”
Dizzy eyes “guru guru”

A crane (tsuru) eats so-men noodles
“tsuru tsuru”

A clock goes “chicku tacku”
A boiling kettle goes “shuun shuun”
A cooking pot goes “koto koto”
The telephone rings “li~n li~n”
The book flips pages “para para”


Christmas and New Years are knocking on the door…
“don don”(loud)
“ton ton”(soft)

Washi in the 1920′s?

It’s been quite a busy week here, with Hiromi off to New York until tonight visiting some of the HPI friends and clients! Meanwhile, I received a call earlier with a question that readers may be able to help us with:

What is the history of Japanese printmaking (woodblock) paper in the United States from the 1920’s – 1950’s?

If you have any information or know of a good place to start, please feel free to leave a comment or email us at washi @ hiromipaper .com!

Magical Secrets About Chine Collé
"Magical Secrets About Chine Collé"

Just in today, our first batch of Brian Shure’s “Magical Secrets about Chine Collé: Pasting, Printing, Mounting, and Leafing Step-by Step”. Contact us for ordering information until it is up online!

Iwano Sample Book


The Iwano sample book is now available for purchase online and in the store! These books are made from the Iwano papermakers themselves and include not only our regularaly stocked Iwano papers, but special order papers as well. Iwano paper are handmade Echizen Washi and can be produced as large as 83.5″ x 107.5″. The paper maker is one of three Living National Treasures, named Ichibei Iwano, in Fukui prefecture, known for their very high quality washi. The large-sized Iwano can be used for printmaking, drawing, calligraphy, conservation, and as in Japan, for Fusuma sliding doors as used in historical castles and buildings.

“The World of Yugen”

yugenYesterday, I got the honor of spending the day with Japanese paper artist Kyoko Ibe. Kyoko is described on her profile as a “pioneer contemporary washi artist.” She has received numerous awards for her works and now has exhibitions, performances, and lectures about her work throughout the world. Her busy schedule this year includes includes projects in Egypt and New York. She has come to L.A. to her good friend Hiromi with some future projects in L.A. in mind, and it is for this that I have the pleasure of meeting with her.

Kyoko’s latest work theme is “The World of Yugen” as shown in her latest publication, in which she uses old washi and documents to create contemporary art that evokes the past and the feeling of yugen (“the realization of grace in beauty”). She plans to exhibit these works as well as create performances in the next year. As a washi artist and friend, Kyoko’s plans brings much anticipation for us here!

Is “Rice Paper” Most Searched?

While logging into our storefront, I noticed the ever popular search term of the day “rice paper” and it lead me to look through our search engine history. Totaling the search terms on our store from all time, the winner for most popular searched phrase is….


In second place is Kozo, which had around half of the searches, though perhaps more if you combine it with the term “mulberry”.

Yet, “Rice Paper” was still up there, especially if you add the different ways people put rice paper into their search like “biodegradable rice paper” or “handmade rice paper”. This in turn lead me to wonder whether we should publish more articles about washi names and why asking us for “rice paper” isn’t so specific. For now, wiki’s article will have to do the job!

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