From Japan: Hiroya Yamashita from Yamaji Paper mill in Fukui

In our quest for the most color fast kozo paper, Hiromi Paper has collaborated with Echizen papermaker, Hiroya Yamashita, to create the Hiroya color series. Here are some questions we had for Hiroya about the new color series:
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Paper profile: Weight, Size, Material, Sizing, and Cooked with?
50% Kozo, 35% Pulp, 15% Manila Hemp
67 gsm
With sizing
Cooked with caustic soda

How did you get into papermaking?
I started papermaking about 13 years ago, when I was 23 years old. The mill is my family business, so it was a smooth transition into the world of papermaking.

Can you tell us the process of developing this paper?
The base of Hiroya Paper is a handmade paper that we had originally been making at the mill, with a mixture of local-grown kozo, pulp and Manila hemp. I felt that it was important to use as much local ingredients as possible, since I knew this paper was going to be used internationally.

What do you find yourself doing when not making paper?
I love cycling, playing golf, and of course eating myself full of sushi!

Please leave a few words for our readers if you have any:
I’m always open for new suggestions or opinions on what kind of papers overseas customers want! Please let us papermakers know, and we will try our best to fulfill those requests!

Screen shot 2015-07-22 at 4.03.42 PM

How were the colors of Hiroya Paper developed?
In order to achieve better, long-lasting colors, I outsourced to a different company for their assistance to dye the papers after the papers were formed.
 
What is the significance of the coloring?
The pigments used are what were traditionally used to dye kimono textiles, and are much less likely to fade over time.

How are the colors applied to the papers?
The colors are screen-printed onto the papers, all by hand.

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Hidaka Washi’s Chinzei-san: IIC Hong Kong Memo 2014

香港、香港、香港。

Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

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飲茶とブルース・リー。そして100万ドルの夜景の街。

Dim sum and Bruce Lee. And the town of Million-dollar Night View.

そんな世界有数の観光都市で、2年に一度のIICの学会が行われるという。この貴重な情報元はもちろんヒロミペーパーの寛美さんである。あれは去年の初夏のことだ。「ウチは来年のAICサンフランシスコとIIC香港に出展するから、そのブースの一角でよろしければ御社もメーカーとして参加してはどうでしょう?」と、初対面の対話もそこそこに大変有難いオファーを頂いたのが、つい先日のようだ。二つ返事で「是非お願いします。」と即答し、大変貴重なAICサンフランシスコでの体験を活かし、より良い典具帖紙のプレゼンテーションを行う為、香港に向かった。現地の空港ロビーで寛美さん、越前和紙の五十嵐さんと合流し、いざ出発. エアポート・エクスプレスという空港から香港島を約30分で結ぶ高速鉄道に乗り込み、なんだかんだと喋ってる間に香港駅に到着。ホテルからの迎えのバスに乗り込み、チェックイン。その後ホテルにサンタモニカと日高村から事前に輸送していた資材を受け取り、タクシーにて会場のシティセンターへ。会場の設営時間ギリギリまで3人で汗だくになりながら、設営。その後香港海防博物館にてウエルカムレセプション。様々な国から参加された方々との交流を楽しんだ。

In such a world leading tourist city, it is said that the IIC Congress is held once in two years. Of course, the origin of this information is Ms. Hiromi of Hiromi Paper. That was the early summer of the last year. “Why don’t you join us in our booth at AIC San Francisco and IIC Hong Kong next year.” Although that was the first time for us to have some business conversations, she gave us such a wonderful offer to our company. “YES, please let us join your booth.” I answered immediately. After our first joint presentation success in AIC San Francisco, we headed to Hong Kong in order to do a better presentation. Hiromi, Ms. Igarashi, and I joined together at the Hong Kong International airport, and headed to Hong Kong Island. It took us about half an hour to get to the Hong Kong station by high speed railway called “Airport Express”. We took a hotel shuttle bus to our hotel to check in and pick up our paper materials. As soon as we got the stuff, we jumped back to the Hong Kong City Hall where the congress was held. We built and set our booth until they closed the exhibition room. Then, we moved to the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence to join the welcome reception, and enjoyed conversations with visitors from all over the world.

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 レセプション会場にて本番前のリラックスタイム。Relax time at reception.

Chinzei6

翌朝。事前のブースチェックと最終調整の為、少し早めにホテルを出発。ラフな運転で有名な(?)バスにて会場に到着。

In the next morning, we left our hotel a little early to check our booth. We safely arrived at the city hall by taking the infamous “rough” bus.

準備を終え、会場の他出店業者さんへの挨拶をひと通り済ませる頃に学会は休憩時間に突入。会場に人が雪崩れ込むや否や、ヒロミペーパーのブースは黒山の人だかり。ブースに人が入りきれず、三人はサンプル出しや、対応に大わらわ。

ヒロミペーパーが提案する修復用の和紙とグッズは会場でも別格の注目度!

After we finished setting up and making rounds to the other exhibitors, refreshment time has come. As soon as people rushed into the exhibitor’s room, our booth was filled with so many people that even we could not answer every one of them.

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 寛美さんは日本からこられた懐かしい方々との嬉しい再会も!

Hiromi met some old friends from Japan!

そんな大変忙しい4日間を過ごし、様々な国の方々とのコミュニケーションを楽しみ、和紙に関する貴重なご意見を伺う事ができた。この経験を活かし、今後はより分かりやすく、魅力的な展示を行いたいと思う所存だ。ヒロミペーパーさんには、このような素晴らしく、貴重な経験をさせて頂き、本当に感謝しています。有難うございました。今回吸収したリクエストや、情報を次回の地元ロスアンゼルス大会にて昇華させたいと思ってます。

After a busy 4 days, we enjoyed conversations with many customers from all over the world, and received valuable suggestions about Japanese Paper. Taking advantage of this experience, I intend to give more appealing and clarified presentations at future conferences. Finally, I thank Hiromi Paper for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. I will work harder at the next Los Angels Congress in 2016.

Thank you to Chinzei-san of Hidaka Washi for the IIC 2014 update! It sounded like an amazing conference, we look forward to 2016!

From Japan: All-Japan Handmade Washi Association

50 Years of the All-Japan Handmade Washi Association

by Satoshi Hasegawa/Translated by Yuki Katayama

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Mino papermaker Satoshi Hasegawa in his early years

The All Japan Handmade Washi Association is an organization constructed of Japanese papermakers from around the country. Established in 1963, this group has acted as a prime spot for information exchange for 50 years. Though our activities and members have decreased since establishment, the association is still striving to preserve handmade washi.

Back in March, we all gathered to look back on the past 50 years. We were surprised to realize that many of the past records and documents had not been organized or even stored, so there was almost no records of the first 25 years of association activity. There was one individual we came across while organizing data that caught my attention. From the documents I could tell that he was a very devout ‘washi-lover’, who put much effort into succeeding the washi traditions to further generations.

He also greatly contributed to Hon Mino paper being chosen as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset, stating that “We must make (Hon Mino) an Intangible Cultural Asset, before we lose the paper forever”.

I feel that these countless efforts from past individuals is one of the main reasons handmade washi has survived for all these years.

Handmade washi has been proposed to UNESCO for their Intangible Cultural Heritage candidate as “Traditional Japanese washi”, but there are many existing problems in washi production and well as succeeding the traditions.

I wonder what the dedicated, washi-loving individual would say about the current situation of handmade washi. Though I can never meet him, I can’t help but want to exchange thoughts and ideas with him.

From Hiromi Paper:
Like Hasegawa-san, we at Hiromi Paper are also concerned about the decrease in papermakers that are able to make high-quality washi. We hope that we can be of help to those Japanese papermakers and preserve their traditions.

Thank you, Hasegawa-san, for always sending us your lovely and wonderful Mino papers!
See them here: HP-01 Hon Mino, HP-02 Usu Mino, HP-04 Usu Mino Thin, HP-05 Chochin, HM-54 Usu Mino Thinnest.