Last additions - Kurotani Washi Papermaking 黒谷和紙
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Places in Japan where washi is made.https://kurotaniwashi.kyoto
English: https://kurotaniwashi.kyoto/?page_id=450
Nov 27, 2018
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Gift shop.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani washi can even be used for umbrellas.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani washi has long fibers, making it very strong and durable. It has many uses such as umbrellas, shoji paper sliding doors, and packaging.Nov 27, 2018
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Second floor in former classrooms are exhibition rooms.Nov 27, 2018
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The washi shets are dried on wooden boards.Nov 27, 2018
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Local public schools have their kids make their diplomas with Kurotani washi.Nov 27, 2018
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Kami-suki is what everyone can experience.Nov 27, 2018
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The vat and mold to make paper.Nov 27, 2018
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Later, it is mashed/beaten in a stone mortar.Nov 27, 2018
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Then it goes through a mechanical beater for 10 min. to become a wet, fibrous mass. They also make and add a plant-based adhesive. Here's a good video (in Japanese) showing how they do it (the woman we saw in the river also appears in this video): https://youtu.be/-3ws9DlPVHo?t=425Nov 27, 2018
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This shows how they typically hang and dry the white strips and bark strips.Nov 27, 2018
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To make the paper fibers for washi, there are many laborious steps. After the kozo branches are cut in even lengths, they are stuffed in a barrel (koshiki) like this and placed over a boiling and steaming iron pot for three to four hours to soften the brown bark.Nov 27, 2018
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They later sent us our postcards. Mine came out okay.Nov 27, 2018
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A few people even embedded leaves.Nov 27, 2018
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Afterward, we could decorate our postcards with colored ink/fibers.Nov 27, 2018
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The postcards looked quite thick out of the mold, but they would get much thinner when dried.Nov 27, 2018
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Dump the postcard mold into the vat and swish it left/right and forward/back evenly.Nov 27, 2018
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Takes three years to learn how to make washi paper with a mold. Ten years to become an expert. But we did it in a minute or two... Just dip the mold into the fibrous water, and swish it to the left/right and forward/back.Nov 27, 2018
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About sugeta.Nov 27, 2018
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Our instructor first showed us how it was done. He used a mold to make eight washi postcards. Nov 27, 2018
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A large vat (sukifune) filled with washi fibers floating evenly in the water. The fibers are mixed in with a plant-based adhesive so they don't sink to the bottom and they also cling together to make the paper. A wooden mold (keta 桁) to make eight postcards on the right. Kurotani washi bills itself as Japan's strongest paper. In the 1920s, Kurotani washi was tested for strength and was declared the strongest washi in Japan. I was told Kurotani's kozo has longer fibers than other species so the paper is stronger.Nov 27, 2018
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Washi papermaking room where we tried making Kurotani washi paper (postcards).Nov 27, 2018
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Entrance hall with origami cranes made of Kurotani washi. It really looks like an old school.Nov 27, 2018
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Corridor to rooms.Nov 27, 2018
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They offer washi papermaking lessons for ¥1,300 including admission.Nov 27, 2018
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They use the 1st floor for making paper, while the second floor are washi exhibition rooms.Nov 27, 2018
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Also visited Kurotani Washi Kougei No Sato (Kurotani Washi Craft Village 黒谷和紙 工芸の里) a 20-min. car ride away.They were using an old elementary school.Nov 27, 2018
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White kozo bark strips drying. These will then be mashed and beaten into fibrous globs. Preparing the kozo fibers from the bark is the most laborious and time-consuming part of washi making.Nov 27, 2018
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The brown kozo bark is shaved and scraped with a knife by hand to remove the brown bark skin and other blemishes. Then the becomes thin, white strips that are dried in the sun. (shiro-kawa 白皮)Nov 27, 2018
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She's Horie Sayo, 86 years old, been doing it since her teens. Nov 27, 2018
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We just happened to come across her in the river kneadking the brown bark. How lucky we were.Nov 27, 2018
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While the kozo branches are still hot, elderly ladies twist and strip off the brown bark (kuro-kawa 黒皮). The bark is dried, then soaked in river water like here.Nov 27, 2018
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While soaking, the kozo bark is also kneaded by human feet to soften it. The water is cold, and it's a traditional job for the grandmas.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani washi mainly uses kozo or mitsumata mulberry plants as the raw material. This is our Kurotani washi guide showing us the kozo plants that can grow to three meters high.They are harvested in autumn by cutting the trunks or branches. They grow kozo mulberry near Ayabe Station. Kozo is called "kago" in Kurotani. Nov 27, 2018
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Inside Kurotani Washi Kaikan gift shop.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani village was blessed with this clean Kurotani River, essential for papermaking. Kurotani washi is quite famous now, even overseas.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani village has this Kurotani Washi Kaikan gift shop (黒谷和紙会館). Kurotani is not touristy because it's not convenient to get here.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani Washi-no-Sato Japanese papermaking village in Ayabe, Kyoto.Once upon a time, there were a number of washi paper makers in northern Kyoto like Tango washi and Tanba washi, but now there's only one traditional maker that has survived called Kurotani washi. They work here in the small Kurotani Valley.Nov 27, 2018
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Kurotani is the name of the village (now part of Ayabe city) where they make Kurotani washi paper. This is the entrance to the small village in a valley.Kurotani Village started making washi about 800 years ago when 16 warriors of the Heike Clan defeated by the Minamoto Clan in Kyoto (Genpei War 1180–1185) fled and hid here to avoid capture. They and the local farmers made a living in summer by growing rice, but since there was nothing to do in winter, they thought of making washi paper. Washi can only be made in winter since it requires cold water.Nov 27, 2018
   
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