Menu
  • Hoki NaritoshiPHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN
  • Hoki NaritoshiPHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Hoki Naritoshi: Tradition Grown from Trees

, 2010/08/26

The last of a three-part series on Mino Washi

Tradition is an echo, heard slightly differently by each new generation, a pattern of knowledge passed from old to young. Adaptation is the only way to guarantee the survival of these echoes; it’s the maxim of all natural systems– adapt or die. Washi itself is one such adapted echo, since the time it was first introduced to Japan in 610, brought over from China thanks to a Korean Buddhist priest named Doncho. The imported paper proved however too fragile for Japanese use and so, as an adaptation, stronger and more fibrous Kozo bark was used as pulp.

In the workshop of Hoki Naritoshi, a younger Mino paper maker, we get a sense of how Mino washi isbeginning to adapt to the contemporary world. “I want to create new paper that has more uses for the world today, beyond the restoration of old paintings and parchments” he says. For a start, Naritoshi has begun adding natural color dyes to his paper mixtures. It may not seem like a radical change, but Mino’s trademark is brilliant white washi and the color has strong cultural reverberations. Naritoshi has also mastered a complex Sukihashi technique allowing him to create patterns with different thicknesses on the same sheet of paper and as a result, light is able to pass through the paper more easily. This technique has made Naritoshi’s paper attractive to companies, at this point it has been used to create luxury umbrellas, lampshades in addition to a range of products. Naritoshi’s approach has given hope to a tradition which has been through dark times: “during the 90‘s bubble period no one wanted to make handmade paper, there was too much money to be made elsewhere.” Naritoshi’s approach suggests a revival, a way for Mino paper makers to make their craft financially sustainable again. Financial sustainability is of absolute importance the paper making community in Mino.

After talking with Naritoshi in his workshop, he leads us up a nearby road to a valley containing Mino’s first plantation of Kozo trees. Rather than use Kozo from Ibaraki (the traditional source for Mino paper makers), Mino has decided to make its washi production self sustainable. However, sustainability is not a simple (or solitary) action, “I tried to grow my own Kozo tree’s actually, but I was so busy making paper that I neglected the trees and bugs ate them. You can’t do everything by yourself, paper making is a collective activity.” It has taken a long time, but Mino’s washi tradition has almost completed a necessary full circle where the paper of Mino is once again being made collectively by the hands of Mino.

Original text and photography of this entry appeared in Paper Sky No. 33 (Switzerland, 2010)

Tags:







Shouji Kazunari

Shouji Kazunari: Knowledge into Tools

The second of a three-part series on Mino Washi Man can […]

Masahi Sawamura

Masashi Sawamura: Paper out of Liquid

The first of a three-part series on Mino Washi There wa […]

name
Hoki Naritoshi
place
Hoki Kobo
  • Advert Slides

  • world & japan maps

    worldmap_banner_s

    japanmaps_banner_s

  • Papersky Mobile

  • soundtrack

    sound_banner

  • enalloid

  • URD Craftsman Series

    urd-craftsman-banner

  • Lee Riders

    leeriders

  • green label relaxing Green Travel

    greenlabel_shuppatsu_banner

  • Tour de Nippon

    tour-de-nippon

  • luca-mon

    lucamon-banner

  • Hike & Bike

  • globe walker OLD JAPANESE HIGHWAY

  • cyclemaps

  • PAPERSKY VIDEO

    paperskyvideos_banner

  • Tour column

    tourcolumn banner_03