Paper Making Process

Here are the steps of the Japanese handmade paper making process.

1 Harvesting

Kozo, the raw material, is harvested from late November to December.

2 Steaming

Collected mulberry is bundled with rope and steamed in a pot or drum can.

3 Peeling off the bark

After steaming the mulberry for about two hours, peel off the outer bark while it is still hot.

4 Remove outer bark

After soaking overnight and, if possible, left on the snow to and freeze, the black outer bark is scraped off so only the white inner bark remains.

5 Yukigashi

Spread and cover the white bark with snow for about a week. The sun and ozone produced from the snow moisture bleaches the fibers naturally

6 Boiling

Boil in alkaline ash and soda ash for about two hours to soften the exposed kozo.

7 Fushihiroi

Boiled kozo is thoroughly drained with running water and any bark flecks or debris are removed.

8 Paper beating

Beat the cleaned material with a wooden stick or hammer to make a fine fibery pulp.

9 Koburi

Suspend the kozo pulp in a tub filled with water, add an appropriate amount of nori (natural adhesive), and mix it well and evenly throughout the water.

10 Paper making

The pulp is scooped up using a bamboo screen and shaken back and forth many times to evenly distribute and weave together the fibers. This is a unique feature of Japanese paper making.

11 Compressing

Each finished sheet of paper is layered until there is a stack. The stack is pressed overnight to exude excess water. Even though it is wet, the layers don’t stick together.

12 Drying

The pressed paper is peeled off one by one, pasted on a flat board, etc. and dried in the sun. If done in the winter, the paper is further bleached by the snow.