My memories of making Washi paper

presented by Y san

I am Ms.Y , I was born in Tomita Mizuho Iiyama city in 1945. I was born in a Washi paper making family and My parents made washi papers in winter seasons. In autumn, my parents used to cut Kozo trees mulberry family at the base of the tree. and bundle them together for about a meter wide , brought them back home and steamed the bounded Kozo.

At that time ,two or three neighbors used to help my parent peel the barks of the Kozo after steaming and it’s called the “Kazuhagi” process.

The wood is called “Kazugara” and it was used as a fire wood for cooking and I used some wood sticks as ski poles.

Next was the “Kawakaki” process , which was the scrapping off the back dirts using a tool called “Okaki” .

My father used to sit down on a straw-made mat laid on a dirt floor and spread old clothes on his lap and scrape off the dirts of the backs one by one.

After 10 or 20 pieces of backs ,he bounded them together and I helped him also after  school or during school holidays, I used to blow hot air into my palms to make my palms hot during cold wether and it was bittersweet memory.

The next step was “Yukisarashi” or whitening by spreading Kozo on snow for sunshine on sunny days.

I used to help seach for Kozo coverd with heavy snow during the whitening process and it was very difficult due to heavy snow.

“Fushihiroi” is next process when the stains and dust were brushed off the back of the Kozo.

A woman used to come to our house to Fushihiroi, it is a great memory has I used to present her with warmes in the Fushihiroi cottege and now the cottege is no more,by the flowing spring water saw there and the memories of the place still remains.

The next step was “Dakai” process. My parents , brother and I used to pouned back of Kozo with wooden morter then used machine to grind the Kozo.

The next step was “Kamisuki” process. My father used to mix the crashed back and glue(“Neri”) with water. Then used to wooden tray filter.

To make washi paper

My father wore Kimono.

During Kamisuki process, my father used to wear kimono and put a mini chacoal hot pot underneath his kimono to make him warm. the used to do Kamisuki job all day and his hands were always cold.

My mother used to do “Kamihoshi” which is the drying of washi paper that my father made. The drying process was the use one of two zinc plates in parallel post one on top of the other, and hot water was supplied between them while the top was spread with washi paper. My sweet memory was how my mother  used to boiled eggs using the hot water supplied between the two zinc plates. The eggs were like a job motivation for me form my parents. should I like salary for helping parents. It was a wonderful memory.

The dried papers were arranged in a square board up to 10 cm and my father used to use his leg to press down the papers in the square board and with finally to  make them straight.

I currently live in a house that  the windows shades are covered with my fathers washi papers. The window papers are so strong and tear-free and sounds nice when cleaning.

Finally, my most memorable things in making washi paper was the growth of mushrooms at the dried Kozo tree stumps and we called the mushroom Kozo mushroom.

Thank you,

April 2013 written by Ms.Y


→Memories of Kamisuki