Japanese Rice Paper, or Washi, refers to all types of Japanese paper, including traditional handmade sheets. We also carry several different types of papers from other countries in Asia.

A Brief History of Washi
The first paper in Japan was imported from China around 610 A.D. The skill of paper-making was quickly adopted by the Japanese, and over the last 1300 years, Japan has produced paper in a variety and volume far greater than that of any other culture. In Japan, washi paper has been used for calligraphy, printing, stationery, envelopes, fans, dolls, clothing, notebooks, as well as lampshades, paper-covered boxes, and shoji screens. Washi is traditionally made by hand using the finest quality fibers from plants indigenous to Japan, such as the inner bark of kozo (mulberry) paper. The long plant fibers are intertwined during the paper-making process to produce a sheet that is durable and tough yet possesses a warm, soft texture. Today modern manufacturing methods have extended the range of papers to an almost infinite variety. Other natural fibers, such as rayon, are frequently used, as well as silk screen printing techniques that result in gorgeous, multi-colored papers known as yuzen. In our stores' inventory we feature many styles of paper, from traditional kozo sheets to yuzen, metallic, decorative, lace, textured, and inclusion styles.

Uses for Washi

Artists all over the world take advantage of washi paper's natural qualities, as well as its durability, to enhance their work. Different types of washi may be used for watercolor, calligraphy, woodblock and linoleum cut printing, collage, bookbinding, and even jewelry and sculpture! Designers use the distinct colors and textures to produce unique publications, business cards, resumes, and photo layouts. Many of the textures and designs produce effective scans that can simply be dropped into a layout. A large number of the papers are compatible with laser and offset printing.

Other uses of washi include gift wrapping, stationary, greeting cards, invitations, matting and framing, and crafts.