Tosa Washi Paper
Tosa Washi Paper is Japanese paper made in Ino-cho, Kochi Prefecture, and around Tosa City. Together with Fukui Prefecture's Echizen Washi and Gifu Prefecture's Mino Washi, Tosa Washi is one of the three major types of Washi. Known for its gentle touch and warm texture, it was designated as a traditional craft in 1976 because of its fine quality.
History of Tosa Washi Paper
Its history dates back about 1,000 years. Since the name of Tosa Washi appears in the "Engishiki", a set of regulations compiled in the Heian period (794-1185), as an offering, it is thought that washi was being made in the area from that time.
At that time, washi was considered valuable and was used for shell-matching game called "Kaiawase" and other aristocratic games. As time went by, the use of washi changed and it was used for samurai's kimonos, dolls, paper money issued by a feudal clan, and so on.
Even in the Edo period (1603-1867), Tosa Washi was an important specialty product, being considered an offering to the shogunate, and was protected by the Tosa Clan.
With the development of new techniques and tools, Tosa became the largest producer in Japan from around 1887 to the beginning of the Showa period (1926-1989), and exported typewriter paper and copying paper.
The Charm of Tosa Washi Paper
Tosa Washi is characterized by its wide variety, and its thinness and durability compared to other types of washi. The area around Ino-cho and Tosa City, where it is produced, is home to rivers renowned for their purity, such as the Niyodo River and the Shimanto River.
In addition, the "Kozo (paper mulberry)" produced in the mountainous areas of Kochi Prefecture is characterized by its long fibers that easily intertwine with each other. Tosa's Kozo and beautiful river water produce thin and strong Tosa Washi. It is truly a craft produced by nature.
The remaining washi production areas throughout Japan produce fewer and fewer varieties. However, Tosa Washi continues to produce about 300 various types of washi even today.
In the past, it was used for calligraphy, wallets, medicine cabinets, and paper lanterns, but today it is used for a wide range of purposes, including "Fusuma (Japanese sliding doors)", decorative paper, and wrapping for confectionery. In addition, this washi is used to repair Japanese books and paintings from around the world, and is highly valued not only in Japan but also overseas.
Morisa continues to produce Tosa Washi Paper with rich ideas and the fun and beauty of washi, matching washi to the needs of the times while carrying on the tradition. Using the expertise and creativity of its craftsmen as well as its unique processing technology, Morisa has produced many one-of-a-kind Tosa Washi Paper products that could not have been realized by handmade paper making alone.View Morisa Collection