Washi Paper Manufacturing

Washi paper is simultaneously a traditional Japanese cultural heritage and one of the best modern paper solutions for a wide range of commercial printing needs today. How is this possible? The answer has everything to do with the materials and the manufacturing process.

Traditional Manufacturing

For centuries, since about 610 CE, Washi paper was made by hand through a traditional process that incorporated textile-like aspects.

As a result, Washi paper that has entered history as a priceless Japanese cultural heritage, renowned for its luxurious textures and for its beauty and strength. As beautiful and remarkable as Washi paper is, though, the process of manufacturing it was labor-intensive and could not keep up with supplying a modern mass market.

Given this, a number of companies sought an alternative. They wanted a modern process that would capture the beauty, the strength, and the wonderful textures of Washi paper while also being economical enough for production and consumption on the world market.

Washi handmade paper

Successful Mass Production

One of these companies was Edofiber’s own parent company, Nagai Paper Store. Through much effort, Nagai developed a way to successfully mass-produce Washi paper which managed to combine the beauty, strength, and unique textures of traditional Washi paper with the efficiency of modern production methods.

The result is a line of Washi paper products which collectively exist in a sort of harmonious fusion between the past and the present. They are at the same time a testament to the enduring legacy of the past, the Washi paper that was originally introduced by Buddhist monks in the 7th century, and the present, being an effective, economical, and beautiful solution to everything from digital printing to office stationery to gift boxes and so much more.

Washi paper can solve a wide range of office needs. However, it is a good idea to partner with an expert in Washi paper production. Here, Edofiber is unequaled: we won the coveted Yokozuna Award for best-quality Tesuki Hosyo Washi paper. We have the best Washi paper on the market.

Also, thanks to our parent company Nagai Paper Store, we have relationships of long standing with the three remaining Washi manufacturers still active on the island of Shikoku.

Thanks to these relationships, we are very effective at delivering a wide range of Washi paper solutions, including customized products. We know how to efficiently communicate customer needs for even very small-run projects.

There are also very different kinds of Washi for very different projects and needs.

Types of Washi Paper

Traditionally, Washi paper is manufactured using kozo and mitsumata and the wild gampi, but these three plants produce three quite different types of Washi.

In each case, the manufacturing process is much the same. All three plants are woody shrubs, and in each case the process starts with steaming the branches to make it easier to strip off the bark.

The bark has the fibers that become the basis for the Washi paper itself, and the characteristics of the bark fibers therefore determine the characteristics of the Washi.

Kozo Washi, for example, is the most common type of Washi paper. People who know Washi generally regard it as the ‘typical’ Washi paper, and it is in some sense representative of what Washi generally is supposed to be: strong, durable, and possessed of wonderfully luxurious textures with a great ability to absorb ink, making for crisper, fuller text and colors.

Mitsumata Washi is much more delicate and elastic. If you are looking for Washi for a calligraphic project or for printing paper, this is easily your best bet. It is glossy and absolutely beautiful.

Gampi Washi is made from the wild gampi plant. It is especially good at taking colors from dyes and from infusions, and this lends it to use for envelopes, stationery, postcards, business cards, and colored papers.

These three types of Washi paper cover many different printing uses. Let us examine a few of the options for printing with Washi paper.

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Washi Paper Printing Options

Edofiber has many printing solutions for Washi. The different solutions cover very different needs.

Letterpress printing, for example, is an Edofiber specialty. The result is high-quality printing that looks like an old-style woodcut printing job. Woodcuts were literally made by carving a block of wood to provide the printing design, and it is these exquisite results that letterpress printing recaptures.

Some printing jobs require high-definition offset printing. This is another thing Edofiber can do with Washi paper. Thin paper printing is another option, one which is complex and tricky with any paper but especially so with Washi.

Some printing jobs call for seals – think of the seals on official documents, i.e. university diplomas, awards, certain company letterhead, and more.

This too is a very practical application for Washi paper, both because of its strength and because it is highly absorbent of ink. Seal printing is of especially high quality when it is done on Washi paper.

Lamination is another option with Washi. In some cases you may need a Washi paper product that is water-resistant. Here it is interesting to note that Washi has historically been famous for its water resistance: during the Edo period (1603-1867), merchants in Osaka used Washi paper account books because, in the event of a fire, they could be thrown into wells to protect them from the flames.

Today we can do much more: including thermal-welding polyethylene or other materials over a Washi product to make it more water-resistant.

Edofiber is Your Source for Washi Paper

Edofiber is a worldwide distributor of Washi paper, and we are always looking for new partnerships to expand our business.

Thanks to our innovative manufacturing processes and high-quality ingredients, our Washi paper is of the highest quality.

We offer a wide range of very high-quality Washi paper products which can serve a wide variety of commercial printing solutions. With different raw materials and different processes, we have produced many different Washi papers for many different purposes. We also have a variety of printing options to suit your needs.

To further explore the advantages of our Washi paper, please contact Edofiber for samples and business terms.