Washi Paper Production: 100 Years of Expertise

Edofiber is a peerless source of Washi paper, a beautiful traditional Japanese paper which can be used for a wide variety of modern applications.

No other company has access to Washi of such high quality as Edofiber, Washi which is optimal for modern digital printing and a host of other applications, not to mention innovative custom solutions.

At the same time, Edofiber can supply the needs of the modern mass market, and we are constantly looking for new partners to help us bring Washi paper products to consumer markets in the Western world.

Edofiber’s Select Washi Suppliers

Today there are three Washi manufacturers remaining on Japan’s Shikoku Island, and Edofiber has close relationships with all three.

Between them, these manufacturers produce some of the finest Washi paper in existence. The Washi paper Edofiber sources won the coveted Yokozuna Award for best-quality Tesuki Hosyo.

Edofiber’s close relationships with these suppliers have profound consequences for our ability to produce innovative solutions. Because we are so close to our suppliers, we can work closely with them to provide custom solutions, even in small-run quantities.

Working with providers of top-quality Yoshino Sugi (cedar), we invented Washi paper file folders that used Yoshino Sugi cedar chips. Yoshino, in Nara Prefecture, has been renowned as a source of top-quality cedar since the 12th century.

The success of this product has helped to promote the use of the Yoshino Cedar in common consumer products.

And working with Sugino Washi Paper Factory in Saijo, Ehime, we created a package insert leaflet for an international cosmetic brand, promoting the beauty of Washi paper among many different countries outside of Japan.

Production of Washi Paper

There are 22 steps in the traditional process of producing Washi paper. The first step is to cultivate the raw materials kozo and mitsumata, both woody shrubs, and to gather the third raw material, the wild-growing gampi.

The materials are typically harvested from December to January, following which they are steamed to facilitate the stripping of the bark. The bark is scraped, washed, boiled with alkali, steamed again, beaten to loosen the fibers, and then made into sheets of Washi.

Other steps including entwining the fibers to make layers, pressing out excess water, brushing, drying, and selection. The result is a paper unlike any other: beautiful, with luxurious textures, and superb absorptive abilities for high-quality printing jobs.

Types of Washi Paper

The three main fibers used in Washi paper are kozo, mitsumata, and gampi, and each is associated with its own style of Washi paper. The fibers are similar enough in terms of their general properties, but each still has sufficient differences to be distinct in its own right.

Kozo Washi is the majority of Washi paper today. It is strong, durable, and has the luxurious textures and absorbent qualities that embody everything that makes Washi interesting and unique. Notably, it retains strength even when folded or crumpled.

Mitsumata Washi is much more delicate and elastic than Kozo Washi. It has a glossy look, and is soft and flexible to the touch. It is excellent for calligraphy and for printing paper, particularly modern digital printing.

Gampi paper is notable for its ability to take dyes and infused color. It is particularly optimal for envelopes, stationery, postcards, business cards, and colored papers.

All three types of Washi have much to recommend them, particularly with regard to their absorptive qualities.

Because printing requires paper to absorb the ink in order to display text and images, Washi’s superb absorptive abilities make for especially vibrant, beautiful colors when it is used to print images, and crisp, well-defined text.

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Processing Washi Paper

Edofiber has mastered the art of processing Washi paper in a variety of ways, for numerous applications.

For example, Edofiber’s Washi paper is ideal for watermarking. A watermark is a pattern that stands out when held against the light. Watermarks are produced by subtle techniques, which selectively thin the paper to form a distinctive pattern, such as those seen on diplomas and certificates.

Edge dying is another Edofiber specialty. Using our Fuchizome technique, we dye the rim of the paper in a way that produces a unique texture, utterly unlike anything possible with printing.

Foil stamping is another process for which our Washi is ideal. This is a way of printing foil by thermal transfer. This process can make use of gold and silver, and there are also monochrome and hologram options.

Washi can also be turned into elegant and beautiful boxes, perfect for gifting. We can also use punching die to produce original and custom shapes.

Another option is embossment, which produces a pattern on paper without any ink at all.

Printing on Washi Paper

Edofiber’s printing solutions are varied and address a wide variety of needs. Whatever your need, we can print Washi paper that will supply it.

Letterpress printing is a method we have expertise in. It produces high-quality printing that is reminiscent of prints produced with woodcut plates.

Washi is also perfect for very high-definition offset printing. We can also do thin paper printing, which is technically complex and very tricky. Edofiber has decades of experience in thin-paper printing.

We can also do seal printing, either on rolled paper with the seals cut out, or special paper that has been treated with adhesive.

Finally, we can laminate Washi, thermal-welding a material such as polyethylene over the Washi to make it more water-resistant.

Edofiber’s Washi Production & Distribution

We specialize in the production of Washi paper for commercial printing and production, but we also produce and distribute a wide variety of custom Washi products for a wide variety of needs.

Our products include Washi office supplies, postcards, and restaurant food and packaging supplies. Whether you are in need of innovative paper solutions for the office or for creative processes, we can meet your Washi paper needs.

It is our mission to promote Washi paper for daily use in the West, since Washi has so many unique strengths compared with mass market Western paper: resistant to humidity, long-lasting, takes colors and text better, less prone to pest damage, and generally more luxuriant and interesting to the touch.

To learn more about our Washi paper solutions, contact Edofiber for samples and business terms.