Fusuma (襖)

The term fusuma (襖) is a fitting which is used as a partition in a Japanese-style room. It is made with a wooden frame with paper or cloth pasted on the both sides.

The Origin of the Word

While the word shoji (a paper sliding door) originates from China, the word 'fusuma' is not seen in Tang and Korea so the name seems to come from Japanese. The 'fusuma-shoji' began to be used as a partition in a place to sleep in the emperor's private room in the Imperial Palace, just after it was first designed. The place to sleep was called 'fusuma-dokoro' (衾所, a place for fusuma). The term 'fusuma' (衾) originally referred to 'futon (Japanese-style bedding) or bed clothing'.
Therefore, it was called 'fusuma-shoji in fusuma-dokoro.'
In addition, there is a theory that a form of fusuma-shoji, with a wide hem-stuck, which was called zenkin, was similar to the form of fusuma futon.

It can be imagined that the sound of the Chinese character 'kin' (衾) as 'fusuma' in the Japanese way originated from the word 'fusu-ma' (a room for lying). Anyway the theory that the origin of 'fusuma' was '衾' is regarded as correct. Zenkin used as a hem of fusuma (襖) originally meant the belt-shaped silk cloth used for hemming or decoration for a bamboo blind and kicho (a kind of partition used by court nobles during the Heian period). The zenkin was also used as a hem for a screen (a free-standing, single-panel wooden screen), a simple partition which was often used in the rooms of Shinden-zukuri style (architecture representative of a nobleman's residence in the Heian period), and used as a hem for tatami such as ugen-beri (a hem made of silk fabrics colored in one color with sequential layers from light to dark). The kicho was a silk twill curtain hung on a horizontal wooden bar between two vertical pillars on a stand, and used as a partition in a space for women to use. The silk cloth of the curtains were tied together with a hem of zenkin, and a more belt of zenkin was hung over it as an ornament, and the low hemline created a style like the hem of juni-hitoe dress (the ceremonial attire of a Japanese court lady consisting originally of twelve layers of unlined kimono worn one on top of another).

The term 'ao' (襖) refers to a lined kimono or wadded clothes (padded clothes) and used as an expression of 'fusuma' because both sides were covered with silk cloth. It seems the original form (the primitive form) was a board-like screen on which both sides were covered silk cloth. Attempting to lighten this screen, vertical and horizontal boards were assembled in the frame and silk cloth pasted on the both sides. It seems that these improved points of the screen were applied to haritsuke kabe (a fixed and unmoving fusuma used as a wall) (also known as fukushoji (set-in translucent screens)) and folding screens. Needless to say, a wide zenkin was also pasted on haritsuke kabe and folding screens. When 'fusuma' (襖) were designed at first, the surface were covered with silk cloth.
For this reason it was called 'fusuma-shoji.'
Later, the thick karakami (Chinese paper) which concealed easily was introduced and its application to shoji spread, the difference between fusuma-shoji, and karakami-shoji (paper sliding-door made of imported Chinese paper) became blurred and they were used together so paper covered shoji, other than silk shoji, were also called fusuma.

Supposedly, shoji with a white background or on which fusuma-e (images drawn on fusuma sliding door) were drawn were used in a formal guest room and were called fusuma-shoji, shoji covered with woodblock printed karakami of one color background without a pattern or a fine pattern placed in an informal living room or sukiya (style of a tea-ceremony house) style building were called karakami-shoji.

A little later after the appearance of karakami-shoji, 'akari shoji (a translucent screen or sliding door made by pasting single sheets of white Japanese paper on light wooden frames, or sometimes on bamboo frames)' was invented. This type of shoji is still being used nowadays.

As the time passed, the words were shortened and the word 'shoji' was left out of fusuma-shoji and karakami-shoji, and the word 'akari' was left out of akari-shoji (a translucent screen or sliding door made by pasting single sheets of white Japanese paper on light wooden frames) so that the word shoji became a specific term for a kind of screen, and was no longer used as a general term for all screens.

"Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji) and Fusuma

In "Genji Monogatari," there is a description where 'the opened shoji was pushed to open a little more, and the shoji on this side was pulled to close' and there are many scenes where waka (Japanese poem) was written on shoji.

In "Genji Monogatari," a double sliding fusuma-shoji was as commonly referred to. Apparently, around this time, fusuma had spread widely in a residences of aristocracy and the upper-class.

"Genji Monogatari Emaki" (Illustrated handscrolls of the Tale of Genji) was the oldest scroll depicting a story in Japan, in the style of peculiar and elegant tsukuri-e (pictures created by careful executed three step paintings), painted by FUJIWARA no Takayoshi 100 years after "Genji Monogatari" was written. People were painted in the style of 'hikime-kagihana,' where a person had a full-cheeked face, thin horizontal lines as eyes and a hook-shaped nose, and a house was painted in the fukinuke-yatai style in which roofs and ceilings were omitted. This picture scroll shows what the room looked like very well, for example, how fittings such as a screen, kicho, a bamboo blind, shitomi (a wooden lattice door which opens up vertically) and folding screens were used and yamato-e painting (a traditional Japanese style painting of the late Heian and Kamakura periods dealing with Japanese themes) were drawn on fusuma-shoji.

In the volume of 'Yadorigi' (the volume of mistletoe) the fusuma-shoji of yamato-e paintings and the fuku-shoji (a kind of fusuma-shoji that is used as a movable wall) showing a picture of birds over running water painted on a silver ground were painted in the room used for breakfast in the Seiryoden (Literally "Limpid Cool Hall," an imperial summer palace). In the volume of 'Azumaya' (the volume of a small arbor) yarido (a wooden sliding door) is seen in the veranda of the small house at Sanjo where Ukifune (one of the female characters in The Tale of Genji) lived.

While fusuma-shoji were used as partitions between rooms, kicho was inevitably placed and fabrics that provided stage effects to emphasize a woman's personality were used near the lady, and they played an important role to subdivide a room. The splendid interior design was really suitable for a picture scroll for a dynasty. For partitioning areas around the outside of a house many bamboo blinds and lattices could be seen for controlling light, but mairado (a sliding door with frame incorporating a wooden panel and numbers of thin wooden slats fixed at short intervals) were used in a key areas.

Folding screens were placed near a man of high rank such as the Emperor. It seems that each personal role, interior design, and symbolic meaning were incorporated into each fitting. Fusuma-shoji during this period were made with a big-boned combined framework for a wooden door and a pasted silk cloth covering. For opening and closing, a thick tassel sufficed as a handle and a latch for locking was included. And an artists painted pictures on many of them. A ken (a unit of length) in those days was 3 m, so two sliding doors were roughly twice as wide as present ones. In addition, because it was an age when carpenters' tools such as dai-ganna (a plane) were not yet developed and only big-boned combined wooden materials in a frame were produced, it seems to have been a very unrefined and heavy fitting compared to those used today.

The oldest existing fusuma are those placed on the dividing nai-jin (the inner sanctuary of a shrine or temple) and ge-jin (the outer part of a shrine or temple where ordinary people worship) at the Fudo hall of the Kongobu-ji Temple on Mt. Koya, which was said to be built in 1197. However, both the final printed paper and paper used as a foundation had been replaced, and now only the frame from those days remain. The kumiko-bone (vertical and horizontal crosspieces such as found in a lattice) which were finished by yari-ganna (a plane consisted of an edge and a shaft like a spear which shaved wood by pushing), was thick and made of hinoki (Japanese cypress) with 3 cm on the front side and 2 cm on the lateral side, four vertical crosspieces and seven horizontal crosspieces had been set within the frame. In addition, it was assembled in the style of jigoku-gumi (hell-like assembly) in which vertical and horizontal crosspieces were set in the same style as present day kumiko, which is said to be a very elaborate technique.


One of the characteristics of Shoin-zukuri style (a traditional Japanese style of residential architecture that includes a tokonoma) is kinpeki-shohekiga (paintings on gold foil-pressed paper sliding doors and screens). Kinpeki-shohekiga are deep colored pictures on partitions (paintings on fusuma, haritsuke kabe or folding screens) painted using ultramarine (sea blue), copper rust (verdigris), byakuroku (whitish green), cinnabar (vermilion) and kozumi (deep Sumi Japanese ink) over a gold foil background, a new style of painting written by Eitoku KANO. Ninomaru densha (the hall of the second fortress) in the Nijo-jo Castle and the meeting place in the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple are famous for the pictures on partitions of Shoin-zukuri style. A magnificent, gorgeous and panoramic kinpeki-shohekiga was painted consisting of haritsuke kabe, tsukeshoin (the exterior corner of the alcove on the veranda in an aristocratic style dwelling), kobusuma (a small fusuma) of chigaidana (set of staggered shelves), fusuma as partitions and walls above nageshi (a horizontal piece of timber in the frame of a Japanese-style house) in the front tokonoma (the front alcove).

Eitoku KANO created a new style of painting that was a compromise between the technique of Chinese and that of traditional yamato-e paintings, as a patronized painter of the Ashikaga Shogun family. The pictures drawn on partitions in aristocratic residences and temples during the Heian period were Kara-e paintings (a Chinese style painting) on which historical events, scenery and customs in China were drawn, but he chose the beauty of nature and seasonal landscapes in Japan as subjects and established his peculiar style of painting. In addition, in order to show a sequential panoramic painting, he exercised his ingenuity in removing zenkin, fabrics used for a wide hem decor, from fusuma and using a small wall above nageshi as a sequential screen. Kinpeki-shohekiga was not only valued as a simple decoration of Shoin (reception room) but also utilized as a stage effect to naturally symbolize status and power. Later in the Azuchi-Momoyama period splendid kinpeki-shohekiga were painted at the Azuchi-jo Castle of Nobunaga ODA, Juraku-dai Residence (Juraku-dai Castle-like Residence) and Osaka-jo Castle of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, which were utilized to show off their powers with pride.

Eitoku KANO flexibly corresponded to the changes of the times and gained the favor of persons in power during that period, and as a result, almost all these paintings on partitions were painted by him and his pupils. In addition, the Kano School had kept its power as the head of edakumi (painters) of the Tokugawa Shogun family during the Edo period, which showed that they had also a perceptive sense for politics. Sotatsu TAWARAYA, Korin OGATA and other painters succeeded and further developed the technique of paintings of the Kano School, so that kinpeki-shohekiga had a large impact on the art in Japan.


In the jodan no ma (a raised floor level) of Shoin-zukuri style, there is an alcove and a tokowakidana (a shelf made beside the tokonoma) in front, tsukeshoin (the exterior corner of the alcove on the veranda in an aristocratic style dwelling) on the side of hiroen (wide veranda), and chodaigamae (a built-in ornamental doorway found in the raised area of a formal style reception suite) on the right side. Chodai-gamae consists of the four fusuma paintings on gold foil background, being set in a threshold which is one step higher than tatami, a kamoi (a generic term for a head jamb, normally having tracks for sliding doors or partitions) which is one step lower than nageshi and three hotate (a thin board or narrow post set on each side of a door or gate to provide a neat finish), and the central two fusuma-e paintings are pulled apart to the right and left, while the outside two paintings are fixed. These fusuma are wooden doors which are made in the style of so-called Tofusuma door making, and a tassel that is used as a handle, is braided in agemaki-musubi (agemaki knot) and is hung down. The threshold and kamoi of chodai-gamae, pillars and hotate were all finished in black-lacquer. In the "Teijo-zakki" (Teijo's memorandums) of Sadatake ISE written about Yusoku kojitsu (court and samurai rules of ceremony and etiquette) during the Edo period, there is a description of chodai-gamae as follows.

Michodai (a nobleman's room for living or sleeping) (御帳台) is a name of zashiki (room or place floored with tatami mats) at the back of the omashi (or gyoza, a room or a seat for a nobleman) in the main building of a residence. It looks like a micho (a curtain or hangings for a nobleman, or a nobleman's room) before the gods.' 'This is commonly called nando (storeroom) -gamae. Because furniture is placed in a storeroom, it is also written as micho-dai (御調台). But micho-dai (御帳台) is the right word.' 'In addition, chodai is placed one step higher. I think that nurigome (room with plastering a wall) means chodai. Chodai is an owner's bedroom next to a storeroom to place tools. Moreover, since chodai is a bedroom, it is coated tightly by plastered walls for precaution.' 'It is wrong that michodai is a place in where armed samurai are hidden. It simply means a storeroom itself. Whether or not a warrior is hidden in the room depends on the owner's intentions. it is completely undetermined how to use or what to use it for.'

It is described that it was a bedroom and a storeroom and that some people called musha-gakushi (a room to hide a warrior). The Shinden-zukuri style is a hall style without any inner partition, and a sole small nurigome (a part of the main building, which is separated and surrounded by thick walls, and used for a bed room or a storeroom) room was a bedroom. After the mid-Heian period, in an aristocrat's residence, people slept in cho in the main house. Cho is movable furniture for sleeping, made with low chodai (also called hamayuka) set up in columns at four corners and a cloth is hung around it.

Later, cho as a whole became to be called chodai. The chodai-gamae in Shoin-zukuri style meant that a small room called nurigome and fusuma-shoji were the alternative of 'cho,' and it was also called 'chodai (帳代 = alternative of cho)' and used as a bedroom. This bedroom secured the owner's own safety in case of an emergency during periods of war.

It seems that during the Muromachi period, when political stability was achieved, it was used as a storeroom where important household goods and arms were kept rather than being used as a bedroom. In addition, when a suspicious visitor came, warriors were hidden for the event of an emergency.

In periods of political stability, the original function of chodai-gamae became unclear and had been used as an ornamental form of room to symbolize status, power, and authority.

Fusuma and Shitsurai

The inside of Shinden-zukuri style during the Heian period was a hall style with a wooden floor in which many columns stood in a row with no structural partition. This inside open space was divided with kicho, folding screens and shoji according to daily needs of residents, ceremonies of annual events and banquets, and staged the space adequately by placing chodai, tatami and other furniture for every occasion. Setting up the room was called 'Shitsurai' (room decorations).

Shitsurai is written as '室礼' or '舗設' in Chinese characters. It is said that the word 'Shitsurai' used as yamato-kotoba (words intrinsically used in Japan), the letter 'shi' is '為' (shi) which means 'do,' the letter 'tsurai' means 'keeping company with' or 'being balanced with,' and consequently, it means 'to do' 'keeping company with' or 'being balanced with' in accordance with the situation. In order to be in harmony and be reconciled with the formality of a resident's lifestyle and each ceremony for annual events, a lot of furniture used for partitions and screens were arranged (which were called 'shitsurae').
Shoji, a major partition for 'shitsurae,' is the original form of today's 'fusuma.'
As a partition for 'Shitsurai' in the Shinden-zukuri style during the Heian period, there were shitomido (latticed shutters) and misu (a bamboo blind) hung along the shitomido. As to misu, there are oi-misu (a covering bamboo blind) hung outside and uchi-zu (a bamboo blind hung inside) (内簾) hung inside. In winter, tobari (a curtain) named kabeshiro (hangings used as a blind in a nobleman's residence) were hung inside misu. The room was subdivided by kicho, which was said to be a screen made of tobari, as it were, and hikimono or zejo which were similar to a stage curtain made of silk or cloth as a partition. In addition, there were folding screens, tsuitate-shoji (shoji or fusuma with a stand, which is easy to carry) and fusuma-shoji made with a wooden lattice pasted silk and cloth, later Japanese paper and black-lacquered hem as a developed form of tsuitate-shoji. Among them, as to the 'shoji', which were the most important partitions for 'shitsurai,' various forms of shoji were invented during the Heian period. Various materials were used to create various shoji such as kinu-shoji (silk shoji), nuno-shoji (cloth shoji), kami-shoji (paper shoji), ita-shoji (board shoji), sugi-shoji (cedar shoji) and fuku-shoji (also called oshi-shoji and was used as a wall), and akari-shoji and others were devised near the end of the Heian period. Shoji made with kumiko-goshi (a lattice made of fine materials) with silk cloth or a paper pasted on the both sides were called fusuma-shoji (衾障子 or 襖障子). Paper and cloth were also used for ita-shoji as foundation, which was fuku-shoji used as a wall placed in a bay.

Judging from the development of styles as partition fittings, the original 'shoji' was tsuitate-shoji on a stand which could be said to be an original form of screen. Kinu-shoji, kami-shoji, ita-shoji and others were tsuitate-shoji used on a stand. Among tsuitate-shoji, the tsu-shoji (tori-shoji) which has a square window, a screen, and bamboo blind on it to be seen from the inside and others were also invented. In order to arrange ('shitsuraeru') partitions to harmonize with each situation as 'shitsurai,' the movable form is convenient. In the Shinden-zukuri style for a multipurpose space, even the places in a lavatory and bath were not fixed. The fuku-shoji, which was set in on a groove in a bay, was invented from tsuitate-shoji.
The fuku-shoji was a built-up type shoji and was a movable wall which could be built up or removed in accordance with 'shitsurae.'

Based on this fuku-shoji, the torii-shoji (kamoi-shoji) was devised to move in two directions by drawing on the two grooves of kamoi and threshold, and it led to the original form of present day 'fusuma' and was called fusuma-shoji (衾障子 or 襖障子). These inventions of various shoji that divided internal space were a significant turning point which led to a change of living based on the definite separation between public and private matters (formal and private matters) in the Shinden-zukuri style residence. The development to the separation and independence of a small space with a specific function or purpose created the idea of 'shitsu' (room). It seems that the original form of akari-shoji, which was invented near the end of the Heian period, originated from chodai, which was a skylight ceiling in the bedroom. Chodai was a place to sleep which was set up around the center of Shinden (a place to sleep), and it was one step higher because of bedding tatami and was surrounded by screens and bamboo blinds, on four columns. Later, it was surrounded by fusuma-shoji. On the chodai columns, a ceiling was also set up. Although it was a place to sleep, it was also used as a living room during daytime, so that 'raw silk' was pasted on the one side of kumiko lattice to let a light pass as a skylight. Then, the 'skylight' of the lattice ceiling of this chodai was the original form of later akari-shoji, and the 'ceiling' itself was the origin of the ceiling made of cedar boards in the 'shitsu' of later Shoin-zukuri style divided into small spaces depending on their purpose and function.

The Origin of the Name

In the "Kagaku-shu" (a Japanese dictionary made in the Muromachi period) written in 1444, the origin of the name of torinoko (literary, a child of a hen) was described as 'The color of paper looks like that of an egg of a hen, so it was called torinoko.'
Besides, in the "Satsujo-shu" (another Japanese dictionary made in the Muromachi period) it was described as 'an egg paper' (an egg-colored paper). Since there is also a description of 'usu-yo' (thin torinoko-colored paper) distinguished from torinoko, it seems that torinoko referred to thick ganpishi (thick Japanese paper made from fibers taken from the bark of a clove-like bush). Because there are no explanations about atsu-yo (thick torinoko-colored paper) in both dictionaries, it seems that the atsu-yo of ganpishi had been called torinoko since the Heian period. In the "Wakansansaizue" (a Japanese encyclopedia made in recent times), torinoko was described as 'being classified into three kinds of atsu-yo, chu-yo (medium torinoko paper), and usu-yo' and all ganpishi were called torinoko.

The paper of torinoko had been mainly used as ryoshi (paper for writing) for eiso (paper on which a tanka or a haikai is written) and hand-copying of sutras, and sometimes used for official documents. Especially, its surface was smooth, glossy, and beautiful with good durability, so that it was preferably used to make a book for permanent preservation by the upper class.
In the "Daigenkai" (literally, great sea of word, a Japanese dictionary) published during the Meiji period, there is a description of 'a paper made from the bark of kozo (a mulberry paper) and ganpi (a clove-like bush) as materials. Today, mitsumata (a paper bush) is used.'
According to the "Kefukigusa" (a book for haikai including manners and selection of works) published in 1645 during recent times and the "Shokoku yorozukaimono choho-ki" (a guide book for shopping in various provinces) and the "Seishi ichiran" (a list of paper making) published in from 1688 to 1703, Najio in Settsu Province, Koyama in Omi Province, Tenkawa in Izumi Province and Suo Province other than Echizen Province are described as famous producing districts.

In the "Boeki biko" (remarks on trade) published in the beginning of the Meiji period, Kiryu in Omi Province and Ou in Izumo Province are listed. Besides, Izu, Mino, and Tosa Provinces are also famous producing districts of ganpishi, where the name of 'torinoko' is not used.


The usu-yo of ganpishi, called hishi (an old name of ganpishi), was especially used by noblewomen during the Heian period and the word 'usu-yo' became a popular name. In addition, it came to be called bishi (literally, beautiful paper) near the end of the Heian period. As opposed to the kokushi (paper made from the fibers of the mulberry tree, which is native to Japan and widely cultivated) and hoshogami (heavy Japanese paper of the best quality) made of kozo (mulberry tree) and seen as masculine paper, ganpishi, which was gentle to touch and fine textured, were favored as ryoshi for eiso. In the end of Heian period, kokushi and ganpishi made of kozo replaced mashi (paper made of hemp), which was difficult to and time-consuming to handle, and especially usu-yo of ganpishi became mainstream. This ganpishi became to be called torinoko since the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan).

In the "Zatsuji-ki" (record of miscellaneous affairs) written by Hironori AZIRO (around 1328) there is a description that said; 'I copied the Lotus Sutra on torinoko colored paper,' in the section of 1356 in the "Gukan-ki" (the diary of Michitsugu KONOE in Chinese characters), there is a description as 'ryoshi toriko,' and furthermore, in the section of 1431 in "Kanmon-nikki" (the diary of Gosuiko-in) the word 'ryohi toriko' is seen as well.

As the age of feminine culture of the nobility in the Heian period changed to the age of masculine society of the samurai class in the medieval times, more atsu-yo of ganpishi came to be used, called torinoko paper as opposed to usu-yo. The name torinoko became generalized since the end of the Kamakura period, and all ganpishi came to be called torinoko in the recent times.

It Might be Called the King of Paper

In the "Nobutane-kyo-ki" (the diary of Nobutane NAKANOMIKADO there is the word 'Echizen-dain' (torinoko paper put into a pattern of clouds and also called daunshi) in the section of 1488, and the word of 'Echizen torinoko' in section of 1502. The word of 'Echizen torinoko' is often seen in other historical documents, and torinoko paper made in Echizen Province was popular as good quality paper during the mid-Muromachi period.

Originally, the paper made of kozo such as hoshogami was used for official documents, whereby torinoko paper was seldom used for them.

In the "Yoshufu-shi" (a geographical description of Yamashiro province) there is a description bout 'Kaga hosho (heavy Japanese paper made in Kaga province) and Echizen torinoko as being the best paper,' and in the "Wakansansaizue" there is a description of torinoko of Fuchu in Echizen Province; 'the surface of the paper is smooth and easy to write on, is firm enough to endure long storage, this could be called the king of paper.'
In the recent times, the term 'usu-yo' disappeared and all ganpishi came to be called torinoko. The northern limit where it was possible to grow ganpi (a plant of Thymelaeaceae) was Kaga Province, and as torinoko paper became popular in Kyoto, good torinoko paper had been produced by polishing further the excellent skills from limited materials in Kaga and Echizen Provinces, which built their names as a famous producing district. Because of the shortage of materials, mitsumata and kozo, similar to ganpi, were mixed together, and torinoko paper is made using mitsumata at present.

The Echizen Bijutsu-shi (art paper of Echizen Province)

During the Edo period, watermark paper (a transparent paper), combined with pattern paper (for cutting out patterns), and adding more fibers on the paper produced a technique for processing a wrinkled pattern. The so-called Echizen bijutsu-shi is combined with the technique of these basal papers and decorative processing, and also called suki-moyo fusuma-shi (pattern-including fusuma paper). In the Echizen Province, a large maniai-shi was made in the early stage. The maniai-shi was a term that referred to fitting the width of fusuma-shoji, and was about 0.96 m wide. The length varied depending upon historical age, and it had become longer ranging from eight-rank papering, six-rank papering to four-rank papering (about 0.49 m) around 1883. The large-size fusuma paper, which was so-called sanroku-ban (about 0.9 m wide and 1.80 m long sheet), originated from the ganseki-toshi (rock-tapped look karakami) which was characterized by the wrinkle pattern during the Edo period.

The taihei-shi (literary, peace-paper) was a modification of ganseki-toshi and its further modification was the rakusui-shi (literary, happy water paper) produced in the Meiji period. The details on this are mentioned later. During the Meiji period, as the rakusui-shi in Tokyo had been highly estimated, the development of large-size fusuma paper was very popular even in the Echizen region which took pride in the long tradition, and the tesuki-fusumabari-taishi (handmade large paper for fusuma) was invented at the Takano paper mill in Shinzaike, Imadate-cho, Fukui Prefecture (present Shinzaike-cho, Echizen City) in 1885.

Working on improving technique and by actively entering products in industrial expositions, the manager of Takano paper mill began to produce fusuma paper with a shoshi-ki machine (a paper-making machine) in 1907 and invented a new shoshi-ki machine that was able to make double layered paper.

The more that fusuma papers were produced in the Echizen region, the more techniques, like the processing of a wrinkle pattern and incorporating new patterns were improved, and it became the major production area of fusuma paper.

Fusuma-size torinoko paper with suminagashi processing (staining method by which Sumi or a pigment is dropped onto water surface, and the appearing pattern is transferred to paper or cloth) was favorably received and even exported around 1897. In addition, at the Japan-British Exhibition held in London in 1910 Japanese paper such as; mizutama-shi (waterdrop paper), unka-shi (also known as unga-shi, literally, cloud flower paper), and sukikomi-shi (pattern-put on paper), were entered and gained a high reputation.

According to the "Echizen seishi-annai" (guide to paper manufacturing in former Echizen province) written in 1918, Echizen washi (Japanese paper made in former Echizen province) in the previous year occupied such an important place as the amount of production was ranked fourth after hanshi (standard-size Japanese writing paper), coated paper, and hoshogami.

The bijutsu-shi was invented by Heizaburo IWANO of Iwano paper industry, who was regarded as a master craftsman of paper making, using various techniques, many of which were applied to the decoration of fusuma-size torinoko paper. In the sample book of Echizen fusuma paper published around 1934, there are various names of paper such as Taisho mizutama-shi (Taisho waterdrop paper), shimofuri-shi (pepper and salt paper), tairei-shi (paper of a extreme beauty) (大麗紙), taiten-shi (paper of a great ceremony), kinsen-shi (paper with gold in hiding), ginsen-shi (paper with silver in hiding) and rakka-shi (paper of falling cherry-blossom petals) (落花紙) other than arima-shi (fusuma paper including buckwheat chaff), tofu-shi (paper of east wind) (東風紙), sumire-shi (paper of a violet) (すみれ紙), tobikumo-gami (indigo-blue and purple fiber-included paper which looks like flying clouds), hiryu-shi (paper of a flying dragon) (飛龍紙), tanabata-gami (paper of the Star Festival) (七夕紙), nowaki-gami (paper of a storm), and the major papers among these were invented by Heizaburo IWANO.

The Echizen bijutsu-shi used various complicated techniques with dexterity such as kumogake (covering with clouds) including traditional uchigumo (paper with a lying cloud), incorporating a wrinkle pattern, additional fibers in the paper, making paper from two types of fibers, crumpling, incorporating the black bark of a kozo, adding gold and silver lines, adding texture, waterdrop and running on the water. Tradition and these developments of skillful techniques improved the reputation of Echizen as a production area of fusuma paper, and its production rapidly expanded by the increased demand due to revival after the Pacific War, and it has been the mainstream of fusuma paper until now in accordance with the prevalence of power-driven shoshi-ki machines.


Today, in the former Echizen Province a handmade paper is called 'hon-torinoko' and machine-made paper is called 'torinoko.'
In addition, the papers are distinguished by various materials as follows; the type made of only ganpi is called special paper, the type made of ganpi and mitsumata is the first type, paper made of only mitsumata is the second type, paper made of mitsumata and wood pulp is the third type, and paper made of Manila hemp and wood pulp is the fourth type.

Moreover, all handmade paper with a pattern added is called 'genuine patterned torinoko paper.'
It consists of the two layers, that is, the foundation layer of Japanese paper and the surface layer into which patterns are incorporated (uwagake (a cover)). The surface layer into which patterns are put is made of mitsumata and kozo and its patterns incorporated by various techniques such as pouring.

In addition, there is paper with a unique taste that includes black bark (outer bark) of kozo. The 'hon-torinoko,' a traditional handmade Echizen paper, is a synonymous with high-quality fusuma paper, which keeps its unique taste and rather, exhibits a more refined touch as it ages. The handmade hon-torinoko paper is very expensive and its production is small at present.

Machine-made Torinoko

Today, the machine-made 'torinoko,' which enables mass production, is mainly produced. There are various kinds of machine-made torinoko with various qualities, ranging from those made of kozo and mitsumata of bast fiber to those made of wood pulp. High-quality machine-made torinoko, with a touch is close to that of handmade torinoko, since the fibers are tangled with one another sufficiently by making the shoshi-ki machine run at a very slow rate in order to create a handmade feel, is often more favored for use than the handmade hon-torinoko because of its homogeneity of fibers in the paper. The iro-torinoko (colored torinoko) of suki-zome (mixing dyed fibers when paper-making) has a variety of colors and has been used for various houses as a major high quality torinoko which is generally distributed. In addition, there is a laminated pattern torinoko paper, the foundation layer of which is made by a shoshi-ki machine as described above, and the pattern of the surface layer of which is made the same way as handmade paper is made. The price is cheaper than pure handmade paper because the foundation layer is made with a shoshi-ki machine, and the patterns laminated on top become gentle and have variety because they are handmade using various traditional techniques. The higher quality torinoko has a stronger property as paper, and when it is used for construction, enough care should be taken for preparing the basic frame and materials for pasting. It requires a fully-fledged basic frame and carefully pasted materials to prepare the groundwork suitable for the surface paper. For the common groundwork, hone-shibari (bonding of the frame), uchitsuke-bari (paste the paper to prevent light penetration, and so on), mino-bari (paste paper by placing glue its top and middle, but not bottom, as if making layers similar to a straw raincoat) (2 or 3 times), beta-bari (spread the paste evenly all over the paper), fukuro-bari (spread the paste only along the edge of the paper) (twice), kiyo-bari (pasting paper or cloth over fukuro-bari), uwa-bari (pasting paper or cloth for the final finishing touch) are applied, and for high-quality finishing ten pasting processes are needed. Japanese fusuma made with such care and effort can last for well over one hundred years.

The New Torinoko

Besides, the other mass produced products completely machine-made are 'joshin-torinoko' (the upper class of new torinoko) and 'shin-torinoko' (new torinoko). Joshin-torinoko is a popular edition of torinoko and because of its low price and homogeneity it is used for conventional homes. Among Japanese fusuma papers, it has the widest variety such as the plain paper that makes use of the touch of torinoko, the pattern put into paper by machine and patterns accomplished by later additional processing. The 'shin-torinoko' is the cheapest product among fusuma papers at present, made of wood pulp and recycled paper by machines consistently from paper manufacturing to pattern painting. Paper manufacturing methods are almost the same as for Western paper, and can be made very quickly. The shoshi-ki machine can produce specified double layer-combinations, and the pattern painting of the surface is done by a high-speed rotary press and small concave and convex wrinkle patterns done by an embossing machine in order to make a tasteful style of paper. It is presently the largest mass-produced product made industrially, and used massively for conventional homes such as an apartment building constructed by the Housing Corporation and for rental apartments. Shin-torinoko' is used for almost all domestically glued fusuma paper.

The Origin of Najio Torinoko

Najio in Settsu Province (Najio, Shiose-cho, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture) is known as a famous production area of torinoko paper.

The first appearance of the term Najio torinoko is in section 1638 of the "Kefukigusa," and there is a description about 'Najio torinoko being a good souvenir for both Arima and the hot spring mountains,' showing that the hankiri (a short sheet of paper for letters) of Najio and torinoko colored paper were sold as souvenirs of the Arima hot springs where visitors to the spa from various districts crowded together. In the section 1655 of the "Sesshu meisho ki" (a guide to noted places of Settsu province) there is a description of 'Najio being a place where torinoko-gami was made in the past. They make paper as skillfully as people in Echizen province and there are various types of paper.,' which shows that the paper manufacturing in Najio had already been developed in the early part of the 17th centuries during 1652 and 54 when it was written.
In the "Eiri Arima meisho ki" (an illustrated guide to noted places of Arima) (絵入有馬名所記) published in 1672, there is the description; 'It is the most famous after Echizen that not only torinoko, but also five-colored paper and kumo-gami (a type of torinoko which has blue cloud patterns in the upper part and purple ones in the lower part) are made in Najio.'

This means it is the most famous after Echizen and not only torinoko, but also five-colored paper and kumo-gami are made in Najio. It explains that the origin of the paper might be Echizen Province. It is the first appearance in literature that suggests the origin of Najio paper was Echizen Province. There is a theory that when the holy priest, Rennyo, who came to this place for missionary work through Tanba province, founded Kyogyo-ji Temple in 1475 and made his son, Rengei (蓮芸), maintain it, he introduced the technique of paper making around that time. Hisao WATANABE speculated in the section of 'Searching for the originator of paper-making' in his book, "Wasurerareta nihon-shi" (forgotten history of Japan) that 'the paper-maker, Yaemon HIGASHIYAMA' might be Yaemon who ran away from Iwamoto-mura village in 1598, judging from the death register of a family of the Jogan-ji Temple in the Iwamoto-mura village, Echizen Province (Iwamoto, Imadate-cho, Fukui Prefecture). It is said that a paper making engineer left the Iwamoto-mura village, a famous production area of Echizen torinoko, for some reason, and reached Najio, another production area, and invented doromaniai-shi (fusuma paper that incorporates soil). There are other theories in that say he learned the technique of paper making and started production in Najio.

Yaemon HIGASHIYAMA has usually been seen as the originator of Najio paper manufacturing by local residents, and a monument to honor his contribution as the originator of paper-makers (a monument to the originator of paper-making) was built by his colleagues in 1855. The summary of the inscription on the back side of the monument is as follows.
'A long time has passed since Najio paper manufacturing began.'
'This paper-making method was introduced by Yaemon.'
'However, no one knows when it actually occurred.'
'After his descendant, Shakujo (釈浄) (a posthumous Buddhist name), died on November 28, 1789, a ceremony to pray for Yaemon ceased.'
'It is a pity.'
'There is no one who has not benefited from Yaemon irrespective of farming, industrial, or merchant families in the hundreds of houses in Najio.'
'Therefore, paper manufacturers built this monument together.'
'We hope that anyone who wants to repay the benefit will regard the day of the descendant's death as a day of a new beginning.'
'By this, the virtue of Yaemon will be cherished as a memory.'
In 1833, the Meiji Government awarded a posthumous prize to Yaemon. The certificate of awarding the posthumous prize remains.
(owned by Shiose branch office, Nishinomiya City)

A certificate of awarding the posthumous prize
The late Yaemon HIGASHIYAMA in Najio-mura village, Arima-gun, Settsu Province, Hyogo Prefecture
You worried about the insufficient cultivated land in your home village during the Bunmei Era and you taught paper making methods to the local people, and finally successful production was achieved in subsequent generations. Many people received benefit from your efforts, therefore, we award you this posthumous prize.

On November 8, 1883, Shoshii (Senior Forth Rank), Kun itto (the First order of merit), Tsugumichi SAIGO.'
It seems that this was given to a person who had rendered distinguished service based on a report by the kocho-yakuba (a village office whose head was appointed by government) in Najio-mura village. This certificate shows the fame of Najio paper and prosperity of paper manufacturing in those days. There is a tragic tradition told about Yaemon HIGASHIYAMA in a document at Najio Kyogyo-ji Temple.
(Shusei NAKAYAMA (中山秀静) 'Najio paper')

Long time ago, there was a person named Yaemon HIGASHIYAMA, who went to Echizen Province in his younger days and was adopted as the husband for a daughter of a certain paper maker to acquire the technique of paper-making. After acquisition, he returned to his hometown, Najio, leaving his wife and children. He began to produce paper in Najio. On the other hand, although his wife, in the wake of and longing for Yaemon, visited him, the people in the village tried to drive her away, and never permitted her to come in to their community. She held a grudge against those cruel and cursed them saying; 'may sickness prevail forever in this village!,' and died.'

The deserted wife in Echizen Province visited Najio going a long way, longing for Yaemon, but the people in the village never allowed her to come in because they were afraid that Yaemon would leave and the paper manufacturing industry which had just started with great difficulty would collapse. According to the document, she held a grudge against the cruel village people and threw herself into a river and died, leaving a curse. This tragic tradition was novelized with a title of 'Najio-gawa River' by Tsutomu MIZUKAMI in 1969, and enjoyed a great reputation. It was broadcasted in gidayu (a style of reciting dramatic narratives) by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), and also performed at 'Miyako Odori' (a dance performance of Gion Kobu district) in Kyoto and the Takarazuka Revue (titled 'Kamisuki koiuta' (Love song of paper making) in 1976). Of course this is a novel and differs from the actual historical facts. Although there are other traditions about Yaemon as the originator of Najio torinoko, the following view is the most persuasive in the light of factual historical.

According to the eidaikyo hono kifuda (a wooden plate certifying the dedication of eternal and essential Buddhist scriptures) (永大経奉納木札) of Gensho-ji Temple in Najio and the documents of Gensho-ji Temple, it is sure that Yaemon existed in Najio during 1772 and 1788. And prior to that, there were no historical records on Yaemon in Najio. Before 1772, when Yaemon appeared in Najio, there were two Yaemon families, one living in Iwamoto-mura village and the other in Otaki-mura village in the Echizen go-go (the five areas in Echizen Province) (also called Okamoto go-ko (the five places in Okamoto)). During 1751 and 1771, Echizen go-go suffered from serious famine because of unsettled weather such as a floods from heavy rain and also a long drought. Not only agricultural products but also wild plants such as kozo and ganpi that were the resources used to make paper, became difficult to collect, and because especially the ganpi used for torinoko was impossible to cultivate, paper manufacturing fell into extreme poverty because of the difficulty of obtaining materials.

Therefore, many farmers (persons managing a farm by employing farm workers) were forced to sell their farms and became peasants. It seems that there was the Yaemon family in the Iwamoto or Otaki-mura village among them. Perhaps some people who could not endure the ruin, left the village and moved to Najio, looking for connections in the same trade. There were some temples of the Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) in the Echizen go-go, and the Gensho-ji Temple in Najio was also a temple of the Jodo Shinshu Sect. It's possible that closely united Monto (believers) of the Jodo Shinshu Sect had contact with it and that there was a relationship or influential connections.

It seems he also used the name Yaemon in Najio, taught the superior technique of torinoko manufacturing in Echizen, and made efforts in improving and disseminating it, so his achievements were highly esteemed and he was admired as the originator of Najio torinoko.

The Characteristics of Najio Torinoko

One of the characteristics of Najio paper is that it has been made by 'Tome-suki' (fixed-paper making) since ancient times. The prototype for Tome-suki was the ancient paper making method used since the Nara period, so it has a long history.

Characteristically of Tome-suki is the method of laying reeds together with arranged material against 'an upright board' and adhering the fibers together by draining the water remaining in the newly formed paper after the material is evenly arranged. On the contrary, almost all production areas of Japanese paper adopted the method of 'Nagashi-suki' (poured water-disposing paper making) that was established at Kamiyain, a national paper making place during the Heian period. When paper is made, the materials are scooped by those in a boat and shaken to spread them several times over the surface of a bamboo screen made of reed. This is the same processes found in Tome-suki. In the case of Nagashi-suki, after new paper is formed on a screen, water is poured out by tilting the reeds and the remaining water is splashed swiftly by tilting it towards the left. This process is called 'throwing the water away,' by which the impurities including dust are removed. This process of throwing the water away is characteristic of 'Nagashi-suki' and the extremely quick-action of aibika added to the paper material, makes it possible. In addition, the method of 'Nagashi-suki' needs the most careful attention. Inadequate handling could cause unevenness in colors or thickness. For these reasons, in many production areas there were 'paper-making women' who made paper using their delicate hands.
The other characteristic of Najio paper is 'soil-contained in the paper.'

The soil-contained method puts soil into the fibers of ganpi, adheres, and fixes it to the paper instead of mixing in white soil for coloration as done with some Japanese paper. The method of making Najio paper is to swing the reeds in all the directions including back and forth, right, left and diagonally. For this reason, labor required to swing the reeds is much harder than that for making Nagashi-suki and is too much of a heavy load for women, so that it is done by men. The soil incorporated into Najio paper is a tuff consisting of separative volcanic ash and volcanic sand, special products for Najio (Nishinomiya City) that do not adhere to the fibers unless the new paper on the screen is left untouched on 'an upright board' for a while after the process is completed. Therefore, panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Siebold) that acts slowly is used for 'neri' (an adhesive), instead of aibika that acts extremely fast.

The characteristic of Najio torinoko paper is Tome-suki because of soil-contained torinoko. Then, it is significant that it is a soil-contained torinoko using soil specially prepared in Najio, and it became famous all over Japan and was used as doromaniai-shi for various goods such as fusuma, screens, folding screens as well as a han-fuda bill (bills usable only in a particular feudal clan), paper to prevent drafts, paper for foil making and paper for making a medicine bag.

According to "The history of Nishinomiya City," paper produced in Najio is classified into three types; torinoko, hankiri type, and miscellaneous purpose types. The torinoko type includes maniai-shi, colored maniai-shi, paper for folding screens, cloud-patterned paper for folding screens, torinoko paper, five-colored torinoko paper, cloud-patterned torinoko paper, wide torinoko paper and soil-contained torinoko paper. The hankiri type includes Najio hankiri paper, and the miscellaneous purpose type includes Najio matsuba-gami (pine needle paper), Asagi-gami (pale yellow paper), kaki-gami (persimmon paper), mizutama-shi, paper for making a medicine bag and water-resistant paper coated with oil. One of the advantages of Najio paper is its long life.

All paper have a weak resistance to drying and moisture. When humidity becomes high the fusuma and shoji used in rooms absorb moisture and they evaporate moisture when the air dries. After these processes are repeated, the entangled fibers eventually unravel and the structure of paper breaks down and is destroyed. This is the reason why cheap shoji paper turns black and easily becomes torn within one year or less. However, in case of Najio paper in which soil is contained, the fibers are less influenced by humidity because the soil absorbs and evaporates the moisture, and consequently it is a highly durable paper. In addition it is not eaten by moths because a minute particle of mud prevents their entering and adhering between the fibers of ganpi. This is why the quality of Najio torinoko paper is smoother.

The Doromaniai-shi

The Najio production method became popular not only for torinoko, but also for doromaniai-shi which was useful as a high-quality fusuma paper in recent years. It is said that a brand of 'Najio torinoko paper' appeared on the market in Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka area) in 1638, and it became a best-selling item there like the name of Najio torinoko in the early period of recent times.
In the "Setsuyo gundan" (a topography of Settsu province)" written by Keishi OKADA (published in 1701), there is the description; 'There is a special soil for torinoko paper in Najio. This soil is mixed with torinoko paper during the paper-making process and it makes the paper more beautiful.'

The soil mixed with paper is taken from a stratum called the second tuff of the Miocene Kobe group at the foot of a mountain, from a terrace in Najio, which is exposed here and there.

The tuff is a rocky pile of volcanic ash and sand, and it is very fragile and easy to dig out, and it has various colors such as white, blue, yellow and tan. These soils for torinoko in Najio have names such as Tokubo soil (white), Tenshi soil (天子土) (whitish brown), Kabuta soil (blue), and Jato soil (ginger), and paper was made with one or two soils that was called five-colored torinoko or dyed torinoko.

These special soils of Najio were closely guarded. The way to mix the soil of Najio into paper is as follows; break the soil into pieces and put it into a hole called tsuchi-tsubo (an earthen jar) of about 40 cm in diameter, add water and knead with a pestle to make it muddy, and grind thoroughly into minute particles. Put it into a big barrel, add water, stir for an hour and leave it as is, for twenty-four hours. As a result, only ultrafine particles of a minimal size are suspended in the barrel, and discarding the top water including some of the minute particles and leaving the dregs of the ultrafine particles settled on the bottom, scoop up the middle part of the water rich ultrafine particle suspension, put it into another container and add bittern in order to prevent settling and to help it to adhere and clot to fibers including ganpi. With this process, the floating ultrafine particles of Najio soil is mixed into the paper materials as the paper is made. After coloring the soil-contained paper, it not only becomes resistant to insect damage and increases the ability of concealment, but also becomes more durable for longer life without turning yellow from light and in fact becomes more beautiful and has a smoother surface over time. On the minus side, soil-contained paper is delicate and easy to tear, heavier than other kinds of paper, and furthermore, the letters written by sumi (ink printing) are turn out blurred. These disadvantages are specific to the maniai-shi for groundwork which contains more soil, and the high quality maniai-shi and torinoko paper containing less soil, having fewer advantages, were used for various papers such as a colored paper, a paper strips to write waka or other characters on, hankiri paper for a letter, paper for Buddhist sutra writing and for han-fuda bills.

The blue doromaniai-shi of Najio was called 'hakushita-maniai' (size-fit paper placed under foil) and used as paper for foil making because it could emphasize the gold color without wrinkling when it was used as an underlay for gold foil. For gold foil paper, it contains Tokubo soil, while for paper for silver foil contains Jato soil. In addition, the blue doromaniai-shi had been used as maniai torinoko paper for fusuma because of its good concealing and age resisting qualities, and it spread widely because it was close to the Kamigata market.

The word 'maniai-shi' refers to a paper which is suitable for the width of half ken (which equals to 0.90 m) and it is usually used for fusuma-shoji. The width is about 0.94 m or 1 m, which is twice the width of standard Sugihara-gami and Mino-gami, and the height is about 0.36 m or 0.39 m. The standard conventional karakami was about 0.48 m wide and about 0.33 m high, and 12 karakami were required to cover fusuma-shoji. On the other hand, only five or six maniai-shi were enough to cover fusuma-shoji, and its was also called maniai karakami or maniai torinoko.

The Specialization From Kyo-ji

After Shoin-zukuri style prevailed during the Kamakura period, the 'kami-shi,' a specialist in handling fusuma paper, appeared and the work of hyogu-shi (craftsman who pasted cloth or paper on the frame) was divided, kami-shi was also called kyo-ji, taking over its name. It seems that the kyo-ji were in charge of woodblock printing. The kyo-ji originally referred to a person who transcribed scriptures and mounted them, and after karakami began to be pasted on shoji, he or she took charge of mounting fusuma as well. And it seems that along with the domestic production of 'karakami,' he or she widened the field of work to woodblock printing as well. Of course, the 'karakami shoji' at that time was used only in the residences of court nobles and noblemen of prestigious families, and the demand itself was too small to require specialists.

In the "Teikin-orai" (Epistolary for Home Instruction) completed from the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) to the Muromachi period, many names of merchants and workmen are described as 'people who should stay in the castle town' including masters of fusuma-shoji such as kami-shi, kyo-ji, paper making, craftsmen of lacquer ware and handiworks, and craftsmen of gold and silver handiworks, which shows that fusuma-shoji was widespread in the samurai class and they required specialized craftsmen.

The 'kami-shi' refers to a craftsman who prints patterns on newly made paper by using various techniques. In the "Odawarashu Shoryoyaku-cho" (a list of salaries for of people of various jobs, made under the orders of Ujiyasu HOJO) with Okugaki (postscript) of 1559, there are descriptions of salaries of craftsmen, such as; about 40 kan (absolute unit of currency) for Tobei HASEGAWA, a kami-shi, in contrast to 219 kan for Sozaemon SUDO, the head of craftsmen.
On a picture of 'kami-shi' in the "Shichijuichiban Shokunin Uta-awase" (Seventy-one workmen's waka competition) written in 1500, there is a waka written as; 'Although blue thin clouds were drawn on karakami, the moonlight is dazzlingly beautiful underneath. By a kami-shi.'


The surface of a wooden printing block with carved patterns is coated with mica or colored pigments, then paper is placed on the block and rubbed with one's palm to print 'karakami.'
Mica is a flake-shaped crystal of granite called 'kirara' in the past and is now called 'kira,' and powdered muscovite is used. It has a particular pearly sheen and has been used in yamato-e paintings, and mixes well with pigments.

An ingredient is made with whitewash, a white powdered pigment from a burned shell such as a clam, mixed with kusare-nori glue (an adhesive made from wheat flour) and pigments. For the whitewash, 'white lead' had been used as a white pigment until the Kamakura period. Whitewash makes the colors of the pigments stand out better and improves the ability of the ground paper to conceal. For this reason, it was also used as a first coat of paint. Generally, there were two methods; the former was to put the undercoating with ingredients containing the pigment and print the white patterns by mica (a negative method with the dark ground color and the pattern in white contrasted with the ground), and the latter was to create the undercoating with mica and print with the ingredients (a positive method with white ground color and colored patterns).

The Silk Sieve

Based on this, the patterns are printed with various pigments and gold and silver paints added, a tool called a silk sieve is used when the paints are moved to the printing block. A silk sieve is made with a circular wooden frame rolled up a thin board of cedar, a coarse-meshed silk cloth or lawn (a rough, hard and very thin cotton cloth) is spread on the frame, paint is applied using a brush and then the pigments are transferred by pressing the sieve against the printing block. Ground paper is placed against the printing block coated with pigments, and the back of paper is rubbed softly with the palm of the hand. It is also called 'swimming printing' because the gesture resembles the movement of the breaststroke. The reason why the paints are transferred through the silk sieve and rubbed with a palm for karakami, unlike the process for ordinary woodcuts that directly prints from the block, is that it aims to control the amount of pigments that are transferred and it produces a puffed up texture in the finished product. For woodblock printing, other techniques such as empty printing (printing without using paint), Rikyu paper printing, tsukikage printing (moonlight printing) and rosen (waxed-like letter paper) were used.

Empty Printing

Empty printing is accomplished by the following method; carve a pattern on a convex printing block and carve the negative image on a concave printing block, place a ground paper on the concave wood block, place the convex wood block over it and apply pressure, this produces a pattern that stands out, and this is the same technique used to emboss images on paper today. The coloring process on the convex side produces the feel of a material like relief.

Rikyu Paper Printing

Rikyu paper printing is done by coating with dosa (a liquid made by adding glue to water mixed with alum and the coating on the surface of silk and paper prevents the running of sumi or paint) on kizuki-gami (paper made only from the bark of trees) such as Nishinouchi-gami (Nishinouchi paper) and painting it after being dried. After pasting a weak rice glue on the printing block, it is placed on the paper, pressure is applied, and the printing block is then removed, a thin layer of the dye from the pattern of the printing block is peeled off and a negative-like refined pattern with fine shading appears.

Tsukikage Printing

Tsukikage printing was a method that used only thin sumi on kizuki-gami such as Hosokawa-gami (Hosokawa paper) or Nishinouchi-gami without using dosa, and it was characterized by the running of sumi and many were produced in Edo. Additionally, there is another method using model paper instead of a printing block. While the Kyo-karakami (Kyoto-type karakami) adopts a method of 'Okiage' (place up) which applies thick amounts of paint using a model paper (cutting out a model from a paper treated with astringent persimmon juice, made with two sheets of paper pasted together), the Edo-karakami (Edo-type karakami) uses a method of dyeing cotton with models to make prints (print-type dyeing with models and dyeing with colored glue).

The Rosen and Suminagashi

Rosen has a pattern which looks as if it is waxed, produced by putting a paper on a printing block curved a pattern and rubbing it over the paper using some hard material. In addition, there was another method called 'suminagashi,' to disperse floating sumi by dropping resin on the water surface and print it on a paper.

Momigami (crumpled paper)

Among the karakami techniques, there is a particular technique called 'momigami,' which is different from paper printed with wood blocks. Crumpling paper is a method to produce a feel of cloth and momigami was used as paper for mounting in the tea ceremony during medieval times.

The Kanya-gawa River and the Hata Clan

There is a river running from mountain ridges, for example; Mt. Takagamine, Mt. Washigamine and Mt. Shakadani northwest of Kyoto. It runs south between Kitanotenman-gu and Hirano-jinja Shrines, running west, it is joined by the Omuro-gawa River, and then goes south again and is joined by the Katsura-gawa River. This stream is called the Kanya-gawa River.

The reason it is called the Kanya-gawa River is that there was the kanyain (also called kamiya-in), a paper mill under the direct control of Zushoryo (the Bureau of Drawings and Books) of the government during the early stages of the Heian period, along this river.
Although there is no clear record showing the location of the kanyain, in the "Yoshufushi" (a history and geographic book on Kyoto written during the Edo period) there is a description of the Shukushi-mura village in the south of Kitano and shukushi (recycled paper) was produced along this river in the past. Therefore, it is called the Kanya-gawa River.'

According to "Nihon Shigyoshi, Kyoto-hen" (the chapter on Kyoto in the history of paper making in Japan), it is also clear that it was near the Kanya-gawa River in the vicinity of the Kitanotenman-gu Shrine. The kanyain, which was a paper mill under the direct control of government, was the center for the techniques of paper making during the Heian period to make a paper using the best techniques available at the time and provide technical instructions for making paper in the provinces.

In "Genji Monogatari" it was expressed as 'beautiful kanya paper,' and its colored paper was praised as 'the colors were gorgeous.'
In the Nara period before the kanyain was founded, Zushoryo was also in charge of making paper.

In the "Ryonoshuge" (a book of annotation for Yoro-ritsuryo, which was written by KOREMUNE no Naomoto), it's recorded that there were 50 kamiko (hereditary artisans for paper making under government management) in the Yamashiro Province (present day Kyoto Prefecture). Yamashiro Province was designated because it was the foothold where the Hata clan, regarded as the maximal group of technical experts, wielded their influence.

When they first came to Japan, the Hata clan was given land near Gose City, Nara Prefecture from the sovereignty of Yamato. Later, mainstream artisans moved to the Yamashiro Province, and cultivated and reclaimed the Sagano area with techniques of civil engineering and agriculture, forming an group of craftsmen including weavers, woodworkers and metal workers.

Since there were weavers, it was natural that there were also craftsmen who spun thread out of fibers of hemp or kozo, which were materials used to make clothing in those days. Yarn-making technique is similar to paper making as both use the bast of hemp or kozo, and the process of treating materials is almost the same as that of paper making with only a fine line between making thread from the fibers and making paper from the fibers. It is possible that they already had a primitive technique of paper making.

Based on such technical background, the government of Heijo-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Nara) placed kamiko (the paper making mill entrusted by the government) in Yamashiro Province. The kurabe was in charge of procuring goods for Imperial Court and kanga (an office) in the Asuka period, HATA no Otsuchi was appointed to Okura no jo (an officer in charge of the large storehouse), and HATA no Kawakatsu who was kurodo (an officer serving as a secretary of an emperor) of Prince Shotoku built the Hachinooka-dera Temple (later, the Koryu-ji Temple) in Uzumasa, Kyoto.

HATA no Imikichogen was assumed the position of Zusho no kami (Director of the Bureau of Drawings and Books) in 739. In the Heian period, HATA no Kimi no Muronari (秦公室成) was appointed to the Zoshi-chojo (the officer in charge of paper making) of the Zushoryo in 811, taking over the position of HATA no Be no Otsutari (秦部乙足). The Hata clan was deeply related with important posts on paper making from ancient times. Based on the craftsmen like the Hata clan, domestic production of paper was promoted and Yamashiro Province taking pride in advanced techniques for paper making, played the role as the technical center of Japanese paper, and accordingly, with the increase of paper demand the supply of materials such as hemp and kozo came to depend on the provinces.

With the increasing demand of paper, ironically the system of centralized administration which was established under the ritsuryo legal codes loosened and the supply of paper materials became scarce. With technical instruction from kanyain, paper making became popular in various places and kanyain began to experience the lack of materials together with the weakening of the administration's controlling power. Through these processes, kanyain began to gather wastepaper to make recycled paper.

Later, the name kanya-shi became a byword of shukushi, and later shukushi was called Minato-gami (Minato paper) and was made in Sakai and paper called Asakusa-gami (Asakusa paper) was made in Edo, shukushi made in Kyoto was called Nishinotoin-gami (Nishi no toin paper).

The Development of the Technique for Processed Paper

In contrast to the decline of paper making because of the difficulty of procuring raw materials caused by the weakening of the administration, Kyoto occupied an important position as the center for paper processing techniques by developing advanced technical skills for processing paper. There was enthusiasm about processing techniques such as inlaying with gold and silver foil and creating patterns with paints and printing blocks, and providing elegant and beautiful ryoshi for the Heian dynasty. Sophisticated processing techniques in Kyoto supported an elegant culture during the Heian dynasty. From the plentiful senses of color, noble purple and attractive deep reds were preferred for dyed paper. It enables the expression of such delicate neutral colors as 'futa-ai' (bluish purple obtained by dyeing with both deep red and indigo blue) and 'kobai' (color of reddish pink plum blossoms) which required complicated mixed dyeing, as well as kuchiba-iro (reddish yellow, literally, color of a dead and fallen leaf), moegi-iro (yellowish green, literally, color of a sprouting long green onion), miru-iro(blackish yellowish green, literally, color of miru, a kind of green algae) and asagi-iro(pale blue, literally, color of a thin blade of a long green onion). The hishi (also known as ganpishi) is the most suitable to bring out a flowing line of kana letters. The craftsmen in Kyoto devoted themselves to processing ganpishi such as the techniques of paper splicing including suminagashi, uchigumo (paper with a flying cloud), tobikumo (a flying cloud-like pattern appearing on indigo-blue and purple fiber-included paper), kiri-tsugi (cutting and splicing), yaburi-tsugi (cutting two kinds of paper with their ends in a swung dash form and splicing them) and kasane-tsugi (cutting five gradated kinds of paper with their ends in a swung dash form and splicing them), and 'karakami' with patterns that imitated Chinese mon-toshi (colored karakami with patterns), and completed sophisticated processing techniques particular to Japanese paper. Not only ryoshi for the royalty and nobility but also various papers for practical use were processed in Kyoto. In the "Shokoku yorozukaimono choho-ki" (a guide book for shopping in various provinces) published in 1692, there are descriptions of ceremonial paper strings, a colored strip of paper, a cover, shicho (a paper-made mosquito net) and karakami as well as a basal paper for fans and a paper treated with astringent persimmon juice as noted products. Besides, there was the Mannen kanya (Mannen paper mill) and the Karuta kanya (Karuta paper mill) in Kyoto, which was also the home of hankiri-gami (a paper for letters, whose size was a half that of Sugihara paper) production.

The mannen-gami (eternal paper) is a memo paper coated with a transparent Japanese lacquer and written on with a writing brush, and as it's name indicates from its characters, a letter written in sumi comes off when it is wiped with a damp cloth and it can be used for many years. According to the book, the process of manufacture is as follows; dye both sides of a thick paper (Senka-shi or Senka paper) made of kozo with the juice of gardenia, apply astringent persimmon juice once and dry, give a final coat of transparent lacquer for a flecked effect, dry in a drying room for coated lacquer ware and use in a folded form. Hankiri-gami is a letter paper and rolled letter paper is made by splicing sheets of this paper together. This letter paper was further processed by dyeing in Kyoto colors and by printing patterns. The processing of hankiri-gami was popular near the Nishinotoin Matsubara-dori Street. The colored paper and strip of paper needed a higher process than hankiri-gami, and the colored strip paper was processed along Bukkoji-dori Street where there were many long-established stores as purveyors to the Imperial Court.

The processing of karakami began in the Heian period as a paper for eiso and later became the major fusuma paper, and in the art village of Koetsu HONAMI in Saga, Soji KANYA made a beautiful paper for Saga-bon (books published by Koetsu HONAMI, Soan SUMINOKURA and others in Saga, Kyoto). The 'karakami' for fusuma was produced near Higashinotoin-dori Street. As mentioned above, Nakagyo and Shimogyo Wards were the center of processing paper in Kyoto.

Torinoko Karakami

For the basal paper of karakami the dan-shi (Japanese paper of high quality made from mulberry trees) (a kind of kozo paper) and torinoko paper (a kind of ganpishi) were originally used, and for 'Kyo karakami' torinoko paper and hoshogami were used. Usu-yo of ganpishi, called hishi, was especially used by noblewomen during the Heian period preferably and the word 'usu-yo' became a popular name. This ganpishi came to be called torinoko during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts.
In section 1328 of "Zatsuji-ki" (a record of miscellaneous matters) written by Hironori AJIRO, there is the word 'torinoko colored paper,' in the section of year 1356 of "Gukan-ki" (the diary of Michitsugu KONOE in Chinese characters) there is the word 'torinoko paper for writing,' and in section of year 1431 in "Kamon-nikki" (a diary written by Gosukoin) there is the word 'torinoko paper for writing.'
As the age of feminine culture of the nobility during the Heian period changed to the age of the masculine society of the samurai class in the medieval times, more atsu-yo of ganpishi came to be used, called torinoko paper as opposed to usu-yo. In the recent times, all ganpishi were called torinoko paper.

In "Nobutane-kyo-ki" (the diary of Nobutane NAKANOMIKADO there is the word of 'Echizen-dain' (越前打陰) (torinoko paper with a pattern of clouds on both sides, also called daunshi) in section of year 1488 and the word 'Echizen torinoko' in section of year 1502. The word 'Echizen torinoko' is often seen in the other historical documents, and torinoko paper made in Echizen Province was popular as a good quality paper during the mid-Muromachi period. Karakami' refers to torinoko paper on which patterns are printed by woodblock. Efforts to put patterns on paper began in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties in China and developed further during the age of the Sui and the Tang. In Japan, since the Nara period, efforts to make 'karakami' imitating the 'mon-toshi' (pattern printed Chinese paper) printed by woodblock in China began and it was called 'karakami' as opposed to 'toshi' (imported Chinese paper).
As the craftsmen of paper processing in Kyoto introduced various devices and methods for mass-production, it spread as 'karakami' for 'fusuma.'
In addition, accumulation of techniques for woodblock printing made it popular as a Japanese paper with colored figures among common people during the Edo period.

The Art Village in Takagamine

The production of 'karakami' began in Kyoto, the capital, and Kyoto was the birthplace and center for making paper with sophisticated techniques. In the art village in Takagamine of Koetsu HONAMI in early recent times, karakami as ryoshi, like 'Saga-bon' was produced and the techniques of Kyo-karakami grew more sophisticated, and the kami-shi in Kyoto succeeded its tradition. Koetsu HONAMI (1558-1637) was the son of Soshun TAGA and he became the adopted child of Koshin HONAMI whose profession was polishing swords. Not only did he showed his creative abilities in pictures, gold and silver lacquer work, and ceramic art, but he was also one of the three best calligraphers in the Kanei era. In 1615, during his later years, he was given spacious premises at Takagamine in the northern suburb of Kyoto by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and ran an art village where various craftsmen got together that was unified by his own spirit of art. The important theme of art of Koetsu HONAMI was reviving the cultures of the dynasty age, one of which was the revival of paper for eiso and the production of 'karakami' as ryoshi for Saga-bon as well as for calligraphy. The Saga-bon was also called Kadokura-bon (a Kadokura book) or Koetsu-bon (a Koetsu book), and began to be published by Soan SUMINOKURA, a wealthy person in Saga who was said to be one of the three richest men in Kyoto, mainly in the area of Japanese literature printed in the handwriting style of Koetsu HONAMI. "Ise Monogatari" (The Tales of Ise) of Saga-bon published in 1608 contained the first illustration that was engraved on a plate. Influenced by Saga-bon, other books such as kana-zoshi (story book written in kana during the early Edo period (primarily for the enlightenment and entertainment of women and children)), joruri-bon (books of scripts of joruri - the narrative which accompanies a Bunraku puppet show) and hyoban-ki (books of public estimation on various matters) adopted engraved plate illustrations. The prevalence of kana-zoshi led to the literary works of Saikaku IHARA and the printed books with illustration and letters became mass-produced to meet demand.

The characteristics of Saga-bon were luxury and grace, and its designs of binding, ryoshi and illustration were excellent. For ryoshi, Sotatsu TAWARAYA drew designs in the cultural tradition of the dynasty age and added new decorative factors. Sotatsu TAWARAYA was a painter who flourished from 1596 to 1643, and his own expression and style of painting with elaborate skills in the art village of Koetsu were later recognized by the Imperial Court, and consequently, he, together with the painters of a painting circle of the first rank such as the Kano school, received a contract for painting work and drew existing fusuma paintings and paintings for folding screens, and was appointed to 'hokyo' (a title for craftsmen including painters and persons of profession such as physicians) exceptionally as a painter who grew up among the townspeople. Sotatsu TAWARAYA made a strong impact on the later Korin OGATA and following other painters of Rinpa School. It was Soji KAMISHI who was in charge engraving designs for this Sotatsu TAWARAYA and printing to make paper for karakami. Soji KAMISHI was a craftsman who joined the activity in the art village of Koetsu, and the letters of 'kamishi' did not mean an artisan who made paper but meant kami-shi (a master of karakami). Harmonized with the idea of Koetsu, the design of Sotatsu and the processing technique of Soji, produced a beautiful ryoshi of karakami. The 'karakami' produced in the art village was mainly ryoshi for publishing Saga-bon and ryoshi for eiso, and its technique was transmitted to a part of Kyo kami-shi in recent times and laid the foundation for Kyo karakami. Among the patterns of kyo karakami, there were designs such as Koetsu-giri (Koetsu paulownia) and those of the school of Sotatsu-Korin which originated from Korin-matsu (Korin pine), Korin-giku (Korin chrysanthemum) and Korin-onami (Korin billow).


In the "Yoshufu-shi" (a geographical description of Yamashiro Province) published in 1648, there is a description on kami-shi in Kyoto as 'This is now made in a number of places. However, the one made by the Iwasa clan of Nijo-minami, Higashinotoin is best for papering fusuma sliding doors, and is exclusively used,' and in the "Shinsen Kamikagami" (Newly edited Kamikagami) there is a description as 'a number of karakami craftsmen living in Higashinotoin and Hirano town, Kyoto.'

In the "Edo-soganoko" (A complete book for noted places in Edo) published in 1689, there are 13 names of kami-shi. In the "Shonin kaimono annai" (A guidebook for merchants' shopping) published in 1824, there are 8 names of karakami shops. In the "Senda-ke bunsho" (Documents of the Senda family, who succeeded the linage of 'Choemon KARAKAMIYA or Karacho,' the existing kyo kami-shi), there is a description of 13 kami-shi in 1839. Major karakami patterns were a geometrical pattern (geometric design) such as arabesque of 'karakami' and a tortoiseshell pattern in an early stage, and the technical decorative pattern of paintings such as the Korin School from recent times. The printing blocks of many trade of karakami paper makers were burned at the time of Conspiracy of Hamaguri-gomon Gate in 1864. At the time of the Conspiracy of Hamaguri-gomon Gate, Choemon KARAKAMIYA protected printing blocks against the fires of war, by filling a washtub with water and putting them in a sealed up earthen storehouse. Only five karakami paper makers including Choemon KARAKAMIYA remained during the Meiji period and later, and their printing blocks escaped the fires. However, most of them gave up their business being overpowered by the mass production system for karakami in Tokyo, and as a result, it is only Choemon KARAKAMIYA, that is, Chojiro SENDA of 'Karacho' who has continuously maintained the tradition of Kyo karakami even now.

Karacho has about 600 printing blocks. These include a plate for twelve units which means that the pasting of twelve homogeneous units forms a sheet of fusuma as well as a plate for ten units and a plate for five units. Most of the plates for twelve units were made during the Edo period, which was about 0.29 m high and about 0.47 m wide. On the oldest printing block, that was re-carved after being destroyed in the great fire in 1788, there is a description of 'June, 1792. Choemon KARAKAMIYA, carved by Heihachi' written in sumi. A plate for ten units was made in the Meiji and Taisho periods, which was about 0.35 m high and about 0.47 m wide. A plate for five units was made in the Taisho and Showa periods, which was about 0.93 m wide, making the width of a plate for ten units twice to fit the size of maniai-shi.

Most of the wooden materials for these printing blocks are a magnolia hypoleuca, although some of them are of cherry tree and a katsura tree wood. Splendid, colorful Kyo karakami have been printed from these many printing blocks and a karakami traditional industrial art in Japan has been produced.

An ancestor of the Senda family, a samurai who guarded the north side of the Imperial Court of retired emperors from the Settsu Province and first Choemon, became a karakami maker in his later years. Since Choemon I died on November in 1687, 'Karacho' already has a tradition of longer than 300 years. Incidentally, Ryukichi (竪吉), the former head of the Senda family, is the eleventh. As to Karacho, please refer to the Website.

The Techniques of Kyo Karakami

A kami-shi in Edo is also called 'jikarakami-shi' (a local master of karakami) (地唐紙師) regarding Kyoto as his home. The Edo karakami is also called 'kyoho-sengata' (one thousand types in the Kyoho era), named because it was mass-produced with various patterns during the Kyoho era (1716-36).

Facing the large consumer area of Edo, there was a huge demand for Edo karakami, and Hosokawa paper produced in the Hiki-gun and Chichibu, Musashi Province near Edo was used as a material paper for karakami. Hosokawa paper was an unprocessed paper purely made from paper mulberry trees and called 'namakara' (生唐).

As opposed to this, kyo karakami had printed sophisticated patterns based upon traditional techniques and dynasty cultures by using high quality processed material papers such as Echizen hoshogami (heavy Japanese paper of the best quality in Echizen province) and torinoko paper, and had kept the tradition of kyo karakami alive with pride.

The spirit of Kyo kami-shi is shown in the written claim for examination by the 8th Choemon KARAKAMIYA for the 4th domestic industrial exposition in 1895 as follows.
The products in Tokyo and Osaka are...crudely made, and, moreover, the competition among members in the same trade tends to result in increasing overproduction.'
In contrast, for products in Kyoto, special materials including paper of high quality are selected...the properties of water in Kyoto is suitable for white ground mica karakami and similar kinds of paper, which results in the production of incomparable purely white and excellent ones.'
Therefore, karakami for pasting on the walls in rooms of high quality is exclusively ordered from Kyoto, although such a paper is not suitable for pasting on the walls in rooms of low quality.'
This is an honor for us craftsmen in Kyoto.'

It can be said that it showed the spirit of kami-shi as traditional craftsmen in Kyoto who regarded tradition highly as opposed to the karakami makers in Tokyo and Osaka who tended to make crude kami-shi because of the necessity of mass production of current times. The summary of the technique of kyo karakami is as follows; apply dosa on a ground paper and dye it with pigment or colorant. Then, dissolve an ingredient or mica, add hime-nori (paste made by boiling rice until it get soft), and coat a pigment mixed with a glue plant, glue and synthetic resin appropriately, all over a printing block using a screen. Next, place a sheet of paper on the printing block and print the pattern by rubbing with one's palm. Repeat two or three times again with the pigment using a sieve and print by rubbing with one's palm, and complete by printing massively and in a embossed manner.

Using soft magnolia hypoleuca for the printing block, a sieve instead of brush to transfer the pigment, and one's palm instead of baren (a tool to transfer ink or pigments from a printing plate to paper by rubbing the back of the paper), the kyo karakami paper with characteristic warmth is made. In addition, there is another method using model paper rather than the carved pattern pressing with a printing block.

In that method, hard- and well-tempered mica powder fills the patterns of this model paper using a bamboo spatula. In addition to that, there were other techniques such as the lacquer-used pattern-stamping technique, the foil-stamping of gold or silver foil and the technique of fine powder-shaking to draw patterns by a brush containing glue and shake gold and silver powders. Moreover, there is the technique of momigami peculiar to Kyoto.

The momigami is a method to create various crumpling patterns by the movement of skilled fingers as in the following process; apply the two different pigments on the upper and the lower layers and crumple them up, and as a result, the pigment on the upper layer flows off and fine lines appear in the pigment on the lower layer to producing characteristic patterns. There are fifteen ways of crumpling such as; small crumpling, large crumpling, small chrysanthemum crumpling, lozenge-chrysanthemum crumpling and mountain-river crumpling. There was en elaborate karakami made in the technique to combine this crumpling with various carved pattern pressing. The tradition of kyo karakami has maintained the warmth of handwork in traditional arts alive, going to any expense and not being concerned with mass-production.

The Patterns of Kyo Karakami

The fusuma-shoji does not function to disperse light which is an important purpose for akari-shoji, but is only for the purpose of partitioning a room.

However, different from the walls which make up the structure, it plays an important part in the role, characteristics and Shitsurai of the room.

The purpose to be accomplished and the atmosphere of the room is greatly influenced by the patterns drawn on fusuma-shoji. The role of fusuma-shoji between a shoin as a formal drawing room and a living room for a family to relax in is different. In addition, the patterns of fusuma-shoji were different according to social position and taste. The patterns of fusuma are roughly classified into the taste of the nobility, the taste of persons participating in tea ceremony, taste of persons related to temples and shrines, the taste of the samurai class and the taste of merchant families.

Patterns That Suit the Taste of Nobility

It is natural that many of them are yusoku-monyo (patterns indicating the possession of the knowledge for the matters related to the Imperial Court and the nobility such as ceremonies, events, and government posts), because the nobility is particular about formalities.

The yusoku-monyo includes many geometrical patterns, in which the lozenges such as pine lozenge, sword lozenge and lozenge-shaped plum blossoms are predominant, and they are also used for the patterns of the samurai class and merchants' families.

The pattern of arabesque has been used from ancient times influenced by China, and there are hosoge-karakusa (arabesque with imaginary five-petal flowers) and hoomaru-karakusa (arabesque with round designed phoenixes) which are based on imaginary animals and plants. In addition, there are botan-karakusa (arabesque with peony flowers and leaves), shishimaru-karakusa (arabesque with round designed lions) and kiku-karakusa (arabesque with chrysanthemum flowers). Arabesque patterns such as matsu-karakusa (arabesque with pine needles), kiri-karakusa (arabesque with paulownia leaves) and sakuraso-karakusa (arabesque with primrose flowers) originates from yusoku-monyo and are now popular and widely accepted as Japanese style patterns.

The yusoku-monyo of kyo karakami includes the Todai-ji Temple pattern and kacho-tatsuwaku-mon (a pattern of symmetrical mountain-shaped curves with flowers and birds). The tatsuwaku-mon, which is also called 'tachiwaki' and used often for dresses for a court noble, is a design in which a pair of symmetrical mountain-shaped curves line vertically and the distance between the pair of the curves is wide in the center and narrow at both ends. It is classified into kumo-tatsuwaku (mountain-shaped curves with clouds, botan-tatsuwaku (shaped-shaped curves with peony flowers and leaves), fuji-tatsuwaku (shaped-shaped curves with wisteria flowers and leaves), sakura-tachibana-tatsuwaku (shaped-shaped curves with cherry and tachibana blossoms) and others, depending on the patterns drawn in the center. The sakura-tachibana-tatsuwaku was named after a tachibana tree at the right side and a cherry tree at the left side of the main palace of the Heian Imperial Court.

A pattern of waves in blue ocean which originates from a pattern in the dress of 'seigaiha,' which had been transmitted to the court music of Japan, is especially famous. The unkaku-mon (a pattern of clouds and cranes) with clouds and birds of good omens has been seen on the fusuma of the Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto.

In addition to these, some round patterns such as hoo no maru (a round designed phoenix), hagi no maru (a round designed bush clover) and ume no maru (a round designed plum blossom) were often used for the samurai class.

Patterns That Suit the Taste of Persons Participating in Tea Ceremony

Affected by the culture of the Zen sect of Buddhism which emphasized originality, the head of a school of tea ceremony each had a favorite pattern carved on printing blocks and had the original karakami pasted in the tea room. In the zangetsu-tei (a drawing room in the shoin style owned by the Omote-Senke family) the patterns of Senke-ogiri (a large paulownia pattern for the Senke family) and uroko-zuru (cranes in scales) are used. The paulownia patterns are the largest in number among karakami patterns and were exclusively used by the Imperial Family during the Heian period, but later they were donated as an imperial gift to court nobles and samurai families and changed diversely.

The hana-ogiri (a large paulownia with flowers) favored by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, the Taiko (father of the Imperial advisor), is a design in which a flower stalk freely bends in both directions and the shapes of leaves are drawn with contours. Senke-ogiri is a design in which a flower stalk is straight and the shapes of leaves are drawn without contours. This is due to the difference in the method to heap up whitewash by using model paper, while the hana-ogiri of Taiko Hideyoshi used a printing block. In addition, the paulownia patterns include various designs such as kawari-giri (a variational paulownia), Koetsu-giri (Koetsu's paulownia), Korin-giri (Korin's paulownia, also known as komori-giri (a bat-like paulownia)), usagi-giri (a rabbit-like paulownia), Hotei-giri (a Hotei-like paulownia) and otafuku-giri (an otafuku-like paulownia).

The pine needle design is a pattern suiting the taste of persons participating in tea ceremony, that originates from a convention established by the head of a school of the tea ceremony who covered his tea room garden with pine needles from the first use of the fireplace in the middle of November to around March. In the fusin-an (a tea room in the residence of the head of the Omotesenke (the house of Omotesen)), senke-matsuba (a pine needle pattern for exclusive use of the Senke family; which also known as kobore-matsuba) is favored, while the Urasenke (the house of Urasen) favors shiki-matsuba (covering pine needles). In addition to these, the taste of Omotesenke includes karamatsu (larch needles), teiji-kei (T-shape), kazaguruma-okiage (placed pinwheels) and fukiage-giku (blown-up chrysanthemums). For the taste of Urasenke, such designs as kobana-shippo (a pattern consisting of the circle divided into quarters by arcs with small flowers), takara-shippo (a pattern consisting of circle divided into quarters by arcs with treasures), hoso-uzu (fine whirls) and arabesque with pine needles were innovated. The Mushanokoji Senke school especially favors kichijo-so (a plant native to Japan, a member of the lily family; scientific name, Reineckea carnea), and the 'tsubo-tsubo' (a pattern of pots) in which pot-shaped earthenware patterns are scattered, are used by the three Senke families in common. In addition, the school of Enshu KOBORI uses En-shu-watagai (the Totoumi province style pattern of two or more overlapping circles). The patterns favored by the head of a school of tea ceremony are mostly plant patterns and the geometrical patterns such as well-ordered yusoku-monyo are not seen. The spirit of the tea ceremony is in the world of 'wabicha' (literally, poverty tea style; known as the tea ceremony) which places value on spiritual elevation that stands aloof from the everyday world so, it is unsuitable for the well-ordered yusoku-monyo.

Patterns That Suit the Taste of Persons Related to Temples and Shrines

Cloud patterns are predominant among the patterns used in temples such as in a hall. Those include daidai-un (quite a large clouds) (大大雲), kage-kumo (shadows of clouds) (影雲), oni-gumo (ogre-like clouds) (鬼雲) and ogashira-gumo (clouds like tassels at the top of flag poles) (大頭雲), and there are also unkaku-mon (a pattern consisting of clouds and cranes) and ryun-mon (a pattern consisting of dragons and clouds) with animals arranged on them. Kiri-gumo (paulownia and clouds) (桐雲) is popular among the temples in Kyoto. There are such paulownia patterns as kodaiji-giri (Kodai-ji paulownia) of the Kodai-ji Temple, saga-giri (Saga paulownia) in the Seiryo-ji Temple and gaku-giri (framed paulownia) in the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple. In addition, the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple especially favors sagari-fuji (hanging wisteria flowers) and the Higashi Hongan-ji Temple uses yatsu-fuji (eight bunches of wisteria flowers). The pattern of daki-botan (a peony flower held in two leaf stalks) of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple is used as its symbol, and there are daki-botan tatsuwaku (symmetrical mountain-shaped curves with peony flowers each of which are held in two leaf stalks) and roku shinozasa (six bamboo leaves). The Chionin Temple has favored daki-myoga (facing two Japanese ginger shoots) and mitsubishi-aoi (three lozenge mallows) with maru-tatsuwaku (symmetrical mountain-shaped curves with circles). Although the mitsubishi-aoi was exclusively used by the Tokugawa clan, the Chionin Temple was allowed to use it because it was a family temple of the real mother of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. The mallow patterns commonly use futaba-aoi (a two-leaf mallow), and one of the famous futaba-aoi is that of the Kamo-jinja Shrine used as a crest for a shrine (a shrine crest). The futaba-aoi of the Kamo-jinja Shrine is very realistic and has an antique formality.

Patterns That Suit the Tastes of the Samurai class and Merchants' families

Many patterns for the samurai class are those with a well-ordered sense of formality in the genealogy of yusoku-monyo such as kumo-tatsuwaku (mountain-shaped curves with clouds), takarazukushi-ichimatsu (checkers with various treasures), kogara-fushicho (small patterns of butterflies lying flat) and kiku-kikko (tortoiseshell patterns with chrysanthemums). Besides, other patterns such as karajishi (an artistic portrait of a lion), wakamatsu no maru (roundly designed young pine branches), kumo ni hoomaru (clouds with roundly designed phoenixes) and kiri-gumo belong to the genealogy of the designs used by court nobles and temples. As for the taste of merchant families, there are highly decorative patterns of the Rinpa School such as Korin-komatsu (Korin small pines), kagehinata-giku (shadows of chrysanthemums in the sum) and shidarezakura (weeping cherry blossoms on sprays) were favored as well as such modest patterns as mamegiri (small paulownia) and koume (small plum blossoms). The patterns of the Rinpa School became diversified as sophisticated karakami patterns by kami-shi in Kyoto, strongly influenced by the art village of Saga. The genealogy of the patterns of the Rinpa School includes edamomiji (sprays of maple leaves), maple leaves and streams, tatsuta-gawa (the Tatsuta-gawa River), Koetsu-giri (Koetsu paulownia), Koetsu-cho (Koetsu butterflies), araiso (a rough shoreline), Korin-onami (Korin billow), Korin-giku (Korin chrysanthemum) and Korin-komatsu (Korin small pine branch). A geometrical pattern, consisting of a straight line, a curve, a curl, a circle and others, express a variety of simple to complicated patterns and has been often used for kyo karakami. Patterns such as a lozenge, a tortoiseshell, a hemp leaf, checkers, a round pattern, a whirlpool pattern and watagai are often used. In addition, a family crest was often drawn on fusuma-shoji in temples and shrines and houses of a prestigious families.


While kyo karakami used high quality paper such as Echizen hoshogami and torinoko paper, the 'Edo karakami' used Nishinouchi-gami, Hosokawa-gami, uda-gami (uda paper) and so on. Nishinouchi-gami is a yellowish brown thick paper made of pure kozo in the Nishinouchi, Naka-gun, Hitachi Province in the upper reaches of the Kuji-gawa River, it is sturdy and can be preserved for a long period. Under the protection of the Mito clan, it was highly rated as a special product of Hitachi Province during the Edo period, and in the "nihon sangai meibutsu zue" (a guidebook for special products, consisting of pictures and explanations for them) the Nishinouchi-gami was regarded as the best paper during the Edo period as well as Echizen hosho, Mino naoshi-gami (high quality paper made in Mino Province) and Iwakuni hanshi (paper made in Iwakuni, Suo Province).

Hosokawa-gami originates from the Hosokawa hosho (heavy Japanese paper of the best quality in Hosokawa village, Kii province) at the foot of Mt. Koya and was actively made in the Chichibu and Hiki-gun in the Musashino in Edo period. Among Hosokawa-gami, the type made in Ogawa town, Hiki-gun is especially famous and flourished and earned the word of 'pikkari sen-ryo' (a sunny millionaire), which means that 'if the weather is good, you can make a large profit in a day,' and was used as a material paper to process an account book or a fusuma paper for townspeople. Its technique has been transmitted by the association for the preservation of techniques for making Hosokawa-gami until now and the technique of making Hosokawa-gami was designated as an important intangible cultural property in 1978. Characteristically Hosokawa-gami is made only from mulberry paper trees (no other materials are mixed) the same as Nishinouchi-gami and was called kito (a shortened form of kizuki-karakami (karakami made only from the bark of trees)) (生唐). Uda-gami is a thick paper made of kozo in Yoshino, Yamato Province originally called kuzu-gami (Kuzu paper), and a merchant of paper of the Uda-gun district began to sell the paper made in the Kuzu-go area, Yoshino-gun district at the market in Osaka and a wholesale store specialized in Yoshino paper sold it all over Japan, and consequently, the name of Uda-gami became widespread.

It is famous for its extreme thinness as 'Yoshino paper' and in the "Seventy-one workmen's competitions of waka" there is a waka that says 'myself to be forgotten, why? We never exchange marriage vows as thin as Nara paper' and the thinness of Nara-gami, that is, nobe-gami (a high quality tissue) of Yoshino, was called 'yawayawa' (very soft one) elegant and loved by noble women. Also, making use of its properties, it was used as 'an oil filter' and 'a lacquer filter' and was famous all over Japan. Uda-gami originates from the Sugihara-gami (Sugihara paper) (a moderately thin kozo paper which was distributed mostly in the samurai society in medieval times and imitated the Sugihara-gami of the originator in the Harima Province), and was distributed greatly in Edo and used for Edo karakami.

Dyeing Cotton with Models to Make Prints

During the Edo period, the population was over one million and had a heavy demand for paper, which increased rapidly due to the prevalence of karakami and successive big fires, and consequently, a paper making area in the Kanto region played an important role to provide paper for daily use to the residents of Edo.

During the Meiji period and later, Tokyo led the industry of fusuma paper. For the pattern printing of Edo karakami, a method of dyeing cotton with models was often adopted as well as woodblock printing. While woodblock printing, in which paint is applied on printing blocks through a silk sieve, has a soft taste, printing (print-type dyeing) with dyes with models gives a somewhat cold impression from it's hard, sharp, and clear patterns, but because it enables combining patterns together, many makers adopted a casing type of multicolored printing in which usually three or four model papers were used. In Edo, printing blocks were often destroyed by big fires, so printing with model papers developed from the necessity to urgently making karakami. One of the characteristics of Edo karakami design can be said that the chic Edo-komon (fine patterns utilized in Edo) which is suitable for printing, is often used.


It seems that in drawings for a construction plan during the Edo period there was a distinction between fusuma-shoji and karakami-shoji. Fusuma-shoji referred to shoji on which torinoko paper was pasted for finishing the surface, patterns were drawn by richly colored mineral paints on an applied gold foil over it or the pictures were drawn in colors or with Sumi directly on the surface of the torinoko paper.

The karakami-shoji referred to shoji on which plane colored paper or 'karakami' printed patterns with woodblocks were pasted as the finish form. Karakami was made in the following process; sealed up by pasting the mixture of whitewash (a white pigment made of white lead and a powder made by baking shells was used after the Muromachi period) and glue, and mica powder was printed on it by using printing block of patterns such as arabesque and tortoiseshells. The domestically-produced karakami in the early days was made with hishi (also known as ganpishi) printed 'ka-mon' (flower patterns) and was written as 'karakami' (からかみ or から紙).
In the "Shinsen Kamikagami" (Newly edited Kamikagami) fusuma paper was written as 'karakami' and there is a description that 'karakami paper was mostly called toshi. However, since this is confused with Mobenshi (Chinese paper named after Moshin - 毛晋), it came to be called karakami.'
This is mentioned above. In the latter part of the Edo period, fusuma paper pasted on karakami-shoji was called watoshi, improved by introducing various ideas and was mass-produced. The demand for karakami was greatest in Edo, and watoshi was produced actively there. Watoshi was made of materials consisting 70% of mitsumata and 30% of kozo during the latter part of the Edo period and was characterized by a large sheet. According to the 'newly agreed matters by the paper maker trade that domestically produced Chinese paper' in 1807, its standard size was about 0.6 m wide and about 1.23 m long. Around this time, a large sheet called ganseki-toshi (rock-tapped look karakami), which was so-called sanroku-ban with about 0.9 m wide and about 1.8 m long, started to be made. Since it had wrinkle patterns appearing to be tapped by stones, it was called ganseki-toshi. It was made in a so-called 'pouring style' as follows; pour a fluid containing paper material into a reed for paper making, disperse it evenly with hands, and dry the wet paper on a screen under the sun. Dried on the screen like this, slits of the screen make wrinkle patterns, which can add a particular taste to karakami. Generally, after draining water out by filtration, the paper on the screen is turned upside down on the paper bed, only the screen is gently removed by peeling, and a freshly made wet paper sheet is laid on the paper bed one by one.


Taihei-shi is a paper that further improved the wrinkle patterns of ganseki-toshi by introducing new ideas and make them more remarkable. When pouring materials during paper making, the fibers are arranged in such a way that the sheet goes beyond the four corners of the screen, and the wrinkle patterns are made bigger through the process that the water-drained wet paper is repeatedly stretched from both sides and pushed in a back and forth direction to squeeze it, and is dried. After it has dried, it shows clearer embossed patterns than the wrinkle patterns of ganseki-toshi.

In the "the origin and the history of rakusui-shi production," there is a description; 'When this was first made in 1843, it did not have a name yet. When shown to the Shogun Ienari, he ordered that the name be taihei-shi (peace paper) because it was made in the period of peace.'
This taihei-shi was used for fusuma-shoji not only with wrinkle patterns, but also with dyes and watermarks.
The process of manufacture is mentioned in "The explanations for the exhibits of the domestic industrial exposition 1877" as 'pouring the materials of paper into a frame for paper making (a reed for paper making), draw patterns such as dragon, bird and plants, take the frame out and, when water has dropped to some extent, shake the screen for six or seven times to make the wrinkle patterns.'


As opposed to the taihei-shi characterized by wrinkle patterns, so-called sanroku-ban paper applied patterns by putting seaweed during the arrangement of the material fibers, which is as large as one sheet of fusuma-shoji, is called rakusui-shi. It was Bunpei TAMURA, the second head of the Tamagawa-do Store of the Tamura family, who made taihei-shi for the first time, and rakusui-shi was also subsequently made by the Tamura family for the first time.
According to the "the origin and the history of rakusui-shi production" written by Kozo TAMURA, the fifth head of the Tamagawa-do Store, 'While domestic Chinese paper production requires a large amount of materials and labor, Chinese paper made in China is cheaper. In addition, the usage of Western paper is increasing more and more, which can interfere with continuing this domestic Chinese paper production over a long period. Thus, this "rakusui-shi" paper was invented as a result of tremendous trials of designs and ideas during the first year of the Meiji period (1868). Now, "Tamagawa" is only valid as a store name, and a paper mill has been operated in Sugamo village, named after a waterfowl, which is located in the north end of Tokyo where birds sing. We have produced this paper every day as our principal occupation. This paper, however, was not completely invented by myself. The original idea was hit upon by the previous head (Sakichi TAMURA) and I completed it. Because his pseudonym was "Rakusui," I named this paper as "rakusui-shi" after him.'

Rakusui-shi made by Kozo TAMURA, the fifth head of the Tamagawa-do Store, was a large sheet of about 0.97 m wide and about 1.88 m long. He improved the production process from poured water-disposing paper making to a style of fixed-paper making by attaching a cord to the frame of the reed to make handling easier with a pulley, spreading gauze on a screen and mixing panicled hydrangea (an adhesive material). In addition, he added the processes to dye and print patterns using woodblocks and as a result, it received a high evaluation as fusuma paper and its demand increased rapidly. As opposed to the rakusui-shi mainly made of mitsumata, the other popular rakushui-shi made of recycled paper was produced in Osaka, which was called shin-rakusui-shi (new rakusui paper). Soon, shin-rakusui-shi became superior to the hon-rakusui-shi (the original rakusui paper) of Tokyo. Before long, ten new makers could be enumerated in Tokyo in 1913.

In accordance with a rapid increase of demand for reconstruction and the loss of the plates for woodblock printing by fire due to the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, shin-rakusui-shi became the mainstream. In 1937, the association of the rakusui-shi paper industry of Tokyo was organized, the number of the members reached thirty-five, and the annual production of the sheets of paper reached four-millions and five-hundred thousands in 1940. After the Pacific War, it declined because of the rise of Echizen torinoko and multicolored fusuma paper made by rotary presses.

The Pasted Materials for Groundwork of Fusuma

Karakami means a surface paper printed patterns and many materials are pasted for groundwork of fusuma-shoji. There are various processes for the groundwork such as hone-shibari (fixation of the frame to mend warps), mino-bari (pasting layers of paper sheets to achieve cushioning), beta-bari (pasting a sheet on the mino-bari layers to push them with putting paste on the backside fully), fukuro-bari (pasting the sheets of half-size paper to provide both tension and softness with putting paste only on the sides of the sheets) (uke-bari - floating paste) and kiyo-bari (paste thin high-quality paper for backing when the final surface paper is thin), which lead to a fusuma-shoji made by pasting Japanese paper carefully several times.

Hone-shibari' is pasted at first on a framework by putting glue on the frame and applying Japanese paper of strong fibers such as handmade Japanese paper, cha-chiri (a brown tissue) and kuwa-chiri (a mulberry tree tissue). It plays an important role to tighten ribs and avoid rickety by making strong fibers of Japanese paper shrink after spraying water on it.

Uchitsuke-bari' is also called honeshibari-oshibari and has a blocking effect on transparency to avoid the ribs being seen as well as overlap pasting to strengthen hone-shibari further. Mino-bari' is pasting on the frame and sticking one sheet over another by gradually shifting, like the process for making a straw raincoat. Repeat this process from two to four times. This is an important process to prevent the ribs of the frame from being seen and to maintain depth of the fusuma door. In addition, the air layer formed by mino-bari creates insulation and heat-retention characteristics and sound absorption and sound proofing as well. Beta-bari' is to stick paper by spreading paste all over the surface and plays a role in holding down the mino-bari. Fukuro-bari' is to apply paste only to the narrow areas of the edges of paper such as hanshi or thin handmade Japanese paper and cha-chiri, and stick it in a bag-like shape. It is also called 'uke-bari' because it is pasted in a half-raised manner like a bag, and accomplishes a deep sense of taste. Kyo-bari' is to stick paper by pasting a thin glue all over the surface. This is only used depending upon the properties of the final paper or when paper surface sheets of different properties are pasted on the both sides.

These processes of pasting paper for several times aim to fix the lattice of shoji used as the framework by shrinking force of paper to prevent the wood from warping and to finish it. For hone-shibari, wastepaper that has strength was used, for intermediate processes Minato-gami (Minato paper, a paper made of used paper in Minato-mura village, Izumi Province with thin black or gray color) or chachiri-shi (a paper made from the wastes of the black bark of paper mulberry trees) was used, and for the process of kiyo-bari, the highly sticky kizuki such as Mino-gami, Hosokawa-gami and Sesshu-hanshi (standard-size Japanese writing paper made in Iwami Province) were used.

While wooden doors and akari-shoji are made by a workman for doors, fusuma is not included as doors generally, made with pasting paper several times by kyo-ji and hyogu-shi. The fusuma becomes stronger through the processes of pasting papers with changing the quality of paper and shikuchi (an angle for joining), and gains sound an absorption, an insulation and a humidity regulation effects, bringing a settled Japanese style atmosphere with a puffed and soft taste.

Fusuma and White Color

Since ancient times, Japanese had made much of 'white' color especially to express innocence and purity, cleanliness and holiness. They felt an infinite possibility in white, which was also considered the origin of beauty. They made clothing from the fibers of hemp and kozo since ancient times, and especially the bark fibers of kozo was called 'yufu,' which was refined in thread-like form by steaming the fibers of peeled bark and exposing them to water. The bleached woven cloth of this yufu is called shirotae, and it can be said that this is the origin of the sensitivity of Japanese to white. They empathize the whiteness of yufu made of beautiful white fibers through the processes of submerging in clean and cold water repeatedly and bleaching many times like purifying its body, regarding it as a holy color.
Yufu is also called 'nusa' and is applied to the Chinese characters of '幣' or '幣帛.'

Yufu' was a ceremonial implement to bring god and an ornament of the seat for a god. It has been used for a twig of sakaki (a tree used for shrine rituals) which miko (a shrine maiden) in the service of a shrine who performs a dance before the gods has or for igushi (a branch of a sacred tree) using a young bamboo and bamboo grass which are offered to the gods, and for a symbol of the boundary indicating the holy area decorated on shime-nawa (a thick rope used as a ceremonial implement of shrines which indicates the boundary between the holy area and the everyday area) as shide. Yufu is made of kozo bark fiber and paper is also made of kozo fiber. During the Nara period when Japanese paper spread, paper played the role of nusa instead of yufu and a paper nusa began to be used to decorate shrines. In accordance with the prevalence of Japanese paper, tsuitate-shoji, made with a wooden lattice pasted Japanese paper on both sides, had been used in the Nara period, and the fusuma-shoji began to be used in the Heian period. The word shoji was used as a general term for partitions since ancient times, and the Chinese character 'sho' of shoji has the meaning of obstruct or separate. The shoji interferes with the field of vision toward the holy 'oku' (inner part), protects against evil spirits and wicked souls and obstructs winds and chills. Shirotae were weaved of yufu, a hemp cloth, a silk cloth and a paper, were pasted on tsuitate shoji, a folding screen, tobari and fusuma-shoji, and their colors were all clear and holy 'white' with the intention that the holy precinct was protected against wicked souls as the boundary of a holy place. Additionally, for the fusuma which covered bodies as bedding (an old Japanese quilt which covers bodies as bedding) the clean white color was used.

According to a drawing of the shrine with furnishings in Higashisanjo-dono (a residence taken over by the Fujiwara clan) of FUJIWARA no Tadazane in 1115 described in the "Ruiju Zatsuyosho" (a book explaining the furnishings in ceremonies and events in detail with sketches), all shoji were shown as a white ground with no pictures and karakami patterns.
In the elevated view with furnishings of zuijin-dokoro (a place of official guards stationed), there is the word 'fusuma' on all the surfaces of shoji, and a description that 'all the fusuma and similar furnishings were white.'
The tradition to paste white torinoko on fusuma has been continued until now in first-class Japanese restaurants and Japanese-style hotels of high social status, and it is said that white torinoko is pasted on the fusuma of Japanese-style room in the Imperial Palace. In addition to the holiness toward white which Japanese have been felt since ancient times, another holiness of the decorations called the 'solemnity' symbolized by brilliant gold, which was the exact opposite of white, has also been promoted with the introduction of Buddhism. On a Buddhist alter, a gilt bronze statue of the Buddha with shining golden halo is placed and the ornaments such as ranma (a wooden panel used as a decorative transom above paper-covered sliding doors) are gorgeously and brightly decorated, and as a result, the total space suggests gokuraku jodo (the Pure Land of Amida Buddha). As opposed to the holiness toward pure 'white' of the Shinto (Shintoism) in ancient times, the new shining golden holiness provided a big change in the sense of worth for ancient Japanese. Affected by Buddhism, they increased a tendency of additional decorations more splendidly and more gorgeously than was seen in Buddhist temple, apart from the purifying white holiness and white decorativeness in Shinto.

Kara-e paintings began to be drawn on tsuitate shoji (an original form of fusuma), folding screens and oshitsuke-kabe (a fixed and unmoving fusuma which is used as a wall), and in the mid-ninth centuries yamato-e paintings began to be drawn. During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the style of buildings was shifted from Shinden-zukuri style to Shoin-zukuri style, which developed and was completed as a housing style for the samurai class during the Edo period. The characteristic of Shoin-zukuri style in the early stages was that fusuma-shoji and haritsuke kabe of shoin as the place for a ceremony to meet visitors were placed side by side and the whole surface was decorated with kinpeki-shohekiga of brilliant coloring on a golden ground as a symbol of power. It is said that the inside of the Azuchi-jo Castle of Nobunaga ODA shined brightly with gold foil.