Washi Paper Production: 100 Years of Expertise

Washi Paper Production: 100 Years of Expertise

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

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

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

Edofiber’s Select Washi Suppliers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Production of Washi Paper

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

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

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

Types of Washi Paper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Processing Washi Paper

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printing on Washi Paper

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

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

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

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

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

Edofiber’s Washi Production & Distribution

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

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

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

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


Washi Paper Distributor: Edofiber

Washi Paper Distributor: Edofiber

Edofiber is a top-rated distributor of Washi papers, a traditional Japanese style of paper that also excels in modern printing applications.

Because of the raw materials used to make Washi paper and the process by which it is manufactured, the finished product is much stronger than conventional paper, as well as being more absorbent and thus able to produce a more beautiful printed result.

Washi is the paper of choice for any printing job that would benefit from more vivid, attractive colors, not to mention crisper images and texts.

With its long-standing connections to the best Washi manufacturers as well as its own status as an award-winning manufacturer, Edofiber is uniquely well-positioned to supply partners in the Western world with this remarkable Japanese paper.

History of Washi Manufacturing

Traditionally known as Tesuki Washi, handmade Japanese paper, Washi is made from the cultivated woody plants kozo and mitsumata and the wild gampi. Because of these materials, Washi paper is tougher, more absorbent, and longer-lasting than ordinary wood-pulp-based paper.

By the time of the Edo period (1603-1867), one form of Washi was popular among Osaka merchants, who used it for their account books. Washi paper account books had a remarkable advantage: whenever a fire broke out, the merchants could throw their books into a well to protect them, since the Washi paper was highly resistant to water damage.

Hand-made Washi is too labor-intensive to be economical, so a number of manufacturers took up the task of creating a modern, mechanized production. Among them was Edofiber’s parent company, Nagai Paper Store.

Nagai Paper Store and the other early pioneers started manufacturing in the city of Kuniyas, now called Saijo City, in the Ehime Prefecture on the Japanese island of Shikoku.

The city is situated in a flat valley located between two mountains, Mount Ishizuchi and Mount Takanawa. This location proved ideal for efficiently obtaining labor, raw materials, and then drying and finally shipping out the finished Washi.

Hirozaemon Nagai is the founder of our parent company, Nagai Paper Corporation, and was born in 1899 in Kuniyasu, Ehime. He bacame a Tesuki Washi craftsman in 1916 and went on a sales trip to sell Tesuki Washi paper crafted on his own across the western parts of Japan. This became the foundation of the Nagai corporation’s current business and is part of our century-long heritage.

Award-Winning Manufacturer & Distributor

Washi manufacturing flourished here, peaking in 1951 with 50 different Washi manufacturers. Over time, consolidation and going out of business reduced the number of these manufacturers to three, and Edofiber has connections with all of them.

Edofiber has longstanding relationships with these three remaining Washi manufacturers, thanks to our parent company Nagai. Sugio Washi Paper Factory is one of the three remaining Washi factories. The followings are the process of Tesuki Washi paper making at Sugino Washi Paper factory.

Putting all the materials in water to loosen them and form it into a sheet. While gently rocking back and fourth by hand, making the sheet flat even and transparent . This activity is called “Tesuki.”

After “Tesuking,” they compile a hundred of the single Tesuki sheets and put weight on the pile to compress them. After that, craftsmen peel off each sheet from the other to separate them and dry them naturally in the open air.

In 1955, Edofiber and our parent company were responsible for innovating a modern, mechanized process of Washi production which embodied all of the quality and beauty of traditional hand-made Tesuki Washi while being economical for the international mass market.

It is this fusion of the high quality of the traditional Tesuki hand-crafted Washi paper and the efficiency of modern mechanization.

Edofiber first produced and sold Washi paper chopstick covers for the mass market in 1959. Numerous other products followed: paper for printing, stationery, office supplies, packaging materials, and more.

Today Edofiber is ranked as one of the finest Tesuki Washi manufacturers, having won the coveted Yokozuna Award as the best quality Tesuki Hosyo.

Drawing on our century of expertise, we produce high-quality, beautiful Washi paper that is versatile, stronger than conventional paper, and also able to produce more attractive results than typical, ordinary paper. We are proud of our Washi and the many uses to which it can be put.

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Washi: A Versatile Paper

Thanks to the materials used to make Washi and the processes of manufacturing, the finished product is not only stronger but also more beautiful, and with much more desirable textures. This lends it to a variety of uses.

Washi has long been used for artworks and for interior decoration. Today Edofiber and our suppliers produce Washi paper which is optimal for use in letterpress printing, high-definition offset printing, seal printing, digital printing and laminated paper.

Common Washi products include packaging materials, such as boxes, tissue paper, wrapping paper, office supplies, letter and envelope stationery, tissue paper, and wrapping paper.

Digital printing is one of the most promising applications of our Washi paper. The resulting print jobs show high-resolution, high-clarity printed texts and images.

Washi texture is softer and more luxurious than most people are used to experiencing with paper. The surface of a sheet of Washi paper is much more tactilely interesting than a regular sheet of paper, as well as being more attractive and more durable.

The greater absorbency of Washi paper is a key part of what makes it so interesting and effective. After all, paper of any kind has to absorb ink if it is to display printed text and/or images.

Because Washi is more absorbent, it is better at taking in the ink, and that means more vibrant colors and clearer text.

Washi Paper Distribution Opportunities

Edofiber now distributes Washi paper worldwide and is actively seeking to expand its business partnerships in the Western world.

Our digital printing Washi paper is of the highest quality, and performs with excellence on printers, copiers, and commercial digital printing presses. Whatever your printing needs, we can serve as your source for traditional Japanese Washi paper.

We also offer distinct Washi specialty papers for packaging, perfect for wrapping gifts or other packages, as well as stationery and craft supplies. Our custom solutions can cover any special need.

All of our Washi products combine beauty and elegance with unrivaled performance. Every Washi product we sell combines the traditional Washi strength and durability with interesting, luxurious textures and outstanding printing possibilities.

Our expertise is grounded in a century of history manufacturing Washi, and over half a century of modern mechanized production that retains harmony and continuity with the traditional Washi craft.

We have the ability to mass-produce numerous Washi products for the world market, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and we are constantly looking for new partners.

Whatever your printing needs, we are ready, willing, and able to consult with you in order to find a Washi paper solution. You deserve the best in Washi paper solutions, from paper for digital printing to custom badges, file folders, portfolios, table mats, napkins, cups, and many more.

To explore the advantages of Washi paper in products ranging from office supplies to commercial printing, contact Edofiber for samples and business terms.