Sakura-bito with Japanese Traditional Craftsmen


【Fukui:Echizen-papercraft】Interview to Mr. Haruo Yanase of Yanase-Washi Co., Ltd. Vol.02

Echizen-papercraft in Fukui area has over 1500 years history, and is known as the best quality traditional papercraft in Japan. According to the folk tale in Echizen,The Paper Goddess “Kawakami-Gozen” initiated people in this area into the techniques of Japanese traditional papercraft using water. The Echizen-paper craftsmen enshrined “Kawakami-Gozen” in Okamoto Shrine and Otaki Shrine, and succeeded the papercraft technique for generations.

Yanase-Washi Co., Ltd. that makes the special Echizen papercraft for the first product of Sakura-bito “Great Fortune Bill Wallet”, not only makes traditional Japanese paper wall, but also tries to make solid items in the collaboration with trend designer or animation studio.
We interviewed Mr.Haruo Yanase who is the owner of Yanase-Washi Co., Ltd..

He told us about his policy of making Japanese traditional papers, and about the meanings of the pattern of the paper that used for this bill wallet.

The previous article; 【Fukui:Echizen-papercraft】Interview to Mr. Haruo Yanase of Yanase-Washi Co., Ltd. Vol.01

The real joy of being involved in the first step of "manufacturing"


――Where does your passion for challenging various techniques and products, not just traditional Japanese paper products, come from?

We are in a position to make things, so we can try various ideas.  In any fields, I think what we need to do is “creating something”.  Of course, there exists some salesmen, and some customers…but the beginning is the creators.
I feel happy I can work for the beginning of create products, and the tool of creation I have is “Japanese traditional paper technique”.

――Is the spirit of challenging unique to Echizen Washi craftsmen also influence your thought?

There are various types of Echizen Japanese paper. For example, this paper has a unique round pattern. The Echizen Washi craftsmen challenges like this. There exist various techniques.

Of course, another paper craftsmen in different areas also challenge various techniques, but most case is limited just in a few sizes of Kozo paper, a little Kikuban paper.

But in the case of us Echizen craftsmen, we’ve been trying various kinds of processing all by ourselves. Therefore, even when a customer asks us to make such a rare paper, we will try it anyway. Even if we can’t do it, we’ll still be able to challenge again. Even if we get the unique order, we already have the experience five years ago, so we can handle it.

The next time, we can make the hard point of the order clear, and can think about the solution logically. The process and experience like that will improve our technique.


Enliven your fortune with a yellow whirlpool

――The partition paper for the wallet you worked on this product is an image of a yellow ring. What is the meaning of it?

The image of the yellow ring is a “vortex”.
Japanese traditional paper isn’t able to be made without water. Our ancestors have used water to make various patterns. We also use tools to make bumps in various shapes mostly by using water.


――What is the relationship with the money luck unique to Echizen Paper, which has the legend of the Paper Goddess?

In the past, the paper for bills was also made in Echizen area, so it has been called “the hometown of bills.” Infact, Fukui Prefecture (Fukui Clan) was the first area in Japan to make a clan bill in the Edo period, and of course Echizen paper was used at that time as well.

In one guide book, Okamoto Shrine and Otaki Shrine is introduced as a shrine where brings people good fortune. and the shrine itself is connected with bill paper,so I think this paper crafts will make you rich.

 From yellow whiripool, you could take various good things. I hope this wallet and our paper craft will bring you goor fortune.


Live in the village of Japanese paper and continue to challenge the beauty of Japanese paper

――For you Mr.Yanase, what kind of thing is the Echizen paper?

Of course, I will continue working for it to live in the future.

Even the demand of the wall paper has been declining, we the craftsmen of Echizen Paper will continue to take on new challenges.

At this Echizen paper village, we craftsmen will continue to make Japanese paper while passing on the technology to the next generation.
I wonder what kind of Japanese paper is requested, what kind of technique can be encountered, and can you challenge the deep world of Japanese paper. I want to create more and enjoy manufacturing as a traditional craftsman.

Yanase Washi Co.,Ltd.

Yanase Washi Co.,Ltd.   Haruo Yanase

After Graduation from the Department of Textile Dyes, University of Fukui, joined Yanase Washi Co., Ltd. in 1978. He produced various paper products, from traditional Echizen Japanese paper products such as wall paper and letter paper as his family business, to three-dimensional products in collaboration with designers and original products in animation studios. Combining traditional techniques with new manufacturing methods, he continues to challenge the possibilities of Echizen paper craft.

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