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Awagami Factory’ is a registered brand name for “Awa washi “, a brand of Japanese papers and products crafted in Tokushima prefecture (formally, “Awa” prefecture). Responding to the current
demands of artists and creators, Awagami strives to liberate washi solely from ‘tradition’ by continually developing new techniques to increase the potential use of washi. The millls’ focus on
research and development is an ongoing effort to integrate washi into contemporary lifestyles and Awagami is proud to pass washi culture on to the next generation of artists.
Awagami produces both handmade and machinemade washi from non-wooden fibers such as Kozo, Bamboo, Mitsumata, Gampi and Hemp. Today the mill manufactures fine art & digital printing papers,
decorative papers, conservation papers, interior papers and fine stationery. Awagami also collaborates with independent artisans, exploring new concepts that may prove suitable for washi
Washi and the Environment
Since antiquity, Japanese paper has (and still is) predominantly been made from kozo, gampi, mitsumata and hemp plant fibers. These non-wooden or “bast” fiber plants are all renewable resources;
growing to maturity within only one to just a few years. When compared to wood-based papers (that take dozens of years to mature and require many chemicals), washi papers are manufactured with
significantly less harm to our environment in a clean eco-friendly manner. In the traditional spirit of Japan, Awagami has maintained a caring and nurturing focus on the environment.
History of Awa washi
The history of Awa (old name of Tokushima) washi can be traced back to nearly 1300 years. The technique of paper making in the Awa region was delivered from the Inbe clan, a tribe who were
serving the Emperor and were manufacturing paper and fabric in Awagamis’ village’ of Yamakawa-cho. During the Edo period, the production of Awa washi flourished due to its use for important
official documents. When indigo-dyed Awa washi received high acclaim at the 1878 Paris World Fair, washi production had reached its peak, with over 500 manufactures in Tokushima alone. However,
with the economic slump that followed World War II and with the westernization of lifestyle in Japan, demand for washi (and the number of papermakers) diminished substantially.
Awa Washi and the Fujimori family
6th generation, Minoru Fujimori took over the family business in 1945 determined to continue the tradition of washi papermaking despite difficult times post-WWII. His hard work paid off and in
1970, Minoru-san was designated as an ‘Intangible Cultural Property of Tokushima’ in recognition of his masterful skills. As the demand for washi changed from utilitarian to art & decorative
uses, Minoru-san pursued and perfected natural indigo-dyed washi. In 1976, Awagami washi was designated a ‘Traditional Craft Industry’ by the Tokushima Prefectural Government.
In 1984, Minoru Fujimori was honored as a Master Craftsman and awarded the ‘Medal for Technical Excellence’ in recognition of his efforts to preserve the art of washi papermaking. Later in 1986,
Minoru-san would be awarded with the ‘Sixth Class Order of Merit, Sacred Treasure’ by the Japanese government. Currently his son, Yoichi Fujimori and family continue the families’ papermaking
traditions. In efforts of expanding the market for Awa washi, The Fujimori family has established a network of international partners for Awagami washi, which may now be found in over 40
countries. It is the families’ hope to continue making Japanese washi through future generations and to preserve this honorable craft.
To learn more about Awagami Factory Papers, our Washi Paper Museum, Exhibition Opportunities and Artist Residencies, please visit: