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Representative Washi paper and writing tools
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About Washi paper and writing tools
What are washi and writing tools?
Washi is papers made from fibers of the plants, such as Kozo (Mulberry), Mitsumata (Edgeworthia papyrifera), and Ganpi (Diplomorpha sikokiana), in Japan since ancient times. Washi has a rough texture and excellent durability and resistance. Traditional writing and calculating tools, such as brushes, Sumi ink, and Suzuri inkstones, and Soroban abacuses have been essential for the lives of people and culture in Japan since old times. These tools have been passed down until now.
History of washi
The history of Washi dates backs to the 7th century when papermaking techniques were introduced to Japan from China. Papermaking started in Japan after that. Since the early paper was too fragile and less durable, new techniques were developed to improve paper quality including using bark fibers of mulberry trees that are a native of Japan. About 100 years later, thin and durable washi papers were able to be made in Japan.
Washi today
Washi is versatile in its uses, including paper for calligraphy, shoji screens, lighting fixtures, walls, figures, and facial masks, as well as the restoration of books and artworks abroad.
History of writing tools
All traditional writing and calculating tools, including brushes, Sumi ink, and Suzuri inkstones, and Soroban abacuses, originated in China. Brushes, Sumi ink, and Suzuri inkstones started making in Japan in about the 8, 9, 11 centuries respectively. Due to the introduction of Buddhism, the practice of sutra copying became very popular in Japan, which increased in demand for brushes. As a result, brush production spread throughout the country. Later, improvements were added to make brushes suitable for writing characters, such as Kana. Together with literacy education, using brushes became popular among ordinary people. Soroban was introduced in Japan in about the 1570s. Along with the development of Wasan, the native Japanese mathematics in the Edo period (1603–1867), Japanese style abacuses called soroban were created. These abacuses have been passed down until now.
Writing tools today
Brushes, Sumi ink, and Suzuri inkstones were favored by people who learn and enjoy writing calligraphy. Children can still learn how to use Soroban at school or after school activities in Japan. Some Japanese people still use it as a tool to help arithmetic calculations.
Washi paper and writing tools designated as
Traditional Crafts of Japan
About Washi paper and writing tools
Uchiyama paper Etchu paper Mino paper Echizen paper Inshu paper Sekishu paper Awa paper Ozu paper Tosa paper Toyohashi brushes Banshu abacus Nara brushes Unshu abacus Kawajiri brushes 
Washi paper and writing tools to color life