Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds Books tell us a lot about a country’s culture. This is because books preserve not only words and pictures, but we can also use them to learn about the technologies and traditions of the country at the time the books were produced, as well as the tastes and sensibilities of the past. Hello, I am Takahiro Sasaki. I research Japanese rare books at Keio University’s Institute of Oriental Classics. You can find a considerable variety in Japanese rare books, in the design, bindings, shape, size, and color of the covers. Such variety is quite unique to Japanese books. One of the major factors that made this diversity possible is, obviously, “paper”, the main material used in books and the main topic of this course.
Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds Just as there are many kinds of books, there are many different types of washi – traditional Japanese paper. They are different in color, texture, strength and durability depending on the materials used, production and processing methods. Why did Japanese people produce such a variety of paper and how did they choose paper for books? Learning about the paper used in rare books will give you a deeper understanding of Japanese culture. In this course, you will learn about the paper used in old Japanese books from both a scientific and cultural perspective. We will study the definition and history of Japanese paper along with its manufacturing methods and materials as well as how to distinguish the different types of washi.
Skip to 2 minutes and 25 seconds Then, you will learn about Japanese papermaking techniques, focusing on the processing of the beautiful decorative papers used in books, and discuss why and when people used such decorative papers. You’ll find so many beautiful Japanese rare books in our library; some books are gorgeous with beautiful covers. You’ll come to understand that paper plays an important role in the beauty of rare books. I am sure you’ll enjoy this course and discover interesting aspects of Japanese book culture. What’s more, you will be able to enhance your knowledge of Japanese culture and art in general. Why not join us in learning about the fascinating world of washi?