Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsPlease take a look. Here we have a selection of books made in East Asia. The first one here is from China. It is made of bamboo paper (chikushi), which was the most commonly used variety in China for books. This large one here is from the Korea Peninsula. It is made of a type of paper called kōzogami in Japanese, which is thick and extremely sturdy.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsThen these ones here, including the one I am holding, are Japanese books. As you can see from the writing styles, the color, the patterns used to decorate them, and then here, as you see, from the variety of colors used, there is a wide variety of different papers. This variety is a characteristic of Japanese books but where does this variety come from? The answer is a combination of different raw materials, different production methods and different binding techniques. In this course, we take an in-depth look at the various papers used in traditional Japanese books.

Books and paper

As of course we all know, books are made of paper. From the type of paper used we can tell where the book was made. What’s more, the paper is often treated or decorated in various ways. Please watch the video in which Prof. Sasaki discusses the relationship between books and paper.

Books introduced in the video

book index

  1. Tongjian jishi benmo (J. Tsugan kiji honmatsu), 1257, China
    Click to see the image and information
  2. Hakushibunshū (Kohzanshū), late 17th century. from Korean peninsula Click to see the image and information
  3. Hekianshō, Bunmei 13 (1471)
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  4. Genji monogatari keizu, early edo period
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  5. Eiga no taigai [Essentials of Composition], mid-to-late Muromachi period
    Click to see the image and information
  6. Sanjurokunin uta-awase, early edo period
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  7. Tamakatsura, the end of 16th century to the beginning of 17th century
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  8. Kasen kingyoku shō, Tenwa 3 (1683)
    Click to see the image and information
  9. Horikawain hyakushu waka, early edo period
    Click to see the image and information

Subtitles and PDFs

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Also you can find both Japanese version and English version of PDF for all the steps including scripts in the DOWNLOADS section of the first step of the each week. [1.1] [2.1]

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This video is from the free online course:

The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books

Keio University