Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsLet's see how to make Koyori, a twisted Japanese paper. and how to use Koyori to bind a Japanese book. Make a paper strip with 2cm width. Start twisting from the bottom right corner.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 secondsHolding the paper tight enough with your right hand and twisting the paper with your left hand. keep pulling the paper until the end.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsA fine crafted Koyori is strong like a wire. Pass the Koyori through the hole then make a knot. Cut off the Koyori to make a small knot. Gently pound on the knot to make it flat. Repeat it again to bind another hole .

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsJapanese book are bound in two places. Make the knots on the back cover side.

Uses of washi paper

To this day, washi paper is used for a variety of purposes around the world. Here are some examples.

Koyori - paper string

Note that this video does not include any audio narration. Please turn on the subtitles to see the explanation of the video in English or Japanese.

First let’s take a look at the example of libraries within Japan. Koyori is a kind of paper string used by libraries to repair traditional Japanese books. The video introduces how to make Koyori and use it to repair books. Please enjoy this beautiful performance and try to make Koyori yourself.

In order to make a Koyori as strong as wire, you need to choose the right type of paper. Hosokawa paper is one of the best. Nishinouchi paper made in Ibaraki prefecture is also known to be a good choice to make Koyori.

Washi used for repairing books

Washi papers is also used by conservators worldwide. In the United States, the Conservation Division of the Library of Congress is actively using washi paper to mend their valuable materials. Let’s take a look at three examples:

Example 1. Antiphonal on Parchment

Procedure to mend parchment

  1. Apply the goldbeater skin shaped 2mm bigger than the losses (missing sections) to mend.
  2. Dye Mitsumata paper with acrylic paint to match with the material surround the damaged area.
  3. Appy the dyed Mitsumata paper on both side of the material (front and back). Mitsumata papers for each side are dyed different colors to match with each side of the material.
  4. Coat with a gelatin over the Washi paper several times to unify with the parchment.

Losses are mended with goldbeater skin and dyed Japanese Mitsumata paper. Mitsumata paper was chosen to better match the texture of the parchment.

Photo:
16th century antiphonal on parchment. Library of Congress, Conservation Division. Guest conservator, Masumi Takeuchi repairing music manuscript on parchment. 2015.

dameged parchment (Left) Fig.1-1: Recto, Before treatment. 2015. Click to take a closer look
(Right) Fig.1-2: Recto, After treatment. 2015. Click to take a closer look

dameged parchment (Left) Fig.1-3: Verso, Before treatment. 2015. Click to take a closer look
(Center) Fig.1-4: Verso, After the goldbeater skin shaped 2mm bigger than the losses are applied. 2015.Click to take a closer look
(Right) Fig.1-5: Verso, After treatment. Dyed Japanese paper (Mitsumata) shaped losses are applied. Mitsumata paper is used to better match the texture of the parchment. 2015. Click to take a closer look

Example 2. Leather bound book (Diderot’s Encyclopédie)

Procedure to mend the corner portion of the cover of a leather bound book

  1. Apply with blotting paper to fill the delaminating heartwood part.
  2. Dye Choshi paper (Mulberry paper) with acrylic paint to match with the leather color
  3. Apply the dyed mulberry paper to the delaminated part.

Photo:
Diderot’s Encyclopédie. Library of Congress, Conservation Division. Guest conservator, Masumi Takeuchi rebacking a leather bound book, Diderot’s Encyclopédie. 2015.

The worn, delaminating board corner is repaired using toned Japanese paper.

dameged parchment (Left) Fig.2-1: Before treatment. 2015.Click to take a closer look
(Center) Fig.2-2: The delaminating corner is consolidated and filled with wheat starch paste and cotton blotter. 2015. Click to take a closer look
(Right) Fig.2-3: After treatment. Dyed Japanese paper (Mulberry) is applied. 2015. Click to take a closer look

Example 3. Comic book (Captain America) - Mend tears with very thin dyed Mulberry Japanese tissue.

Procedure to mend a comic book

  1. Testing different adhesives and solvent on the test piece to find out the best material to stick wasi paper.
  2. Dye a very thin mulberry washi paper with acrylic paint using an air brush.
  3. Apply the dyed washi paper on top of the page.

Photo
Comic book, “Captain America” (1941). Library of Congress, Conservation Division. Conservation treatment by 2015-2016 Advanced Book Conservation Intern, Catherine Magee and 2015-1016 Advanced Paper conservation Intern, Michiko Adachi. 2015.

Pages are mended with the toned, adhesive-coated Japanese tissue.

Testing different adhesives for applying repair tissue.

dameged parchment (Upper) Fig.3-1 & 3-2 Before treatment. 2016. Click to take a closer look [left | right]
(Lower) Fig.3-3 & 3-4: After treatment. Tears are repaired with toned, pre-coated repair tissue. Click to take a closer look [left | right]

dameged parchment (Left) Fig.3-5: Advanced Paper conservation Intern, Michiko Adachi toning Japanese tissue with liquid acrylic color. 2016. Click to take a closer look
(Center) Fig.3-6: Before Treatment. 2016.Click to take a closer look
(Right) Fig.3-7: After Treatment. Tears are mended with toned, pre-coated repair tissue. 2016. Click to take a closer look

Note: all photos and information described in Example 1, 2 and 3 are provided by the Library of Congress, Conservation Division.

Let’s share your work if you had a change to make your own koyori!

If you can find an appropriate paper, please try for yourself to make koyori and share your experience in the discussion area below as well as share the photo if you can.

How to share your photo on the padlet

Let’s share your work on a collaborative visual board called Padlet. Padlet allows you to share texts, images, audio, video, and some other types of files (such as pdf) by simply pasting them on an online shared board.

First access to our visual sharing site, Padlet board here.

Then, all you need is to click “+” button located at the lower corner of the page and choose/type what you like to share with other learners. If you managed to take a photo of your work (koyori), attach the photo along with your story! This guide may be helpful if you are not familiar with this type of tool. You can also look up Padlet tutorials too.

Browse what other learners have created. What do you notice? Share any thoughts in the Discussion section below.

Enjoy!

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books

Keio University