Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Nagaoka City , Niigata
Related category:
Traditional Oguni Washi    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 31 minutes
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Oguni-machi, Nagaoka City, is in the south-west region of Niigata Prefecture and is the prefectures major center of production of washi (Japanese paper). Ogunis history of washi production goes back more than 300 years. The production of Oguni washi involves many different processes, including growing, disbudding, cultivation of kozo (paper mulberry), steaming, peeling, and beating. These processes are shown in the film. Washi used to be used for everyday notebooks, calligraphy, shoji-gami (sliding-screen paper), andon (a kind of lamp), fireworks, kites, etc. The beauty, strength, and softness of Oguni washi is highly valued and cherished as one of the few traditional forms of folk-craft paper left. It is now used as a high-class paper for sake labels, wrapping paper, pictures, and wallpaper. The unique process utilizing snow was designated Intangible Cultural Property Requiring Documentation by the national government in 1973 and an Intangible Cultural Property in 1974 by the Prefecture. Presently, the Oguni washi technique has been inherited and the paper is produced by only two workshops. In the film, the skills of the paper craftsmen who have inherited and are practicing the traditional method of producing paper entirely made of kozo are introduced.

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