New Moriki Kozo for Bookbinding and Printing

Introducing the New Version of Moriki Kozo Handmade Japanese Washi Paper

The papermaker that had been making the popular Moriki Kozo washi had to stop making the colorful kozo/sulphite papers. He is focusing his energies and skills on plain natural papers such as Inshu Gampi 001 (

We are now working with a new paper maker to redevelop the Moriki Kozo line. A selection of the most popular colors will be added gradually starting with black and brown. The few colors to come will be Azuki, grey and yellow.

The new Moriki kozo washi / paper is produced in a very similar method to the predecessor –  cooked with caustic soda, dyed with direct synthetic dyes and sized internally. The kozo fibre is sourced from Paraguay, a relatively new cultivator of good quality kozo that is well suited to dyeing.  

As before these papers are sized, making them ideal for water-based media. The papers are great for bookbinding as covers and end papers, and for relief and screen printing.

We currently have the new black Moriki kozo washi in stock - it is deep and rich – the photo does not do it justice. Order sheets at

New Moriki Kozo Japanese Washi Paper

As always, Washi Arts is committed to supplying exceptional Japanese papers.

Moriki Kozo for Conservation and Repair

On Instagram today,  Kristen Hartman, a University of Iowa Book Arts MFA Candidate posted a wonderful photo of working with Moriki tissue.

Kristen Hartman · Instagram

Kristen Hartman · Instagram

"Tinting some Moriki Japanese tissue with acrylics and methel cellulose for repairs on this leather spine. Color tinting is the best!" ~ Kristen Hartman

Original Moriki papers are no longer made. To browse the limited remaining stock, click here.

What is Washi?

Washi is the Japanese word for the traditional papers made from the long inner fibres of three plants. Wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper.

Though paper was originally made in China in the first century, the art was brought to Japan in 610 AD by Buddhist monks who produced it for writing sutras.

By the year 800, Japan's skill in papermaking was unrivalled, and from these ancient beginnings have come papers unbelievable in their range of colour, texture and design.

It was not until the 13th century that knowledge of papermaking reached Europe - 600 years after the Japanese had begun to produce it.

By the late 1800's, there were in Japan more than 100,000 families making paper by hand. Then with the introduction from Europe of mechanized papermaking technology and as things "Western" became sought after including curtains (not shoji) and French printmaking papers (not kozo), production declined until by 1983 only 479 papermaking families were left. Today the few remaining families struggle to compete in the world market with handmade papers from India, Thailand and Nepal, where a lower cost of living makes it possible to produce papers more cheaply.



The inner barks of three plants — kozo, mitsumata and gampi — all native to Japan, are used primarily in the making washi.

Kozo (paper mulberry) is said to be the masculine element, the protector, thick and strong. It is the most widely used fibre, and the strongest. It is grown as a farm crop, and regenerates annually, so no forests are depleted in the process.

Mitsumata is the "feminine element": graceful, delicate, soft and modest. Mitsumata takes longer to grow and is thus a more expensive paper. It is indigenous to Japan and is also grown as a crop.

Gampi was the earliest and is considered to be the noblest fibre, noted for its richness, dignity and longevity. It has an exquisite natural sheen, and is often made into very thin tissues used in book conservation and chine-collé printmaking. Gampi has a natural 'sized' finish which does not bleed when written or painted on.

Other fibres such as hemp, abaca, rayon, horsehair, and silver or gold foil are some-times used for paper or mixed in with the other fibres for decorative effect.

Methods of Production

Branches of the (kozo, gampi or mitsumata) bush are trimmed, soaked, the bark removed, and the tough pliant inner bark laboriously separated, cleaned, then pounded and stretched.

The addition of the pounded fibre to a liquid solution, combined with tororo-aoi (fermented hibiscus root) as a mucilage, produces a paste-like substance when it is mixed.

It is this "paste" which is tossed until evenly spread on a bamboo mesh screen (called a su) to form each sheet of paper. The sheets are piled up wet, and later laid out to dry on wood in the sun or indoors on a heated dryer.


As Japan rushes with the rest of the world into the 21st Century, and more modern technologies take over, machines produce similar-looking papers which have qualities very different from authentic washi. As of the fall of 2008, there remained fewer than 350 families still engaged in the production of paper by hand.