Japanese Papers for Bookbinding

Washi's strength and flexibility make it excellent for book covers and end papers or for book sleeves and boxes. Its wet strength makes it ideal repair tissue. Kyoseishi, ungei heavy, 'silk', chiri and chiyogami are among those strong enough for book covers. Usumino and Kurotani No. 16 make especially strong repair tissue, but tengu, mino, and yame are also suitable.

Colorful patterned Chiyogami (silkscreened) and Katazome-shi (stencilled) papers are coveted by bookbinders for cover and end papers. These papers are not made with a pure kozo base, but the printing techniques give them a surface that wears very well.

Natural kozo papers (Nishi-kaji, Tengu-jo Heavy, Uwa Senka) can be marbled or dyed or stencilled by an artist quite readily, and create a unique paper which can then be used on or in a book. Kozo is certainly the strongest paper for making books and boxes, and it is important for the bookbinder to know the percentage of kozo in the paper he/she is using. It should be at least 70% to be strong enough to wear as a cover. Using leather or bookcloth corners and spine ensures that the paper in the covers will be especially long-wearing. Gampi 's exquisite sheen and ivory colour can contribute a special aesthetic touch to a project but is tricky to use and not as strong as kozo.