Dyeing & Weaving

Japanese page


(p. 45 )

1. Produced in Shiroishi City, Miyagi Prefecture.

2. Characteristics: " Cloth " made completely of hand made paper.

3. Uses: Mainly used to keep warmth.

4. History: "Kamiko", paper cloth, is said to have been used in year 730-750. It has some religious origin; paper cloths were good for Buddhist monks in training in that the kamiko does not ventilate and was warm for monks in the cold temples in contrast to hemp cloth which ventilates. The monks did not feel uneasy about killing silkworms for silk nor for hiring women for its production. These facts conformed to the Buddhist discipline. Buddhist monks used the paper cloth, Kesa, surplice. This tradition can be seen today in Omizutori", a Buddhist event at Todaiji Temple in Nara. The Kamiko was also used by warriors who had to stay outside in the battle fields in winter. In the Edo Period, the cloth was used by common people for warm keeping and also for "futon" (mat) cloth, produced in many regions in Japan. However, the Shiroishi Kamiko is the only paper cloth produced in Japan today.

Dyeing Method

The paper is made of " Kozo" ( Broussonetia kazinoki) persimmon juice or paste obtained from "Konnyaku" (Amorphophalus konjac) is applied to the paper and the paper is softened by crumpling. Plant dyes are mainly used and the patterns are "komon"(all over small patterns,) and those seen in Sarasa, Javanese silk with patterns of men, animals, birds and flowers.