Director’s Message

Ever since paper, which was invented in China, was introduced in Japan in ancient times, a unique technique called nagashisuki was developed, using bast fibers from such plants as kozo, mitsumata, and ganpi. Paper began to be produced throughout the country, and Japan has developed its own culture related to paper.

In the early Meiji period, a paper mill equipped with Western machinery was built in Oji, and the full-scale manufacturing of Western-style paper began in Japan. Since then, the industry has been focusing on environmental issues at the same time as manufacturing and supplying paper.

The museum opened as the Paper Making Memorial Museum in 1950. Since it was renamed the “Paper Museum” (Kami no Hakubutsukan) in 1965, and with the nickname of “Kamihaku”, the museum has long been loved by many locals and visitors.

The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the museum. As a museum with the theme of “paper”, something that everyone is familiar with, we continue to exhibit its history, culture, and versatility as a material. Also, we present the sustainable future potential of the paper industry from here in Oji, where Western-style paper was first produced in Japan.

Takeshi Azuma Director,
the Paper Museum

About the Paper Museum

The Paper Museum introduces the history, culture, and industry of paper from two perspectives: Washi which is Japanese traditional paper and Western-style paper which contributed to the economic growth of modern Japan. Looking after and displaying a collection of 40,000 items and 15,000 books, we are one of the world’s few comprehensive museums specializing in paper. The museum is sponsored by about 140 corporate supporters – mainly paper companies.


Mission Statement

“Trace the history of paper, learn from the present, and contemplate the future.”

The history of paper is age-old and it has contributed greatly to the advancement of mankind. Focusing on paper, we aim to help people trace the past, learn from the present, and contemplate the future. For that purpose, the Paper Museum collects, preserves, researches, and studies paper-related items, exhibits them, and offers various educational activities.

History

The Paper Museum was established on June 8, 1950 in Oji, Kita-ku, Tokyo, known as the place where Western-style paper was first produced in Japan. Oji is where the first large-scale modern paper mill in Japan, “Shoshi Kaisha” (later Oji Mill of Oji Paper), which was founded by Eiichi Shibusawa, known as the father of Japanese capitalism, was built. The mill commenced production in 1875 and “Shoshi Kaisha” continued to operate while changing its name to “Paper company” and “Oji Mill of Oji Paper”. However, the company suffered catastrophic damage from air raids during World War II.

In 1949, the Excessive Economic Power Deconcentration Law was implemented as part of occupation policy, and Oji Paper was split into Tomakomai Paper, Jujo Paper Industries, and Honshu Paper. Thereafter, in the following year (1950), in order to contribute to social education, the company’s original collection was opened to the public, and the “Paper Making Memorial Museum”, the predecessor to the Paper Museum, was established. The electrical room of the mill, which was the only room that remained unburned, was used for the building of the museum.

->the predecessor
->Materials” in Oji Paper The First Director, Kiyofusa Narita