Paper Museum’s 70th Anniversary Special Exhibition~  Wallpaper Made with Japanese Washi–Embellishment of an Era of Westernization ~

2020 June 2 - October 4

Japanese leather-like paper is a type of imitation leather made of washi that arose in the early Meiji period  . It was modeled after the decorative leather used on the walls and ceilings of palaces belonging to medieval European royals and nobles.

In addition to being a popular export item to Europe, where it was used as wallpaper, it beautified the walls of Western-style buildings, such as the Rokumeikan between the Meiji and early Showa (1926-1989) periods in Japan.

Production of leather-like paper    temporarily    came to an end around the middle of the Showa period, but was later revived by Takashi Ueda, the founder of the Kinkarakami Institute who made use of engraved wooden cylinders owned by the Paper Museum. Because of differences in the production method used, he called the newly revived washi “kinkarakami  ” to distinguish it from the previous leather-like paper.

Under the designation “Bearer of Techniques Selected for Preservation” given by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Mr. Ueda has been involved in the production of kinkarakami for use in the restoration of important cultural properties throughout the country.

In this exhibition, elaborately engraved wooden cylinders used in the production of leather-like paper, samples of leather-like paper produced during the Meiji period and other related materials drawn mainly from the Paper Museum’s  collection will be on display, along with reproductions of leather-like paper and original kinkarakami creations by Mr. Ueda.