July 2016: Gathering of Young Generation Papermakers @ Sugihara-gami

Yuki's Travels: Gathering of Young Generation Papermakers @ Sugihara-gami

On the last weekend of June, our Fukui associates and I visited Sugihara-gami in Hyogo Prefecture to attend Seinen no Tsudoi (Gathering of Young Generation Papermakers). This meeting is usually held annually, each time in different paper making villages. The Sugihara-gami paper  making village is said to have originated in the late 7th century, but once came to an end in the 90's, due to the overwhelming presence of western papers. However, thanks to Dr. Jugaku Bunsho and his studies of Japanese papers that Sugihara paper making was revived. 

Being that it was my first time attending this meeting, I wasn't sure what to expect. Truthfully, I was very surprised to see the amount of younger people in attendance; of the 150+ attendees, more than half seemed to be what is referred to as the next "younger generation", inspiring hope for the future of washi and Japanese paper making. I'm thankful for events like this that allow people to meet those from different regions that would not otherwise have had the chance to meet. Upon meeting papermakers from regions such as Niigata or Kyushu, I realized that there is still much more to learn about different types of existing papers and many villages yet to explore. 

          The two days spent at Sugihara-gami were extremely educational and filled with unique experiences meeting and conversing with papermakers and people from the world of washi at large. Although the next location has not been announced I am already looking forward to reuniting with everyone that I met this year!                               
Left to Right: Hiroya Yamashita, Yuki, Masami Igarashi, Yoshinao Sugihara