Tonbo (dragonflies); Kinkakuden washi

This unique, out-of-production Japanese washi features both a coated and an uncoated side, letting you draw and paint on two completely different textures at once.

Tosa washi: a traditional art

Made on the banks of the Niyodo River in Kochi prefecture, Kinkakuden hails from one of the oldest and most prestigious of Japanese craftsmanship traditions: the creation of washi, or Japanese paper, in the town of Tosa.

The history of Japanese papermaking is so entwined with the story of Tosa that during the Heian period (794-1185 CE), the government accepted paper from Tosa residents in lieu of taxes. Renowned for its thinness and strength, Tosa washi continues to be used today in everything from brush calligraphy and painting to the restoration of old artworks.

Today, a few stalwart makers of traditional Japanese paper continue to ply their trade in the region, keeping an ancient practice alive.

Kinkakuden: breaking rules, modernising traditions

Originally seeking to find new uses for Japanese paper in a rapidly declining market, the makers of Kinkakuden set out to create a washi that could stand up to the rigours of offset printing and other machinised operations. The solution they created was ingenious: just one side of the paper is coated with a special sizing agent during the manufacturing process.

As a result, Kinkakuden is a unique paper with two distinct sides — one side holds ink better and is suited for drawing and printing with modern inks, while the other maintains the old-school, feathery feel of Japanese paper and will soften watercolours and paints laid upon it.

Unfortunately, much of the process still required the work of human hands rather than machines, and the modern realities of flagging demand for such a paper meant that the entire operation was not financially sustainable. In 2018, the makers of Kinkakuden closed their doors.

A new format for art

With more room than a typical A4 sheet of paper, our large format sketchbooks are designed to give you the maximum possible space with which to express yourself.

The drilled-hole construction of the book block keeps sheets flat instead of folded into signatures, which is critical for a paper that has two different faces. And the more supple frame and endpaper construction allows the cover to flex effectively with the additional weight and size of the paper.

Socially conscious craftsmanship

Every Musubi journal is handbound in Singapore by a team of artisans with physical and intellectual disabilities. Your purchase funds employment opportunities for these talented individuals.