It is quite common that Japanese paper makers run a family business, like in other fields of Japanese culture as for instance in Kabuki or Noh Theater, and that over generations “cultural dynasties” have thereby developed. But of course there are always highly talented people from outside those circles and families to enter this field .like as the famous Kabuki Onnagata actor Tamasaburo, who has been adopted into the clan of actors.
For Hosokaga shi, which belongs now to the Unesco cultural heritage, Hisako Uchimura is a person who developed her career as a washi master on her own with a strong degree of passion.
In 1995 when she was already 48 years old, she started to learn making Ogawa shi (Ogawa paper) at the local school. After 5 years learning, she began to teach making Ogawa paper at the Ogawa Washi center in Saitama for 2 years.
In 2002 she opened her own workshop. Since 2014 she is one of the certificated Unesco Hosokawa shi masters (the traditional way of making Ogawa is called Hosokawa).
Master Uchimura says: “I would like to keep the quality which I can be satisfied with.“
As a master, she controlls her craft very strictly. One important side of her work is that she also has a great passion for the educational aspects and she likes to convey her knowledge to everyone interested adults as well as children.
Mrs. Uchimura’s Paper: