Tokyo to tout ‘washi’ for UNESCO list

Kyodo

Japan will propose its traditional paper-making techniques this year for the UNESCO list of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Cultural Affairs Agency said Wednesday.

The government will decide on the proposal this month and submit it to an intergovernmental committee of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by April 2.

The government will seek to have the proposal accepted at a meeting of the intergovernmental committee in November 2014.

The proposal will recommend the techniques for three brands of handmade “washi” Japanese paper — “Hosokawagami” in Saitama Prefecture, “Honminoshi” in Gifu Prefecture, and “Sekishu-Banshi” in Shimane Prefecture.

The Sekishu-Banshi paper-making technique was put on the list in 2009, while the Honminoshi paper-making proposal was turned down in 2011. The agency plans to integrate the three brands as Japanese washi paper-making techniques for the list.

The UNESCO list already covers 21 Japanese cultural assets, including the Sekishu-Banshi paper-making technique. The UNESCO committee will consider traditional Japanese food for the list at its meeting in November this year.