Japanese hand-made paper up for UNESCO heritage status


Traditional Japanese hand-made paper has been short-listed by a UNESCO preliminary review panel for possible inclusion on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the Cultural Affairs Agency said Tuesday.

Based on the panel’s recommendations, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee will decide in Paris in late November whether to list traditional hand-made paper from Saitama, Gifu and Shimane prefectures.

The paper products under consideration are traditionally made by hand, using only mulberry bark fiber.

If registered on the UNESCO list, awareness of traditional Japanese paper, including that produced in areas other than the three prefectures, is expected to grow, helping promote traditional Japanese crafts overseas.

The paper products short-listed for possible registration are Hosokawashi from Saitama, Honminoshi from Gifu and Sekishubanshi from Shimane.

Residents in the town of Ogawa and the village of Higashi-Chichibu village, both in Saitama and home of the Hosokawashi paper-making tradition, erupted in cheers after they learned their paper had been short-listed for the UNESCO list.

“There is nothing happier than this (news) for our community,” Higashi-Chichibu Mayor Risuke Adachi said, while Ogawa Mayor Tsuneo Matsumoto described it as an “honor.”