While mention is made of an Iyo paper in the Engishiki, an official document on court protocol written in the Heian period (794-1185), hard facts about Ozu paper do not exist until the 18th century. The monk, Zennoshin was responsible for teaching people how to make paper, when he came to one of the villages of the Ozu clan, and what developed into a craft industry flourished under the protection and patronage of the clan. The quality of this paper was highly praised and now many people are still engaged in the production of this handmade paper, respectfully following those that went before them.
Because every sheet is individually made, there is none of the impersonality of a machine-made paper. Apart from traditional papers, which are still being produced, the handmade paper market has been expanded by producing colored papers for chigiri-e pictures made from many small pieces of torn paper. 7 nationally recognized Master Craftsmen are among the 45 who are employed by 4 firms making translucent shoji screen paper, and fine calligraphy papers in a time honored fashion.
- Ozu Handmade Paper Association
- 1240-1 Hiraoka Ko,
Kita-gun, Ehime Prefecture