It is thought that Mino Washi dates back to the Nara period (710-794), because records at the Shoso-in Repository show that it was used for a census during the 8th century. By the Muromachi period (1392-1573) the Rokusaiichi paper market was being held. This was set up by the locally influential Toki Nariyori and Mino Washi were shipped to Kyoto, Osaka and Ise, making it one of the best known papers of its times.
Like so much of Japan's handmade paper, Mino Washi is produced by the nagashisuki or ""tossing"" method. All the fibers ""knit"" together leaving no evidence of the forming process on the surface and, even if the finished paper is thin, it forms well and has the strength of a cloth. This makes it an ideal paper for many things but especially for the sliding translucent paper screens of the traditional house, and for documents that need to be preserved. Mino Washi is used for calligraphy, painting and also for making gold leaves.
Mino Washi is made using the "nagashi-suki" method of papermaking, creating a paper surface with well-knit fibres and without any unevenness, so the finished product is washi paper that is beautiful and even the thinnest varieties are as strong as cloth. It is ideal for shoji screens, document preservation, and more.
How to make
Generally, paper is made by two methods: either the "tame-suki" method where a paper mixture is scooped up in a frame lined with a mat and left to drain, or the "nagashi-suki" method. Mino Washi is made using the nagashi-suki method where the paper mixture isn't left to drain on the mat but is shaked horizontally and vertically, making adjustments according to information perceived by the craftsman, scooping up the mixture several times to create a smooth paper without any unevenness.