Various kinds of paper for calligraphy, paper crafts, art papers and specialist papers to be used in the home are made under a name, which is mentioned in connection with paper presented to the court in an official Heian period (794-1185) document, the Engishiki. This has led people to believe that Tosa was already a center for the production of paper during this period.
With plentiful supplies of raw material to hand, paper making flourished and during the Edo period, nanairogami, a colored paper from Tosa, was presented to the Shogunate. By the beginning of the 20th century Tosa was the country's largest producer of paper and those traditions are still being preserved in what is one of the country's most advanced areas for the making of handmade Japanese papers.
The area can provide everything in the way of skills and equipment for papermaking as well as a plentiful supply of fine quality raw material, which helps to assure the quality of the product. The area can also offer a wide range of different papers ranging from art and calligraphy papers to shoji screen papers, because each sheet is individually made from a rich source of local supplies.
All the papermaking process, including the gathering of materials and tools, are completed locally. The high quality and abundant local materials make Tosa Washi superior to others. Also, they are great in variety as each house of craftsmen produces different kind of papers.
How to make
First, skin of material plants such as mulberry, edgeworthia, gampi, hemp or straw are boiled after dirt is removed. After washing non-pulp components and alkalines away, the remaining will be bleached, cleaned and pounded to take out the pulp which becomes paper. Tororo aoi (hibiscus) is mixed into the solution to add viscosity when spreading the pulp to form a sheet of paper. There are two methods in washi making to spread the pulp, which are Nagashi-suki and Tame-suki.