The Mark of Beauty: Shoji screens

NHK Educational

Point 1 : The Role of Shoji Screens
Shoji screens were used since the Heian period (794–1185) as interior fittings for traditional Japanese buildings.  Originally they were for separating room from room, or interior from exterior, but their distinctive ability to "allow light to pass" by utilizing washi paper panels enriched Japanese domestic culture and became an indispensable part of home life.
Point 2 : Shoji Paper
Traditional Japanese paper (washi) is made primarily from the fibers of the bark of the kozo (mulberry), mitsumata, and gampi plants. It's characterized by the stability of its color and its durability.
The source material for shoji paper is mulberry fiber.  The bark of the mulberry tree is peeled away to the inner white layer, which is soaked in water. The scum of water-soluble impurities is removed and the fibers softened. Traditionally, the method of "river bleaching" involved soaking the mulberry bark in the flowing water of a river for two or three days. After this, it goes through a series of processes, including boiling, removing discolored parts, and beating, before eventually reaching the stage of dipping with a screen to make the paper sheets. 
After the process of rocking the fiber into sheets, the moisture is pressed out by applying pressure, then the sheets are separated and pasted onto boards using a special brush and sun-dried.
The finished paper is carefully inspected by hand sheet by sheet.  The paper is held up to the light and any sheets with damage, flaws, foreign matter or irregularities are removed and the paper is also carefully sorted by thickness.
Point 3 : Variations of Shoji Screens
Used in conjunction with glass, shoji add richness to living spaces. Author Osaragi Jiro's beloved Seseragi (Murmuring Brook) Room — When all the half-glass yukimi (snow-viewing) shoji are opened …
 a panoramic scene unfolds.
The Kiri (Paulownia) #3 Room was a favorite room of the author Kawabata Yasunari, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The intricate woodwork of the shoji screens recreate the scenery of Hakone. Scenes of the sunrise at daybreak and a mist-covered mountain are depicted like landscapes within the shoji screens themselves
Shoji can create a graceful connection with the outside world.
The Mark of Beauty : NHK Educational
Credits: Story

Kankyuan Foundation
Former Imai Residence and Mino Archives
Masashi Sawamura Minowashi Factory

Photography by Tadayuki Minamoto

Music by Kazuki Sugawara

Supervised by
Maezaki Shinya, Associate Professor, Kyoto Women's University
Maiko Behr

Produced by NHK Educational Corporation


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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