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Japanese washi makers produce paper for Olympic certificates ahead of 2021 Tokyo Games05:10

Japanese washi makers produce paper for Olympic certificates ahead of 2021 Tokyo Games

Japan, Daigo
January 24, 2021 at 03:10 GMT +00:00 · Published

Washi makers in Daigo, Ibaraki Prefecture, are gearing up for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games by producing the traditional Japanese paper that will be used to make certificates for medalists, despite uncertainty over whether the event will be held amid the pandemic.

On Saturday, workers were seen placing bundles of mulberry tree trunks in a steaming oven, before peeling off the shoots and leaving only the white inner-bark. Washi paper is made with the latter.

"This mulberry paper is so thin but it can't be torn. It's strong and long lasting. It was kept for hundreds of years, so old Japanese literature were made with this Japanese paper," explained Komuro Kaoru, a volunteer at the Daigo-Kozo preservation society.

Komuro Kaoru deplored however the fact that younger generations do not pursue this craft.

"All of us are now elderly, and all the young people say that they don't like this kind of work, and they are leaving. But we want to continue this culture for a long time, we hope for power coming from younger people though it's quite difficult. But if possible, we want young people to come back. The average age here right now is over 70 years old," he shared.

Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but are for now due to take place in July 2021, despite a low public support in Japan. In a recent polling, 80 percent of respondents were in favour of a further delay or a cancellation of the event.

"I hope the Olympics will be held and the green light will be given so that it will be broadcasted to the world," said Kunihiko Saito, the chairman of the Daigo-Kozo preservation society.

Japanese washi makers produce paper for Olympic certificates ahead of 2021 Tokyo Games05:10
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Washi makers in Daigo, Ibaraki Prefecture, are gearing up for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games by producing the traditional Japanese paper that will be used to make certificates for medalists, despite uncertainty over whether the event will be held amid the pandemic.

On Saturday, workers were seen placing bundles of mulberry tree trunks in a steaming oven, before peeling off the shoots and leaving only the white inner-bark. Washi paper is made with the latter.

"This mulberry paper is so thin but it can't be torn. It's strong and long lasting. It was kept for hundreds of years, so old Japanese literature were made with this Japanese paper," explained Komuro Kaoru, a volunteer at the Daigo-Kozo preservation society.

Komuro Kaoru deplored however the fact that younger generations do not pursue this craft.

"All of us are now elderly, and all the young people say that they don't like this kind of work, and they are leaving. But we want to continue this culture for a long time, we hope for power coming from younger people though it's quite difficult. But if possible, we want young people to come back. The average age here right now is over 70 years old," he shared.

Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but are for now due to take place in July 2021, despite a low public support in Japan. In a recent polling, 80 percent of respondents were in favour of a further delay or a cancellation of the event.

"I hope the Olympics will be held and the green light will be given so that it will be broadcasted to the world," said Kunihiko Saito, the chairman of the Daigo-Kozo preservation society.