Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textiles as Cultural Expressions: Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 24–27, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii


Copyright 2008 by the author.



Tosa-washi (Japanese paper from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku, Japan) has been made in Kochi since the tenth century and Tosa-washi which was the first product of Tosa region was supplied to the Edo shogunate in the Edo period of the seventeenth century. The manufacture of Tosa-washi has been placed on the traditional industry of Kochi until now. It was specified in The Traditional Craftwork of the country in 1976, and specified in The Important Intangible Cultural Asset of the country in 2001. This study focuses on the creative activities of two craftswomen who weave washi-textile called shifu using Tosa-washi, and I examine the socio-cultural meaning of woven cloth.

Shifu made of mulberry (Broussonetia kazinoki×B.papyrifera) paper also had been woven in Kochi very much until the beginning of the twentieth century Fig.1.) Shifu means recycle of paper which became unnecessary after the characters were written to the threads. Because the clothes made of shifu are warmer than the clothes made of cotton, shifu were used for the substitution of cotton. Though the manufacture of shifu stopped in the post-World War Second era, there are craftswomen who weave shifu at present. This study takes up the creating activities of two craftswomen, Mei Kusakawa (1930- ) and Yuko Isozaki (1978- ) of different generations (Fig. 2.)