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About Karacho

*Kyo karakami is a type of woodblock print art traditionally used in sliding doors, found today in temples, tea rooms, and – most famously – the Katsura Rikyu, the imperial family’s detached palace in Kyoto. This style of Japanese traditional paper, patterned gorgeously in mica and other colourful ink, has been appreciated by a wide range of classes in old Japan: the aristocracy, Buddhist and Shinto clergy, tea masters, and even town merchants. It continues to exude a modern and refined beauty which speaks to our sensibilities today. The origins of karakami go back to the Heian period, when the paper was first produced for eiso ryoshi (special papers used for inscribing poetry). Only later was it used as material for sliding doors.

Karakami paper culture is said to have developed dramatically in the mid-Edo period, and “Karacho”, maker of kyo karakami paper, was founded in the mid-17th century. Despite the ravages of time and nature, Karacho has managed to preserve a rich heritage: 650 wooden blocks, the oldest of which dates from 1792. Each of the prints, with subtle glow of mica on exquisite Japanese paper, is a superb article of craftsmanship. “KIRA KARACHO” is the new brand from “Karacho”, the only karakami store founded during the Kanei period [1624-1643], bringing the tradition of karakami into everyday life in a range of interior goods and postcards.
Karacho (Japanese only)


About Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu

*Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu is a nationally acclaimed bag-maker, with its atelier only a stone’s throw away from Higashiyama Chion-in Temple in Kyoto. The company handcrafts easy-to-use bags from thick cotton and linen duck canvas, with immediately recognizable tags of “Shinzaburo Hanpu” and “Shinzaburo Kaban”. The company originally made professional-use bags: delivery bags for milk men, sake sacks for sake shops, and ice containers for ice makers. Currently around 70 craftsmen of various ages are involved in the production of the hand-crafted bags. The company also custom-designs original duck canvas, bands, tape, and clasps to ensure quality material is used for its bags. Even today Shinzaburo continues to refuse to wholesale, sticking stubbornly to its honored tradition of making and selling only in Kyoto. Natural duck canvas acquires a unique charm and warmth the longer it is used; this maybe one of the reasons that so many owners become strongly attached to their Shinzaburo bags.
Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu (Japanese only)



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