Mino Tekekami Kobo - Paper making

International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper (JPC) has been a cornerstone of knowledge exchange for over three decades. Its primary goal is to introduce conservators from around the world to Japanese techniques. Rather than confining itself to training conservators in Japanese art, the course aims to furnish a comprehensive 'toolbox of Japanese techniques' for those working with paper-based heritage.  

Each year, together with our partner, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, we welcome ten participants from different parts of the world to join the three-week course.  

In line with the 'learning by doing' approach, the practical sessions began with preparing starch paste and guiding participants through various papers and traditional tools, such as the renowned brushes, in creating a handscroll. The course thoroughly explored the 'lining' process (extensively used in Japanese and non-Japanese works), highlighting key factors like humidity, the timing between operations, and the materials' sensitivity to the tools. The fluidity of body movements is also emphasized as crucial to achieving the desired outcome. This methodology equipped participants with a nuanced understanding of paper conservation, reinforcing the idea that learning from mistakes is an invaluable part of the growth process. 

OKa BokkodoIn the recent course edition held from 28 August to 15 September 2023, participants learned not only Japanese paper conservation techniques but also gained a deeper understanding of their cultural contexts. During the study tour in the second week, the participants gained insight into how traditional techniques are preserved and transmitted through experiencing papermaking and visiting a restoration studio. 

Reinforcement Strips

From 1992 to 2023, we have had 238 participants in the JPC course, many of whom have successfully integrated and even adapted Japanese techniques into their own work. The positive feedback received attests to the efficacy of the teaching methods, which are particularly beneficial for mid-career conservators who organize workshops and instruct students in their respective countries. Sharing knowledge of these techniques helps build connections among former participants and extends its impact far beyond the confines of the course.