A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet

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<ul><li><p>7/27/2019 A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet</p><p> 1/4</p><p>A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet</p><p>Text and photos by Padmapani L. Perez,VERA Files</p><p>Asao Shimura is a wandering artist, a bookmaker and a visionary who builds his handmade paper</p><p>dreams in the tranquil mountain sitio of Poking, Barangay Labueg in Kapangan, Benguet province.</p><p>When he was 23 years old and a graduate of industrial chemistry from Tokyo Technical College, he</p><p>was introduced to washi(Japanese handmade paper) and indigo dyeing for the first time in Fukuoka</p><p>Prefecture in Japan in 1973. Captivated, he studied papermaking and natural dye in traditional</p><p>workshops. Eventually he moved to a thatched hut in the countryside to concentrate on</p><p>making washiand miniature books with a letterpress given to him by his brother. Later, his</p><p>papermaking quest led him to travel across all the continents, befriending artists and artisans, and</p><p>exchanging techniques and ideas. He also organized international paper conferences and</p><p>participated in exhibits.</p><p>He first came to the Philippines in 1989 when the Duntog Foundation invited him to teach</p><p>papermaking in Baguio for two years. He met and married his wife, Andrea, in 1991. They made their</p><p>home where her roots are---in Poking. They now have four children. Since then he has traveled the</p><p>length and breadth of the archipelago, giving papermaking workshops and searching for new</p><p>materials for his craft.</p><p>He uses mostly native materials likepia (pineapple), saba (banana), bajateng (wild banana), ricestraw, bamboo, mulberry, hemp and abaca. He also experiments with fibers of wild plants. From</p><p>Poking he promotes handmade paper across the globe. Artists from around the world seek Asaos</p><p>paper creations. He sends and receives packages of paper, materials and artwork through the</p><p>Kapangan post office.</p>http://verafiles.org/http://verafiles.org/http://verafiles.org/http://verafiles.org/</li><li><p>7/27/2019 A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet</p><p> 2/4</p><p>Asao prepares the kami nabe for his guests.He</p><p>continues to make miniature books. Nowadays he uses a computer and a digital printer that can</p><p>print on handmade paper and regular paper. His miniature books measure 3 by 2 inches and are</p><p>bound in the traditional, hand-sewn yotsume toji(four-hole binding) way. They are mostly aboutpapermaking but Asao also writes about his travels. His latest book isDenawon Sid-ag, which means</p><p>honey hunting in Ibaloy. In it are Asaos photos and story about going with his friends on a hunt for</p><p>wild honey in Kapangan.</p><p>Last July 7, guests from Baguio, Japan and the Kapangan local government attended the fa-</p><p>jiopening (soft opening) of the Asao Mini Museum, situated right beside the dirty kitchen of his</p><p>familys home.</p><p>Ricky Belino demonstrates paper making with bajateng</p><p>(wild banana) pulp.Asaos assistant, Ricky Belino, gave a papermaking demonstration,</p><p>using bajatengpulp. Tapey (rice wine) andpinikpikan (a traditional Igorot way of preparing</p><p>chicken) were served alongside kami nabe (a Japanese soup-based dish cooked in a paper pot) a</p><p>fitting combination, given the way Japanese and Ibaloy cultures blend and influence each other</p><p>inside Asaos home.</p>http://l2.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/MaTr6g1HuPSZpVfwpI9K6w--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http:/media.zenfs.com/en-PH/blogs/inbox/Ricky-Belino-demonstrates-paper-making-with-bajateng-wild-banana-pulp..jpghttp://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/_01vKiCVpFh938Vl0VP1Hg--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http:/media.zenfs.com/en-PH/blogs/inbox/Asao-prepares-the-kami-nabe-for-his-guests..jpghttp://l2.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/MaTr6g1HuPSZpVfwpI9K6w--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http:/media.zenfs.com/en-PH/blogs/inbox/Ricky-Belino-demonstrates-paper-making-with-bajateng-wild-banana-pulp..jpghttp://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/_01vKiCVpFh938Vl0VP1Hg--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http:/media.zenfs.com/en-PH/blogs/inbox/Asao-prepares-the-kami-nabe-for-his-guests..jpg</li><li><p>7/27/2019 A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet</p><p> 3/4</p><p>On exhibit this month are 34 miniature, handmade paper books that he printed by letterpress in</p><p>Fukuhara, Japan in the 1980s. A few artists books are also on display. These are collaborations</p><p>between Asao and artists who work on paper with paintings, prints and poetry.</p><p>The next exhibit will focus on shifu, hand-woven textile made from paper thread. It will open on</p><p>November 6, 2013, which, Asao says with a twinkle in his eye, is the 100thbirth anniversary of French</p><p>Algerian philosopher Albert Camus.</p><p>A few of the 34 miniature books created by Asao on</p><p>exhibit in the Mini Museum.One of Asaos miniature books is a tribute to Camus 1942 existentialist and</p><p>absurdist novel,The Stranger, with a wood print portrait of Camus. The book, also entitled The</p><p>Stranger, is now part of the Camus Holdings at the Cite du Livre, Aix en Provence, France. Asao says</p><p>that although the main theme of his coming exhibit isshifu, Camus will be the sub-theme and he will</p><p>invite artists to collaborate with him on this. Just like the opening of the museum, this blending of</p><p>themes, too, isfa-ji(fuzzy).</p><p>Not serious, not clear, not formal, Asao says of his theme. Construction without drawings belongs</p><p>tofa-ji.</p><p>For example, rather than find a carpenter to build the mini museum, Asao decided to do it himself.</p><p>The doorframe, although slanted, works. When unlocked it automatically swings fully open as</p><p>though inviting guests into the tiny space. Inspired by miniature books for which the American</p><p>standard measurement is 3 by 3 inches, the mini museums walls measure about 3 by 3 meters.</p><p>Asao sprayed the cement walls with the pulp of local saba mixed with three different kinds of ochre</p><p>from France. Again the results were not what Asao expected. He had to spray several layers to make</p><p>the walls a vibrant, sunny yellow.</p>http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/Q_yKWWM7vie7vGcHgFyiuA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http:/media.zenfs.com/en-PH/blogs/inbox/A-few-of-the-34-miniature-books-created-by-Asao-on-exhibit-in-the-Mini-Museum..jpg</li><li><p>7/27/2019 A Japanese master papermaker in Benguet</p><p> 4/4</p><p>Underneath all thefa-ji-ness of the Asao Mini Museum and the master-artists story are a life-long</p><p>learners exploration of the intricacies of papermaking, and a teachers dedication to sharing</p><p>knowledge. Later this year, Asao will give workshops on book-making, bookbinding, and pia</p><p>papermaking among others. During this time, the Mini Museum will double as workspace.</p><p>The museum can be visited by appointment or by invitation only. Asao Shimura may be contacted on</p><p>Facebook, where he posts announcements on his work, photos of everyday life and the glorious</p><p>sunsets and sunrises of Poking, Kapangan, Benguet.</p><p>(VERA Filesis put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin</p><p>for true.)</p><p>http://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-</p><p>220030136.html#more-id</p>http://verafiles.org/http://verafiles.org/http://verafiles.org/http://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-220030136.html#more-idhttp://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-220030136.html#more-idhttp://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-220030136.html#more-idhttp://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-220030136.html#more-idhttp://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/japanese-master-papermaker-benguet-220030136.html#more-idhttp://verafiles.org/</li></ul>