Course provided by Future Learn

Study type: Online

Starts: Anytime

Price: Free


Deepen your understanding of rare books and Japanese culture

The papers inside books can last hundreds of years if cared for correctly.

This course will look at the history of papers used inside Japanese rare books, and in other cultures across the world.

You’ll learn about the materials and technologies used to produce Japanese papers, particularly the use of traditional washi paper.

You’ll understand the crafting process used to create Japanese rare books, including the use of design and decoration techniques.

You’ll find out how to identify the different types and varieties of papers used in Japanese rare books.

What topics will you cover?

In Week 1:

  • How to categorize washi paper.
  • How the washi paper is crafted.
  • What kind of materials are used to make washi.
  • What you can tell by examining washipaper.
  • The history of washi.

In Week 2:

  • How the washi is colored.
  • How to decorate washi during the sheet-forming process.
  • Gorgeous papers decorated with minerals and fabrics.
  • Even more variety of decoration such as embossing and shita-e.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in Japanese rare books and papers. It may be of particular interest to librarians and bookshop professionals, researchers and designers.

The course makes use of a number of visual resources which may unfortunately make some of the activities not accessible to learners with a visual impairment. Course videos are provided in Japanese with English subtitles.

This course can also be studied alongside two companion courses, Japanese Culture Through Rare Books and Sino-Japanese Interactions Through Rare Books.

The Educators/Hosts will facilitate this course for about three times a year. Our next facilitation period is 11 May – 24 May, 2020. While the Educators themselves aren’t available to facilitate this run, we encourage you to engage with other learners and there are opportunities to do this throughout the course.

Who developed the course?

Keio University

Keio University is Japan’s first modern institution of higher learning, and since 1858 has established itself as a leader in Japan through its continued commitment to education, research and medicine.