Ichikawadaimon, located on the southernmost tip of the Kofu basin in the south of the Country of Kai (Yamanashi Prefecture), is a land of majestic peaks and clear water and has been known as a centre for washi production since the Heian period.

The history of ‘Onao’ has progressed alongside that of Ichikawadaimon’s paper industry.

In recent years, we have combined tradition with new technologies, developing paper that can also be used for interiors and for practical everyday products.

For the past five years, we have been working on the development of products using “Naoron”, a new type of paper that does not tear easily, in collaboration with Naoto Fukasawa, an industrial designer of international renown originally from Yamanashi. The name given to these products is SIWA. The name is a hybrid, derived from the “shiwa” or wrinkles in the paper, as well as being a reversal of the order of the word “washi” (Japanese paper), and refers to the harmony to be found in paper.

Mr Fukasawa shares his thoughts concerning this project:

“I am delighted to be working with Onao, who make traditional washi paper, and to be creating things that make the most of Onao’s history and skills.  We noticed a new texture to the supple paper used to cover shoji screens when we crumpled it up. Washi often seems to conjure up an image of traditional craft-related products, but I hope to create designs for the everyday that take advantage of its texture and embrace it as a material that is suited to today’s fashions and lifestyle”.

Since its release, the SIWA brand has become a well-loved product brand worldwide. We believe that this is because it honestly follows the feelings that people ascribe to paper.