Thank you Europe!

Fifteen venues in one month

We returned to Tokyo last week after one month away in Europe. Motoharu Asaka would like to express a sincere thank you to everyone who contributed to the enormous success of the tour. We estimate that we taught around 160 people carving and printing techniques in our short workshops, and perhaps 100 more were in attendance at lectures and short demonstrations.

A stack of truly vibrant, serene, wacky and though-provoking images were left to us by those who participated and Asaka has already been enthusiastically showing them off to students in the studio in Tokyo for inspiration and a reminder of what can be accomplished in a short time!

We are truly grateful to everyone who participated this time and helped us spread the word about mokuhanga and the craft ecosystem in Japan that supports this artform.

Please find below a list of suppliers that you can purchase tools and materials for your ongoing exploration of woodblock printing.

Supplies for Europe / outside Japan

Woodlike Matsumura

All round store with specialist woodblock supplies
Pay via paypal

– Asaka purchases knives from Shimizu for students at the workshop, you can buy them via Woodlike Matsumura. These are professional quality, although you may struggle to sharpen them yourself if you are not accustomed to sharpening.
– Powergrip sets are available from woodlike. These are good quality and sharp, it is possible to sharpen them, though due to their price point they usually end up as disposable once they go blunt.
– Recommended mid-range barens are ball-bearing baren (in the mechanical baren section), murasaki baren, sosaku baren (in the traditional baren section) — these contain manufactured rope and often a plastic ategawa (back cover).
– Washi papers on this page may change according to their stock and supplier. Handmade “hand dipped” kozo (mulberry) paper is the standard-bearer. Gampi is used for transferring images on to the block in the traditional method, but unlikely to be used by beginners without training.
– Brushes made of horse tail hair, that have been “sharked” to split the hairs and make soft at the end are the best quality.

Awagami Factory

A range of papers available to purchase online in English with paypal. The constituent ingredients of the vat are listed. The paper we used on tour was Bamboo Select.

Ozu Washi

The oldest paper store in Tokyo, probably Japan. A building has been on this site selling paper for over 400 years. The shop in Tokyo is well worth a visit, they have a full collection of handmade paper from across Japan. You can purchase a small selection from their online shop.
– Tosa is a region, Echizen is a region, Mino is a region, hanga means printmaking, shizenshoku means natural color, “usu” with various suffixes and prefixes means thin. Torinoko is a famous paper that was used for various imperial documents, nowadays it’s a bit hard to tell if it’s really a high quality paper made by a prestigious papermaking family or just used for branding. You’d have to do more research about the family making it. Shintorinoko is a machine-made pulp-based poor imitation of the original. It’s great for printing oil-based linocuts but I don’t recommend for mokuhanga beyond test prints or student use.

The blue tub of Yamato nori on this page may be your answer to where to get starch glue outside of Japan
The amazing Pigment store

A true delight for your senses the next time you are in Tokyo. There are many other pigment stores in Tokyo and Japan with highly knowledgeable dealers and potentially cheaper prices but Pigment is the only place I know that will ship internationally from their English site. If you are ready to try printing with pure pigment you can purchase here, otherwise a good resource for nikawa – an animal glue needed for sizing raw paper (you also need alum) or as a binder for the pigment.

Intaglio Printmaker

Is the place to go in the UK, I’m told.




Near Mt. Fuji about 100km west of Tokyo
Often booked up one year in advance


In Seto Inland Sea (the most beautiful part of Japan, possibly the world in my humble opinion). Run by Awagami Paper Factory
Limited to one person or a few people, if you are non-Japanese you must be resident outside of Japan and if Japanese you must be resident in Japan. Juried selection, looking for artists for whom paper is integral to their finished work.

*Asaka and I are interested to start an intensive one or two week course in Japan. Please get in touch if you would be interested, it gives us an idea of what the demand might be while we undertake planning.


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Louise Rouse is a printmaker and book artist based in Tokyo. She teaches in the undergraduate art program at Temple University, Japan and has been helping at the Takumi studio for around 5 years.

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