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Ikazaki Shachu inc.

Coporate Profille

Ikazaki Shachu Inc. was established as a washi wallpaper production and sales company in 2008. The founder of the company Hiroyuki Saito used to work in a large communications enterprise. At that time, the Economy and Industry Association of Uchiko-cho tried to create a brand of handmade washi, and to blend art gilding of golden foils into washi. However, such technology was not available then, and there was no fixed sales system. Saito got to know about this situation from his wife, who is originally from Uchiko-cho, and decided to become a washi entrepreneur. He learnt the techniques of gilding design for 2 years, before successfully blending gilding with washi in spring 2010.


The origins of this company, Uchiko-cho/ Ikazaki-cho of Kita-gun in Aichi Prefecture, were enriched with plants like kozo and mitsumata for making washi. Therefore, washi production became popular in the area. The area used to be occupied by the Old Ozu Clan, and so it had more than 350 years of connection with the Ozu Washi. There were more than 400 craftsmen at the end of Meiji era, but at the present only a few craftsmen have inherited the tradition.

Feeling the threat of disappearing art of washi, the Economy and Industry Association of Uchiko-cho started to promote washi brand Ikazaki Washi in 2006, efforts have been invested in selling the products within the country and abroad. This project was supported and part of the Japan Brand Development Assistance Program.


The president of Ikazaki Shachu, Saito, values the importance of reviving the traditional industry as part of the regional vitalization than just merely earning money as a company. The handmade washi made by this company uses raw materials from local factories. Therefore, if the company earns profits, the factories in the local region will also proportionately receive its share of benefits.

President Saito hopes that this system will help improving the issue of unemployment. His goal is to establish an active industry to employ more people and training more craftsmen to carry on this traditional industry. There are already several young people who are aiming to become professional craftsmen of handmade washi, making the situation much more promising.


The core product of our company is the “Gilding Series”, which is a type of wallpaper made from gilded handmade washi. The gilding process involves designing the surface of the cloth, wood or paper using gold, silver or bronze leaf. The oxidized surface of the metal renders a symbolic texture. The creator of this technique, a French gilding expert Gabor Ulveczki, created this design based on the Japanese traditional patterns.

Design templates are placed over a piece of washi, and painted over with original designs. After the template design sticks onto the paper, gold leaf is placed over it. The surface of the washi is now designed with golden patterns.

This series does not merely function as wallpaper. Other uses include placing them onto panels and frames, creating art pieces of exhibition, fusuma (fusuma are vertical rectangular panels which can slide from side to side to redefine spaces within a room, or act as doors in Japanese architecture)and small items such as book covers and letter sets.

This company is actively promoting its goods overseas; campaigns like washi exhibitions have been carried out in cities like Tokyo, Paris and Shanghai. President Saito is confident about the promising overseas market.

Ikazaki Shachu inc.


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