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About KARACHO・KARACHO's traditional woodblock patterns

Founded in Kyoto in 1624, KARACHO is the only Karakami atelier in Japan that has remained in existence since the Edo period. KARACHO’s artistry has expressed the beauty of Japanese culture through wallpaper and sliding door paintings that have graced cultural treasures including Katsura Imperial Villa, Nijo Castle, and Yogen-in—as well as modern interiors, and all of their karakami have been hand-printed on Japanese washs papers with the woodblocks handed down from generation to generation. Japan can boast about KARACHO’s view of the world and its aesthetic from their patterns and colors to the world. Some of their woodblocks collection have their background which conveyed along the Silk road from Eurasian culture, and the others were sophisticated by the japanese original way, then totally KARACHO is home to 650 woodblocks.   We can find the view of the KARACHO patterns world in woodblocks which the predecessors handed down since Edo period over thousands of years as it is, and that could be called a decorative art produced by the world of patterns and colors, and there exist stories and spiritualities of patterns handed from generation to generation. We would like to tell stories of KARACHO’s culture and spirituality to the world and the next generations, which we could find beautiful shadows among karakami under the natural light, moon light or candle light in the old days , it could be said that the culture of light as well as wishing the happiness in the world.  

About our KARAKAMI・KARACHO's traditional woodblock patterns

Karakami was originally used in the Heian period as a paper for writing poetry, but as architectural styles evolved in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, it came to be used to decorate interior features such as single-panel and folding screens, sliding doors, and walls. The Edo period saw a dramatic increase in the popularity of Karakami, which was used in all sorts of places to add spice to people’s lives in ways that reflected their personal tastes and interests. Furthermore some of karakami artisans had started their business in Edo area.

According to the document in KARACHO, it says there are 13 karakami ateliers in Kyoto in 1839, and most of them lost their woodblocks at an incident called Hamagurigomon in 1864. At that time, KARACHI protected their woodblocks in a warehouse to escape from the fire of that incident. In Meiji era there were just 5 karakami ateliers. After that, due to the changes of life styles such as civilization and enlightenment, some of karakami atelier generally stopped their business and those who in Edo area lost their woodblocks at Kanto big earthquake and Tokyo air raid, and then finally they close their ateliers. After World War Ⅱ, the 10th owner of KARACHO helped some ateliers in Edo area to re-start their business, and we can see some beginner to produce karakami paper, but karakami artisan named Choemon is the only Karakami atelier in Japan that has remained in existence since the Edo period, in other words, KARACHO.

KIRA KARACHO is the brand produced by the husband-and-wife team of TOTO AKIHIKO and Aiko Senda.
We have been working to make a lot of opportunities to make karakami papers and KARACHO culture popular, and also trying to manufacture another products with karakami paper, corroborate with somebody, and develop new products made of different material but using with KARACHO patterns apart from papers. The purpose of our activities is that we wish all people spend happy lives with karakami papers and then our goods produced with KARACHO patterns and colors will tell our thought to further countries and much larger number of people in the world.

Our brand concept is ‘Life with KIRA KARACHO’ and we would like to suggest our customers ‘ art de vivre’ , in other word ‘ art in everyday life’ through our karakami papers.
It means that people can spend lives with their favorite things which they select with their own sense of beauty and hold it through the art in everyday life. Our mission is that people can understand their favorites with their own values and spend lives with sense of beauty.

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