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Traditional Japanese Specialty Papers

An Annotated Miscellany

Thanks to Japan's rich tradition of papermaking, many Japanese papers don't fit neatly into categories covered on other pages of International Paper Sizes. Thus EDS Inc., Editorial & Design Services, has gathered them together under the rubric "Specialty Papers." Here we record measurements of papers for photographic prints and of selected common traditional papers. Few artisans now produce traditional handmade Japanese papers. Mass-produced imitations of most traditional papers are widely available.

Note that in the interest of legibility, Japanese terms are not italicized in tables. Also note that in transliterating Japanese, standard Japanese keyboarding is used to represent sustained vowels (those normally accented with macrons when romanized), e.g., "ou" usually represents a sustained "o," but it can also represent two discrete syllables. If precise pronunciation distinctions are important, please consult a Japanese-English dictionary or a native speaker of Japanese.

Papers for Photographic Prints Washi
Contemporary Stationery Wrapping and Book Binding Papers

Papers for Photographic Prints
Metric measurements are the cut sheet size; Inch measurements are
approximate (calculated at 25.4 mm = 1 inch and rounded off).
Common
Name
Trade
Name
MM Inches Usage and Comments
Zenshi JP 18 x 22 457 x 560 18 x 22 1/16 Zenshi is literally "full sheet"
Han-kiri JP 14 x 17 356 x 432 14 x 17 Han-kiri is literally "1/2 sheet"
Yotsu-giri JP 10 x 12 254 x 305 10 x 12 Yotsu-giri is literally "1/4 sheet"
Mutsu-giri JP 8 x 10 203 x 254 8 x 10 Mutsu-giri is literally "1/6 sheet"
Yatsu-giri JP 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 165 x 216 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 Yatsu-giri is literally "1/8 sheet"
Dai Kyabine JP 13 cm x 18 cm 130 x 180 5 1/8 x 7 1/16 Dai Kyabine is "large cabinet" size
Kyabine JP 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 120 x 165 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 Kyabine is "cabinet" size
Nimai-gake JP 4 x 5 102 x 127 4 x 5 Nimai-gake (literally "half-plate
sheet film") is commonly called
"shi no go" (literally "4 by 5")
Posutokaado JP 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 89 x 140 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 Posutokaado means "postcard"*
Dai Tefuda JP 9 cm x 13 cm 90 x 130 3 9/16 x 5 1/8 Dai Tefuda is literally "large
playing card"; Saabisu means
"service"; Tefuda is literally
"playing card"; these three (and
close variants) are the sizes
normally delivered to consumers
as snapshot prints
Saabisu -- 82 x 114 3 1/4 x 4 1/2
Tefuda -- 76 x 112 3 x 4 7/16
Dai Meishi JP 6.5 cm x 9 cm 65 x 90 2 9/16 x 3 9/16 Dai Meishi is literally "large
business card" size
* N.B. The standard size of postcards in Japan is 100 mm x 148 mm (3 15/16" x 5 13/16")

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Contemporary Stationery
Width precedes height; Metric measurements are the trimmed sheet size;
Inch measurements are approximate (calculated at
25.4 mm = 1 inch and rounded off).
Name MM Inches Usage and Comments
A4 210 x 297 8 1/4 x 11 11/16 JIS A4, the same size as ISO A4
B5 182 x 257 7 3/16 x 10 1/8 JIS B5, slightly larger than ISO B5
Kokusai-ban 216 x 280 8 1/5 x 11 Kokusai-ban is literally "international size,"
i.e., US letter size
Semi B5 or
Hyoujun-gata
177 x 250 7 x 9 13/16 Formerly called Hyoujun-gata ("standard
size"), Semi B5 is almost identical to ISO B5
Oo-gata 177 x 230 7 x 9 1/16 Oo-gata is literally "large size"
Chuu-gata 162 x 210 6 3/8 x 8 1/4 Chuu-gata is literally "medium size"
Ko-gata 148 x 210 5 13/16 x 8 1/4 Ko-gata is literally "small size"
Ippitsu sen 82 x 185 3 1/4 x 7 1/4 Ippitsu sen is literally "note paper"

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Washi
Reflecting its versatility, washi (traditionally made from fibers of the kouzo,
mitsumata, and gampi plants) is available in a broad range of sizes; Only
trade-sheet sizes of interest to the publishing and printing industries are
listed here; Metric measurements are the trade-sheet size; Inch measurements
are approximate (calculated at 25.4 mm = 1 inch and rounded off).
Name MM Inches Usage and Comments
Hanshi 242 x 343 9 1/2 x 13 1/5 Hanshi ("half sheet") is used for calligraphy
and as text paper in Japanese-style books
Mino 273 x 394 10 3/4 x 15 1/2 Mino (named after its place of manufacture,
in Gifu Prefecture) is used for calligraphy
and as text paper in Japanese-style books
Oohousho 394 x 530 15 1/2 x 20 7/8 Oohousho ("large housho"), Chuuhousho
("mid-size housho"), and Kohousho ("small
housho"), soft, thick, high-grade papers, are
used for calligraphy and as text paper in
Japanese-style books
Chuuhousho 364 x 500 14 5/16 x 19 11/16
Kohousho 333 x 470 13 1/8 x 18 1/2
Nishi no Uchi 333 x 485 13 1/8 x 19 1/16 Nishi no Uchi (named after its place of
manufacture, in Ibaraki Prefecture) is a
strong, rough-textured paper
Fusuma 939 x 1757 36 15/16 x 69 1/8 Fusuma-size paper (large enough for cover-
ing sliding doors/room partitions) is available
in a wide variety of grades and finishes

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Wrapping and Book Binding Papers
Metric measurements are the trade-sheet size; Inch measurements are
approximate (calculated at 25.4 mm = 1 inch and rounded off).
N.B. The first five papers here are types of washi.
Name MM Inches Usage and Comments
Oohousho 394 x 530 15 1/2 x 20 7/8 Oohousho ("large housho"), Chuuhousho
("mid-size housho"), and Kohousho ("small
housho"), soft, thick, high-grade papers, are
used for calligraphy and as text paper in
Japanese-style books
Chuuhousho 364 x 500 14 5/16 x 19 11/16
Kohousho 333 x 470 13 1/8 x 18 1/2
Chiyogami 640 x 970 25 3/16 x 38 3/16 Chiyogami (decorated with woodblock-printed
or stenciled patterns) and Momigami (crinkled
paper) are used in various crafts, wrapping
informal gifts, binding Japanese-style books,
and covering boxes and slipcases
Momigami 640 x 970 25 3/16 x 38 3/16
Chuu raisu
or Usugami
506 x 758 19 15/16 x 29 13/16 Chuu raisu ("medium rice paper") or Usu-
gami ("thin paper") is used for backing and
hinges in Japanese-style books
Kibouru
homban
636 x 758 25 1/16 x 29 13/16 Kibouru homban ("true yellow paperboard")
is an unbleached paperboard used for book
binding
Kibouru
shimban
712 x 803 28 x 31 5/8 Kibouru shimban ("new yellow paperboard")
is an unbleached paperboard used for cases
and slipcases

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Last updated January 15, 2004.
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