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INTERVIEW

Yasuo Kobayashi
Washi (Japanese paper) artisan. Born in Kadoide, Niigata Prefecture, in 1954. He is a representative of Echigo Kadoide Washi and established the Kadoide Washi Cooperative Production Association in 1976. Starting with the cultivation of paper mulberries which are used as the raw material for kozo paper, he has been deeply involved in projects to stimulate the development of Washi since 1982, promoting exchanges between urban and rural areas, repairing thatched houses and using them as a work space. A brand of Japanese sake named “Kubota” went on sale in 1985. It uses Washi for its labels and has now sold over three million units. Its production has generated employment in the local region. In 2004 he opened the “Koshino Kigami Kobo” washi workshop as a base. In 2007 he installed wallpaper in the Suntory Museum, designed by Kengo Kuma, centered on the light-walls. Since 2015 he has pursued the Daichi no gakko (radical wonder school) plan to “enrich the five senses”, based on the belief that the primitive power is also needed for the future.