Chiyogami Real vs. Fake

If you’re shopping around for Chiyogami you may be confused by the broad differences in price. Before you stock up thinking you’re getting a good deal you may want to look at the paper a bit closer, what you’re buying could be a fake.

The Japanese Paper Place gives some great tips on how to recognize real Chiyogami from fake (or as I call it “faux-chiyo”).

“There are now several manufacturers who replicate Chiyogami using offset printing, a mechanical printing method used to produce large volumes of printed materials at low cost. Usually these papers have most colour layers applied at once, and then the gold detailing is added separately to make it look more authentic.

Chiyogami Printing Comparison

Offset reproduction, left; hand-silkscreened Chiyogami pattern, right.

At The Japanese Paper Place, we stock the original, hand-silkscreened papers. We believe in the beauty and quality that comes with the handmade print, and support the manufacturers who take the time and effort to continue the tradition. While they may cost a little more, they are worth the difference.

How can I recognize the real thing?

  • Intense colour and resistance to fading. The pigment-based inks used in authentic Chiyogami create a distinctively intense colour that stands up well to fading and use.
  • Colour layers. You can often see or feel the different layers of colour applied on the base sheet.
  • Paste residue. On the back of each sheet of genuine Chiyogami you will often find a harmless paste residue. This comes from the papers being temporarily pasted to boards as they travel from one colour station to the next.

To give a good visual example of how many layers go into real Chiyogami, in Plum Blossoms on Blue, six colour layers are applied. Below are samples after each colour layer has been applied, culminating with the gorgeous final product on the right.”

Chiyogami Layers

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