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The Bast fiber obtained from the bark of a shrub, Edgeworthia gardineri (formerly Edgeworthia papyrifera), that is native to Asia and cultivated in Japan. Mitsumata has been used for Paper since about 1600 CE. It is one of three main fiber types used for making Japanese paper. The soft, absorbent fibers produce a paper that is weaker and less absorbent that Kozo due to its shorter fiber length. Mitsumata paper also tends to shrink and expand with moisture content.


Other Properties

Fiber width = 4-20 microns. Striations are fine and irregularly spaced, often crossing to form a v shape. Parenchymal cells are long with irregular surface markings.

Paper fiber type: non-woody/bast. Using transmitted light microscopy, fibers appear to have a broad central portion with variable ends. the lumen varies in width. Appearance with Graff "C" stain: yellowish pink. Mistumata stains lighter than Kozo fibers. Average dimensions of fibers: length 3mm, width 9μm. Common pulping method: fibers are retted, then separated mechanically.

Additional Information

T.Collings, D. Miller, 'The Identification of Oriental Paper Fibers' The Paper Conservator, vol 3, 1978.

Additional Images


  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • Bernard Toale, The Art of Papermaking, Davis Publications, Portland OR, 1983

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