We sadly inform of the passing of Mr. Kazuo Yamaguchi (1931-2023)
Mr. Kazuo Yamaguchi – the Japanese papermaker who held the title of the Traditional Craftsman (Dentō Kougeishi) and owned the papermaking workshop in Echizen, a friend of Poland and Polish museum professionals – passed away on 17 February 2023, at the age of 92.
Mr. Yamaguchi was born on 17 January 1931 in Echizen, in the family which has been dealing with hand papermaking for a few generations. In fact, both his father and grandfather were papermakers and it is highly probable that also his earlier ancestors had been exercising this profession.
Kazuo Yamaguchi became the owner of the family papermaking workshop after he had graduated from the gymnasium Nanetsu in Echizen. He led the workshop together with his spouse Kinuko Yamaguchi. He has been dealing with hand papermaking for about 75 years, providing the sheets of highest quality. The workshop was eventually closed in 2019, after Mrs. Kinuko’s death. Due to his advanced age, Mr. Kazuo was no longer able to continue work, and his son Kazunori Yamaguchi had chosen another profession.
In 2021, in agreement with his son, Mr.Kazuo Yamaguchi donated the papermaking workshop – which has been the basis of the family’s existence throughout the decades – to the Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki Zdrój. This donation is of great importance not only to the Museum, but also to the Polish culture. The decision on the donation, made by Mr. Yamaguchi and his son, ranks Poland among few European countries which pride themselves with valuable collections of the Japanese hand papermaking. In fact, the papermaking workshop of Mr. Kazuo Yamaguchi, in combination with the group of handmade sheets originating from Echizen, form one of the most valuabe collections related to the Japanese hand papermaking in Europe, currently stored on the premises of the Museum in Duszniki.
The historic and cultural value of the workshop, which has been donated to the Polish public collections in absolutely honorable way, urged the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage prof. Piotr Gliński to award to Mr. Kazuo Yamaguchi the Decoration of Honor „Meritorious for Polish Culture”. The award ceremony took place on 19 August 2022, in the Embassy to the Republic of Poland in Tokyo.
Kazuo Yamaguchi was laid to rest in the Hotokuji temple cementery in Echizen (in the territory of the papermaking village Otaka, which is the part of the Echizen agglomeration).