Tonbo (dragonflies); unbleached Japanese bamboo paper

The first release under the atelier’s new Musubi Labs imprint, this diary features paper made entirely from unbleached Japanese bamboo pulp, giving it its characteristic light brown colour and unparalleled ink absorption capacity.

Bamboo, and nothing but

Our first Musubi Labs release features an out-of-production paper from the golden age of Japanese papermaking. Made entirely from an unbleached, 100 per cent Japanese bamboo pulp, this paper has, unusually, no mix-ins of any sort — no wood pulp, no cotton rag, and no other adulteration whatsoever.

The end result is a mediumweight, light brown paper with a warm tone and, courtesy its 100% bamboo fibre construction, an extreme capacity to absorb and retain ink — depending on your choice of inks and washes, multiple layers of dye can be applied to the paper without any fibre-lifting behaviour or bleedthrough to the other side.

As such, while still suitable for day-to-day writing, this paper truly shines when used for art. Sketch, doodle, draw and wash to your heart’s content on one of the most unusual papers you’ll ever encounter.

A symbol of life

The lively dragonfly holds many meanings in Japanese culture. Farmers throughout Japan's agricultural history saw it as a beneficial insect that helped eliminate pests, and as a sign of the coming of spring. The tonbo pattern is thus associated with the rich bounties of the earth and a good harvest.

Only ever moving forward in flight, the tonbo was also considered a symbol of courage and victory by warriors, leading to its extensive use on weapons, armour, and other objects associated with victory and vitality.

Our mad scientists at play

Our Musubi Labs imprint is our experimental arm, designed to push the boundaries of fabric technology, papermaking, and bookbindery.

Whether via innovative fabric processing techniques, unusual source materials, or rare paper typically not available commercially, every Musubi Labs release blends modern technology with traditional construction techniques to provide a writing experience unlike any you’ve experienced before.

Socially conscious craftsmanship

Every Musubi journal is handbound in Singapore by a team of artisans with physical and intellectual disabilities. Your purchase funds employment opportunities for these talented individuals.

Gift packaging included

Every diary comes ready to gift, packaged in a Musubi box with a certificate hand-signed by our team of artisans with disabilities. The certificate doubles as a bookmark and has a grid guide sheet printed on its reverse side.