Originally seeking to find new uses for Japanese paper in a rapidly declining market, the makers of Kinkakuden set out to create a washi that could stand up to the rigours of offset printing and other machinised operations. The solution they created was ingenious: just one side of the paper is coated with a special sizing agent during the manufacturing process.
As a result, Kinkakuden is a unique paper with two distinct sides — one side holds ink better and is suited for drawing and printing with modern inks, while the other maintains the old-school, feathery feel of Japanese paper and will soften watercolours and paints laid upon it.
Unfortunately, much of the process still required the work of human hands rather than machines, and the modern realities of flagging demand for such a paper meant that the entire operation was not financially sustainable. In 2018, the makers of Kinkakuden closed their doors.