This came to my inbox today. Minoru-san sounds like a man who took great pride in his work. More can be learned about the Awagami Business here.
Minoru Fujimori 1916-2015
It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of Fujimori family and Awagami patriarch, Mr. Minoru Fujimori who died today peacefully at age 98 in the Fujimori family home.
6th generation papermaker, Minoru-sensei had taken over the family business in 1945 determined to continue the tradition of washi papermaking despite the difficult times following the war. His diligence paid off and in 1970, Minoru-san was designated as an Intangible Cultural Property of Tokushima in recognition of his masterful papermaking skills. As the demand for washi began to change from utilitarian to art & craft use, Minoru-sensei developed the countries first natural indigo-dyed washi. In response to the keen interest in his indigo-dyed washi, production of other hand-dyed papers started soon thereafter. In 1976, his ‘Awa washi’ was designated a ‘Traditional Craft Industry’ and in 1984, Minoru Fujimori was honored as a ‘Master Craftsman’ and awarded the Medal for Technical Excellence in recognition of his efforts to preserve the art of making Awa washi. 2 years later, he would receive yet another honor when, Minoru-san was awarded the title of Sixth Class Order of Merit, Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan himself.
All of us who enjoy and use washi owe a debt of gratitude to Minoru Fujimori for keeping the art of washi papermaking alive through some of the most difficult times in recent Japanese history. It is only through his courage, creativity and determination that Awagami exists – and for this we are forever grateful to him.
Minoru Fujimori had a long and highly successful life; touching many people around the world with his knowledge, generosity and kindness. We will forever live on with his spirit and shall continue washi papermaking at Awagami with the passion, knowledge and skill that he has so graciously taught us. Rest in peace, Minoru-sensei…