Interview with Saori Nishikawa, Representative Director of Nishikawa Paper Industry


Please tell us a little about your background. What in your personal life has influenced you to choose your career?

When I was young, I lived in Canada, and for the first time I felt the high aesthetic sense of the Japanese people abroad. I decided to take over the family business with the hope of one day transmitting this sense of beauty from Japan to the rest of the world.

What is the biggest challenge that you have encountered on your professional journey?

I am still learning every day to make sure that the finished product meets the customer’s wishes for paper thickness and warping.

What do you love about what you do?

I like that paper, a familiar material in our daily lives, can be made into a variety of desired forms. And also the fact that we make “folk crafts that are used daily” rather than “decorative crafts”.

Could you please describe your typical working day?

I start my day by handing out coffee to artisans who have been at work since 6:30 a.m.

My daily tasks include morning meetings, checking the progress of the work, drafting estimates, taking care of customer service and showing around the factory when there is a workshop, making product samples, etc.

What are the sources of inspiration for your creative work?

Although our company is mainly an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), we try to create products while imagining the feelings of the people who will use them. As for our own brand, we aspire to create paper goods that people would like to give to their loved ones.

What are your plans and goals for the next couple of years? What do you wish to achieve?

Our company would like to contribute to the revitalisation of the South Ward of Kyoto, which is becoming more and more popular with inbound visitors, and in two years, we would like our factory tours and workshops to be filled with international visitors.

Please tell us why would you recommend your work/products to craft and design lovers. What positive impact they can make on people’s lives?

The best part of our work is that we make “folk crafts that are used every day,” not something to be only looked at or displayed, so you can feel the texture of the paper and use them with affection every day.

If you plan to visit the studio and learn more about Kyoto paper craft techniques, book your experience here: NISHIKAWA PAPER INDUSTRY

Interview, translation & images by Anastasiya Bulkavets (