GOTSU, Shimane Prefecture--Perfect for catnaps or just hanging out, houses and beds for felines, created by craftspersons of traditional Japanese "washi" paper here, are gaining in popularity among pet owners.
Makoto Sasaki, 60, and his wife, Satomi, 52, who operate the Sekishu Kachiji Banshi washi workshop, in the Sakuraecho district of Gotsu, Shimane Prefecture, developed the products.
Using homegrown "kozo," a plant of the mulberry family, as the raw material, the couple make thick washi paper and overlap them in eight layers to a thickness of about 1 centimeter.
Then, they paste colored washi on the surface. If the surface washi became dirty, it can be changed.
Their products are offered in five types. One is an igloo-shaped house, about 40 centimeters high, priced at 34,800 yen ($317), including tax. Another is peanut shaped, which is about 60 cm long and priced at 18,600 yen.
It takes about two months from receiving an order to completing the product. Requests on colors and shapes are accepted.
"Our products can’t be crushed even if adults sit on them," Makoto said.
The couple began to sell the products in January 2018. Since then, orders have come from throughout Japan, particularly from women.
"I hope that our products will become good opportunities for people to learn about the depth of washi," Satomi said.
Orders can be made at the workshop’s website (https://sekishu-kachijiwashi.com/).