For this year’s DM, we collaged scraps of parchment papers. They were given to us by the “Deer Skin Paper Project,” reincarnating the skin of Japanese deer.
It is a project that Shuji Kawada, the president of shujiworks, has been working on since 2015.
Deer have been cherished in Japan since ancient times. However, the number of deer has increased far beyond expectations, and nearly 600,000 deer are captured each year as vermin that destroy satoyama, country side forests. Although captured deer are sometimes used as gibier or leather products, more than 98% of deer skins are disposed of.
But what if we could not only capture the deer, but also make use of their skins, which are fragments of life, as parchment? This is how Mr. Kawada started his journey into deerskin paper production.
We empathized with this and thought that we would like to help spread awareness of this project to as many people as possible, and this is how we came to be involved.
Deerskin paper, which is said to live for 1,000 years, is flexible and beautiful, and can be transparent to light, soft, or thick. Toward a future where forests, deer, and people can live naturally, we hope that our thoughts will come true.
KAWADA SHUJI / Deerskin Paper Project Representative
Born in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Since 2010, has been running the “shujiworks hand-sewn leather workshop and class”
2015 Obtained hunting license and became a hunter. Started the deerskin parchment project.
2018 Started experimenting with making deerskin parchment
2021 “Deerskin parchment making method” patented
2022 “Deerskin paper” and “Millennium Living Paper” trademark registered
2023 Deer skin paper showroom “Deer skin paper and figs” scheduled to open
Spent my childhood running in the mountains and diving in the sea, experiencing nature. As an adult, I worked with chemicals and learned leather craftsmanship, and chose to teach leather tailoring. In the process of exploring leather, I became a hunter and learned about the problems that occur in the forests. I wondered what I could do with the experience and knowledge I had accumulated. This was the beginning of the Deerskin Paper Project.