MAU Art & Design Glossary

Imitation Japanese Vellum



Imitation Japanese vellum (mozoshi) is a large-size sheet of paper. Because of its smooth surface, pencils and crayons, etc. travel well over it and it is ideal for drawing or sketching.

It is thin and there is little difference in the texture of the two sides. The shiroku size (1091 mm × 788 mm) is the most common size, but it is also sold in 10-meter rolls etc. It is available in various colors and some are printed with grids.

Imitation Japanese vellum has its roots in the Japanese vellum (kyokushi) produced by the Printing Bureau of the former Ministry of Finance in the Meiji era. Being durable and beautiful in appearance, Japanese vellum was popular when it was exported to Europe. Later, paper resembling Japanese vellum was produced in Europe from chemical pulp. In due course, this imitation was re-imported back into Japan as high-quality Western paper, which in turn was imitated using chemical pulp in Japan, and became the imitation Japanese vellum we know today. In Japan, imitation Japanese vellum is called by different names such as taiyoshi, hiroyoshi, obanshi and B-shi, depending on the region.

Overuse of watercolors and other paints, etc. with a lot of moisture content will cause warping and wrinkling of the paper surface.
Imitation Japanese vellum can be purchased at art supply stores, etc.

* The example (photo) is of a test sample to demonstrate the properties of the paper and the possible expressions. It is not a recommendation of any particular type of material. (Materials that are not generally suitable are also used to demonstrate.)


  • Imitation Japanese vellum (close-up)Imitation Japanese vellum (close-up)
  • Strokes on Imitation Japanese vellum