障子 shouji—paper screen doors

In an earlier post, I mentioned that the sliding paper screen doors of our Japanese-style room had some torn panels, and needed to be repaired. Today Yuko and I set about repairing them.

We had a roll of paper but needed some more supplies. We went back to the Kohnan hardware store and bought a bottle of liquid for removing the old paper, and a roll of double-sided tape for attaching the new paper.

First we dismounted the damaged door and set it down on the kitchen floor. We quickly realised that we would have to do the second door as well, because the new paper is a different colour from the old paper, so if we only did one door they wouldn’t match.

Then Yuko used the bottle of paper-remover as instructed.

Like magic, after a few minutes the old paper just peeled off easily. It’s great to have an appreciative audience!

Here we see the wooden lattice of the door, with the paper stripped off.

The next step was to stick on the double-sided tape, on each of the vertical and horizontal members and on the outer frame. We had decided to go with tape rather than a brush and glue, because we thought it would be less messy. The tape, however, wasn’t entirely trouble-free, and was really very unforgiving of the slightest mistake in a way that glue would not have been.

Rolling out the paper was a slow and painstaking process to try to achieve a smooth taut surface in each panel, and while not entirely successful, was pretty good for a first effort. The second door turned out better than the first.

By the way, we think we may have put the paper on the wrong way around (shiny side in) but it doesn’t matter. Here’s how it looked when we had finished, after about 2 hours’ work.

And here’s how the doors looked when we had remounted them. Not bad, eh?

Note on the word of the day:

The meaning of the word shouji is unclear to me. The first character means “hinder” and the second means “child”, but that doesn’t necessarily have any semantic connection with the screen door.

Here is an article where you can read more about shouji and their place in Japanese culture.

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5 thoughts on “障子 shouji—paper screen doors

  1. I’m enjoying these posts Dara, glad you’re settling in nicely!
    I will have to visit Japan again some time in future, what a great country.

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