Wataru Hatano studied oil painting at Tama Art University before moving to Kurotani in the northern Kyoto prefecture in 1996. The region has been central to washi (traditional paper) making for over 800 years and Hatano became very interested in its quality, deciding to train at Kurotani Washi to learn the skills of its production.
Hatano is now a highly acclaimed washi craftsman and papermaker, with an eponymous company that pioneered using washi to create furniture, crockery, wallpaper and flooring, subsequently broadening and enhancing the washi industry. The raw materials needed for washi, Kozo trees and fresh water, are readily available in Kurotani. Hatano’s innovative use of washi as a construction material is enabled by applying additional Japanese materials, such as soil, konnyaku paste, persimmon tannin and vegetable oil, to its surface to imbue it with additional properties. Hatano combines a deep understanding of tradition with a contemporary approach, making his works, in all their different forms, so in demand.