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Shoji screens

Japan With Kids - Forums: Repairs and Maintenance: Shoji screens
By Ruth Davis on Sunday, September 1, 2002 - 11:16 pm:

Does anyone know the cheapest way to get shoji screens repaired? We have a number of damaged ones in our apartment, with various sizes of holes (mostly due to children & cats).

By Tara on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 12:52 pm:

The going rate for handymen to do this seems to be Y10,000 to repair 2 screens, for the larger Handyman companies, anyway. Small-business handymen would presumably do it for less, but still would probably run about Y8,000, I think.

Most people do it themselves. You need (1) glue remover (to take off old shoji paper, maybe 500 yen), (2) new shoji paper (sold in rolls with either 2 or 4 sheets enclosed, 1000 yen; can choose from plain or patterned), (3) shoji glue (500 yen), and (4) and X-acto knife/blade (they sell special ones at the store which are supposed to be easier to use than regular cutter-knives; 150 yen).

They also sell some new kind which you just wet down via a sprayer bottle and then iron onto the wooden shoji frame -- apparently there is some heat-sensitive, water-sensitive glue on the paper already.

If you really want to have NICE shoji (hard with kids & cats), consider putting your shoji paper on in horizontal strips, instead of putting it on as one big piece. In other words, your wooden shoji frame should have 6 horizontal rows of blocks. Instead of sticking on one big piece of paper on the back which ALL has to be taken off and redone a year from now, stick on the paper in 6 horizontal strips. Probably in a year's time you can get away with redoing only, say, 3 of the rows, rather than the whole thing.

I bought my shoji paper at a local smallish store where there was no selection. One kind of paper and an impossible to use plastic baggie of glue. Head down to the Ito Yokado or Daiei instead and treat yourself to a selection of papers and glue in a bottle with a JustRightSize applicator tip.

Note from Admin: For smaller holes, you can buy little flower shaped "patches" at the 100 yen shops. Or you can cut your own "patches" out of origami paper and glue them on, maybe get the kids to add their creative input!

By Ruth Davis on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 11:06 pm:

Thanks very much for the very quick and comprehensive reply. I'll probably have a go at doing it myself, but just in case I don't... any idea where I could find a handyman?

By Admin on Wednesday, September 4, 2002 - 8:46 am:

"... find a handyman?"

Look at:

There are also folks that do just doors here. I had one do my closet doors (not called shoji, but something else, and a bit more expensive). But I haven't got the name and number handy. If I find it I'll post it.

By Ruth Davis on Sunday, September 8, 2002 - 12:21 am:

Sorry - silly question, but where are Ito Yokado or Daiei?

By Tara on Sunday, September 8, 2002 - 11:11 pm:

> silly question, but where are Ito Yokado or Daiei?

Sorry, I should have explained that better. Any medium /lower-end (inexpensive, family-oriented) department store will have this stuff. Super low-end stores probably won;t have a good selection and higher-end stores like Mitsukoshi won't have this at all, I don't think. So any department store which has a reasonable home goods selection (Think "4-floors-or-more & directly-in-front-of-a-suburban-train station" department store) will work fine. I am sure Tokyu Hands and that kind of place has a selection too but you will pay through the nose.

FWIW, the Ito Yokado Group (IYG) is a huge group containing department stores, restaurants and supermarkets and is also the behemoth that acquired the Seven Eleven convenience store franchise from the Southland corporation. IYG counts Skylark, Gusto, and "Denny's" restaurants among its subsidiaries. IYG is everywhere, although not always recognizable as being IYG (e.g., York Benimaru supermarkets / departement stores). Ito Yokado one of the Japanese companies that is always studied at business schools abroad (famous Stanford case study being of how they are really on the ball about getting fresh food to customers).

Daiei is the huge department chain which has Lawson convenience stores as a subsidiary (used to be focused in Western Japan but moved very rapidly into Eastern Japan & is also now spreading north, I think) and is also known for its baseball team, the Daiei Hawks, which has been a serious contender for the baseball championship in several of the most recent seasons. Daiei is on the verge of bankruptcy and has had huge screaming headlines running across tabloid newspapers on a pretty regular basis with reports/guesstimates of its ultimate viability for the past few months.

Tara, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

Note from Admin:
There is one Ito-Yokado location described in "Shopping and Shopping Centers" at

By Janine Boyd on Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 9:51 pm:

Just to add to do it yourself shoji the white paper sliding doors that serve the purpose of shutting out the light. My elderly neighbors just lift out the frames and hose the old paper off. I did that in summer. it was faster and cheaper than buying glue remover. In winter, I cover the drain and do it in the shower. That way I keep warm and whistle while I work. Dont forget to label which door goes where as they are a puzzle to get back in. You have to slide them along to find out where they slip in and out of the groove easily. Dont force them.

For holes in the fusuma ie the indoor dividing doors. If they are really old like mine, they are paper all the way through and really difficult to do BUT>>>> I patched a big hole with some paper backed sticky tape around a thin sheet of cardboard from a cereal box, matt side up. bought an off white matt paint and repainted the entire door leaving the black edges by protecting them with special tape. They look great and you cant see the patch unless you know its there. You can also buy a strip of decorative paper for the pattern across the middle, but make sure you buy enough to do all the doors if you dont want your land lord to notice. Mine look great.

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