Stationary has always been popular in Japan. With so much emphasis on both education and the art of writing, it makes sense that Japan leads the charge in creative stationery. With erasable ink, metal-free staplers, colorful tape, and other innovative products, stationery is a big business in both Japan and abroad.
Thanks to a wide assortment of stylish designs and their dedication to quality, Japanese stationery continues to gain popularity all over the world.
A Short History of Japanese Stationery
Writing is one of the oldest art forms of humankind. Some cultures place more emphasis on writing than others, Japan being among them. Before you think about writing, however, it is important to start off with the right base- the stationery. Some of the best stationery comes from Japan thanks to their dedication to quality.
Japan has a history that is rich with calligraphy. This dates back to the days when actual brushes and raw inks were used to create intricate calligraphy for the purpose of letters and other forms of communication. People would spend years perfecting their writing form, letter strokes, and pressure just to create the perfect prose.
Fast forward to modern times, Japan has become the world leader in writing implements, paper, and all things stationery related.
Common Japanese Pen Types
There are several types of Japanese pens on the market to choose from. The most prevalent in the market will generally depend on the region of your purchase.
In Asia, the most popular are fine-tip pens that allow for detailed writing in small spaces. Japanese fountain pens with fine tips offer a smooth writing experience which further improves the final look of each character.
Brush style pens are very popular in Japan and certain parts of the world. They are most often used for modern calligraphy or lettering. Some Japanese companies even manufacture brush pens made with real hair.
Multicolored pens are also quite popular among the younger generation. With this style of pen, you can purchase varied colored refills while keeping the same pen body and nib.
Japanese gel pens are also very popular all over the world. Gel pens tend to glide over any writing surface and also offer high concentrations of pigment. One of the most popular Japanese gel pens sold in the West is the Pilot G2.
Of course, there are other gel pens of Japanese origin such as the Uni-ball Signo and the Pilot Hi-Tec-C. Of course, you can never forget the classic ballpoint pen. Jetstream ballpoint pens and Frixion ballpoint pens are oil-based which provides a smooth writing experience with little bleed through regardless of the writing surface.
Top Japanese Pen Makers
With so many different pen manufacturers in the market, it can be hard to choose a brand that fits your needs. One way to ensure you get the best quality and the most value is by selecting from among Japanese pen manufacturers.
- Bungubox pen makers may have a funny name, but there is nothing funny about the quality of their pens. Often called Bung Box in the West, this brand offers a literal smorgasbord of writing tools. From customized ink colors to high-end fountain pens, if you are in the market for a great Japanese pen, You should certainly consider those from Bungubox.
- Namiki and Pilot share the same parent company but create a range of Japanese pens under each pan. Of all brands, this one is among the cream of the crop when it comes to writing implements. The Pilot Custom 74 and the Namiki Falcon are crafted with a pure gold nib and tend to cost a minimum of $200 each.
- Platinum is one of the more popular brands of Japanese pen that can be found all over the world. Check just about any teenage locker or professional desk and you will find at least one Platinum fountain pen. With a range of colors and styles, this brand protects its market share by providing affordable pens with a smooth glide.
- Sailor is one of the top players in the world of high-quality Japanese pens. This brand produces a wide assortment of affordably priced writing implements. The Sailor Professional Series Slim and the Sailor 1911 are two of the top-performing styles from this brand.
- The Taccia Japanese pen company has a firm belief that high-quality writing implements should be both stylish and affordable. Every pen from this brand is paired with a lifetime warranty which shows how much faith the brand has in its construction.
- Kyoto TAG is more than just a simple Japanese pen maker. They make a wide assortment is premium inks and pens. In addition to colored inks, they also produce traditional ink bases on the methods used in Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years. If you are interested in a brand of pen that is rich in history, Kyoto TAG is going to be a great fit.
Why Quality Pens Are So Important
Japanese stationery, and pens in particular focus on a few things. Innovation, design, and quality. Japanese customers demand perfection in their writing implements which pushes Japanese pen manufacturers to excel in order to meet those expectations.
The Japanese pen industry is very competitive. Japanese customers demand perfection in their writing implements which pushes Japanese pen manufacturers to excel in order to meet those expectations.
If you are on a tight budget fret not, high-quality craftsmanship also does not always mean that a pen will be expensive. Due to the deep-rooted traditions of writing in Japan, even a very cheap pen will offer superior performance.
The art of beautiful penmanship in Japan starts from childhood where shodo is taught in every school. In order to further shodo, it is imperative that high-quality writing materials are used.
High-quality pens will ensure that each stroke is masterfully executed. Most Japanese writing aside from formal calligraphy features small details with deep meanings. The expertly crafted tips of a high-quality pen will prevent discrepancies that can change the meaning of what has been written.
Although the West also produces sturdy pens, the tips tend to be too large to capture the small details needed of many worldwide languages.