We live in a world that is becoming more digital by the day. Computers and smartphones are replacing day-to-day desk items. Whether it’s planners, diaries, books, or mail, everything is digital now. However, journals, diaries, and the art of writing are still very much alive in Japan. Today, we take a look at some of the most popular stationery brands in Japan. Here are the top brands.
Despite the impression of Japan being a highly digitized society, Japanese culture places great importance on physical writing. Even today, Japanese Calligraphy, or shodō, is a subject of intense study. Similarly, Japanese stationery stands apart from the crowd. The Japanese can take a simple pen and turn it into a technologically superior work of art. Thus, Japanese stationery is not only cute but also highly innovative and practical.
Kokuyo is one of the most prominent stationery brands in Japan. Founded in 1905, it is best known for its Campus product line. It is designed specifically for students. The Campus line has everything from notebooks to day planners and sticky notes.
For instance, the Dotted Rule Campus notebook comes with a unique line and dot grid which helps space out handwriting evenly. The Campus range of notebooks also comes with cute and attractive covers and a sleek design. As a result, they are extremely popular with students.
However, Kokuyo isn’t only known for its notebooks and journals. They also make other thoughtfully designed items that you can’t find anywhere else. For instance, the uniquely designed Kado-keshi eraser comes with 28 edges. This ensures that you’ll always have fresh edges to erase tiny details instead of rounded corners.
Another unique product by Kokuyo is their Harinacs Stapleless Stapler. Yes, you read that right. It is a stapler that doesn’t require staples to function. The way it works is by punching U-shaped holes in the paper and leaving a little flap attached. After that, the flap tucks in through a thin slot on the next page. It is surprisingly secure and can bind up to ten pages without a staple.
- Website: https://www.kokuyo.com/en/businessoverview/stationery.html
- Recommended Product: Kokuyo Harinacs Staple-less Stapler, 10 sheet
Pilot Corporation is a Japanese pen manufacturer based in Tokyo, Japan. They have also led the writing implements industry with innovative designs for almost a century. As a result, Pilot pens are famous all over the world for their unmatched quality and design. Their range of fountain pens and gel pens is extremely popular. Not only are they less costly, but they also tend to make your handwriting better with their shape and design.
For instance, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C range of Gel pens has a simple design and values function over form. The Hi-Tec-C has a precise needlepoint tip. This not only provides minimal drag and but also effortless ink flow. In addition, the gel is made of a special biopolymer resin. As a result, its high viscosity prevents feathering, smudging, and bleed-through.
However, their best selling product is their revolutionary line of erasable gel pens called Frixion. It uses thermosensitive ink to produce an erasable gel. In other words, you can erase your writing by the friction generated from rubbing the pen’s eraser over mistakes. Since its release, the Frixion lineup has expanded a great deal. It comes in a wide range of colors and includes felt-tipped pens, brush pen highlighters, and erasable stamps.
- Website: https://www.pilot.co.jp/
- Recommended Product: Pilot P-LKFB-60UF-GY Frixion Ball 3 0.5 Ballpoint Pen, Erasable, 3-Color, Gray, Wood
Midori is a Japanese stationery brand that started as a producer of writing paper and envelopes in 1950. Today, it is one of the most popular brands for writing papers, journals, diaries, and planners. And for good reason. Midori uses their specially made Midori Diary Paper or MD Paper. This paper not only has a premium feel but also variety in finish and style. In addition, it comes in different variants for writing and drawing purposes.
Firstly, MD Paper Cream is their product for writing. It offers a silky smooth finish that lets your pen glide effortlessly over the paper. As a result, you can write whatever you want with a good tempo, without slowing down.
Secondly, MD Paper Cotton is their product used for drawing purposes. It is a strong, durable paper that doesn’t form fuzz under friction. In addition, it uses soft-textured cotton pulp to give a slightly grainy feel. This lets you feel every indentation you make with a pencil or pen.
Zebra Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of writing instruments and is based in Shinjuku-ku, Japan. They sell a wide range of writing implements and products. They include markers, highlighters, pens, and mechanical pencils. Above all, Zebra is best known for its line of Sarasa dry gel pens and Mildliner marker pens. Their DelGuard range of mechanical pencils is also widely popular. But what makes these products stand out?
Firstly, the Mildliner is a series of double-ended markers. One end has the traditional chisel tip for highlighting important text. The other end has a fine tip that can be used to underline or circle text just as easily. However, their biggest selling point is the unorthodox, and mild colors they come in. Rather than the traditional fluorescent yellows and greens, they come in colors like mild magenta and mild blue-green.
Secondly, the Sarasa line of dry gel pens, which comes in a multitude of colors. For instance, they have over 40 base colors to choose from. They also have separate ranges for pastel and bright colors. Also, they boast of fast-drying gel ink which is ideal for minimizing smudging and page-bleed.
Thirdly, the DelGuard range of mechanical pencils uses advanced technology to minimize lead breakage. The lead sleeve extends outwards when excessive pressure is applied to the pencil. This causes the pencil lead to be retracted inwards, preventing it from snapping. Therefore, it is ideal for writers with a heavier grip.
Uni-ball and Uni are brands of writing instruments made by the Mitsubishi Pencil Company Limited. They started with a simple rollerball pen in 1979. However, today they are one of the biggest brands for writing supplies in the world. Above all, their Kuru-Toga mechanical pencils and their range of microtip art pens are extremely popular.
One problem with mechanical pencils is lead wear-down on the sides. This leads to uneven lines over prolonged use. However, the Kuru-Toga uses an innovative rotating grip for the lead inside the mechanical pencil. This rotates the lead with every stroke you make. As a result, you get a consistently sharp tip all around. And so, every time you write you get a crisp and clear line with every stroke.
- Website: https://www.uniball.com/home/index.html
- Recommended Product: Mitsubishi Mechanical Pencil Uni Kuru Toga Standard Model 0.02 inch
Tombow Pencil Co., Ltd. is a private Japanese manufacturing company of stationery products. It was founded in 1913 and is headquartered in Kita, Japan. They primarily make pencils and erasers but also dabble in other general use stationery. The Tombow 8900 wood pencil and Mono eraser are their most popular products in the market.
Since its release in 1945, the 8900 pencils have been the highest-selling wooden pencils in the Japanese market. Their density ranges from the lightest 2H to the darkest 2B. In addition, the Mono eraser has been standard in Japan since its introduction in 1969. They come in five different sizes as well as an all-black variant.
Tombow also has a series of dual brush pens which come in a dazzling array of colors. They feature a flexible nylon brush tip for medium and broad strokes on one end. In addition, the other end has a sturdy bullet tip which is great for drawing fine outlines and sketches.
- Website: https://www.tombow.com/en/
- Recommended Product: Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers 10-pack, Pastel
Muji is a Japanese retail company that sells a large selection of household and consumer products. It was founded in 1980 and is based in Tokyo, Japan. Muji’s design philosophy is minimalist, emphasizing recycling and minimalizing waste. They also have a unique no-brand approach, characterized by the lack of logos or brand names on the actual products.
Muji is all about simple and well-designed products. Similarly, their Gel Ink ballpoint pens come in simple shapes and designs. They also feature a frosted body for easier grip, even with sweaty palms. The 0.5mm tip uses a mechanism to prevent the ink from flowing in the reverse direction. This also stops it from drying out prematurely. The water-based ink also prevents page-bleed and ensures silky smooth flow.
- Website: https://www.muji.com/jp/ja/store
- Recommended Product: MUJI Ballpoint Pen, Gel Ink, Transparent Polycarbonate Pen
Love to write? Here is a list of the best Japanese pens.