The Beauty of Japanese Stationery

Why are so many of our trusted stationery brands designed and made in Japan?

Ginza Itoya - Japan's Oldest Stationery Store
Picture from Ginza Itoya - 6 Things To Enjoy At Japan's Oldest Stationery Store

 

With a culture so reliant on good quality writing tools, Japanese stationery manufacturers constantly have to step it up, not only having to provide exceptional quality, but also continual innovation due to the market competition.  

Importance is placed on hand writing in Japanese schools. Handwriting is considered an art form and traditional calligraphy characters are intricate and require more precise writing tools than just plain old ballpoint pens.  

With the rest of the world cottoning on to this high quality at realistic prices, these brands have become the gold standard in stationery.  

Not only do Japanese stationery brands provide some of the best writing instruments in the world, they also provide so much fun!  Journalling, Kawaii, Anime, Manga...all these fun Japanese subcultures have led to an explosion in fun stationery products.  Huge ranges of colours, textures, cute pens and endless varieties of paper and journals.  

If you're looking for quality, functionality, innovation and extreme cuteness, there's a range of Japanese stationery for you!

Here is a list of some of the most well-known brands, many of which have been well established for longer than you would expect.


- Tombow, since 1913.  Known for their exquisite pencils, which have famously been used in some classic artworks.  The wood case pencils were initially supplied to students, now the company boasts an extensive range of art, office and writing supplies.  Many Tombow classics have cult followings, including the journaliser's favourite markers, the Tombow Dual Brush markers.

- Zebra Pen, since 1914. Gaining traction around the world, Zebra stationery is another favourite Bullet Journal enthusiasts, due to their cult range of Mild-Liner pens and highlighters.  

The Zebra trademark was established in 1914, but the company founder had been creating stationery since 1897!  Zebra strives to develop writing instruments that are in step with the progress of culture.  

- Pentel, since 1946. With award winning design for its impeccable quality, Pentel developed the first roller-ball technology and pioneered graphite lead mechanical pencils.

- Kuretake, since 1902.  Established as a sumi ink stick manufacturer in Japan, Kuretake has grown in to a brand of quality artist tools for fine arts, illustration, graphic design, paper crafts and scrapbooking.  Their brush markers and dot pens are a favourite amongst journalling fans and artists.