Danitrio Official Website
Eboya* Official Website (Japanese)
Hakase Official Website (Japanese)
Kawakubo* Official Website (Japanese)
Masahiro* Official Website (Japanese)
Nakaya (Platinum) Official Website (Japanese) / Official Website (English)
Namiki (Pilot) Official Website (Japanese)
Ohto Official Website (Japanese) / Official Website (English)
Pentel Official Website (Japanese) / Pentel Excalibur Website (Japanese)
Pilot Official Website (Japanese) / Official Website (English)
Platinum Official Website (Japanese)
Sailor Official Website (Japanese) / Official Website (English)
Stylo-Art Official Website (Japanese)
Tombow Official Website (Japanese) / Official Website (English)
Tsuge* Official Website (Japanese) (A listing of Corporate Contact information for Japanese Manufacturers can be found here.)
Japanese Pen Makers - Custom (Non-Active)
- Ohashido* Contact Information, Video: Hand-made Fountain Pen: With Heart, 2000. (RealPlayer, 12 Minutes).
Tsuchida* Article: Ban-ei Collection, by Bernard Lyn.
Maki-e Pens / Other Manufacturers
Japanese Pen Manufacturers (Defunct)
This is intended to be a resource about the many Japanese pen companies that existed prior to the rise of the Big Three: Pilot, Platinum, and Sailor, in the 1960s. Although some attained popularity, most were small enterprises with limited production. All, however, played an important role in the development of that something special that makes Japanese pens what they are today.
Many makers were not manufacturers, per se, but jobbers, often small family-run businesses that made individual components or assembled parts. Pens were packaged and marketed directly and through wholesalers to department stores, stationary shops, and retail outlets for sale. Names on pens and nibs seldom mention the maker and often limit the name to that of the seller or the model. We have focused our effort on actual manufacturers and major retail outlets. For an expanded list of important pre-war makers and history of fountain pen development in Japan, we recommend Fountain Pens of the World, by Andreas Lambrou.
Descriptions contain terms relative to quality and types of pens produced. They are subjective and should not be construed to consider a makers entire output as low quality, cheap, good, great, or collectible. They are generalizations based on observation of many pens. High quality models were made by many makers on a regular or limited basis and this is not intended as a guide of what to buy or avoid. One must view each pen independently in context of one's desires and needs in collecting and use.
(The Moderators eagerly solicit additions and comments, and will add them as appropriate.)
- Arabian: Primarily a vendor of pen parts to jobbers. Also made pens, including maki-e, for sale.
Ace: lower tier celluloid pens in early 1950s.
Adam: (Adam Pen Co., Inc.) 1950s celluloids. Esterbrook clones.
Alarm: (B.H. & Company) Prewar ebonite pens. Decent quality.
Alpha: (Towa Mannenhitsu Seisakusho, prob. Tokyo) Celluloid pens in the early 1950s.
Almite: (Almite Bungu) Aluminum overlay pens in late 1930s and early 1940s. Might be a sub-brand of larger maker, perhaps Vanco. Decent quality.
Apollo: (T.N. & Company) Ebonite eyedroppers in 1950s. Moderate quality.
Automan: (Inamune Seisakusho) Produced variety of models, including some maki-e, in the 1950s.
Believe: Brand name for inexpensive celluloids in 1950s.
Center: (Sanwa Kogyo Co. Ltd., Tokyo) Mostly lower tier pens in the 1950s. A few pretty celluloids. Some lacquer finishes.
Columbia: Brand name for inexpensive eyedropper fillers in 1930s.
Comet: (Comet Fountain Pen Co., Ltd., Tokyo) Founded late 1930s. Made ebonite pens. Usually celluloid with steel nibs in early 1950s. Low cost school-type pens in the 1960s.
Crown: Osaka maker of inexpensive eyedroppers in late 1930s.
Crystal:Probably a brand name for maker of large eyedroppers in the 1950s.
Daicho: Brand name for make of inexpensive pre-war eyedroppers with steel nibs.
Daimaru: Large Tokyo department store. Quality pens.
Daiya: Possibly a trade name. Typical inexpensive 1950s black eyedroppers.
Dia: (Diamond Co. Ltd., Tokyo) Second to lower tier maker in 1950s. Some really sharp bright celluloids.
Diamond: Lower end ebonite pens.
Eagle: Brand name for Tokyo-based maker in the 1950s.
Edel: mid-lower tier 1950s maker of celluloid pens.
Elliot: Known for their nibs. Full range of pens – many larger models.
Emburu: (Sankodo Co., Ltd., Nagoya) Typical 1930s eyedroppers.
Eterna: Lower tier maker of ebonite eyedroppers in the 1950s.
Ever: Lower tier ebonite pens in the early 1950s.
Fame: Brand name for hard rubber eyedroppers in 1920s and early 1930s.
Ferumu; (Watanabe Seisakusho, Tokyo) Maker of quality "Old Style" maki-e pens in early 1950s. Ferumu is transliteration of Japanese.
Fujiyama: "Swallow" lever fillers and others in the 1950s. Decent.
General’s: (Kawamoto Pen Mfg. Co.)Inexpensive ebonite pens.
H.H.H.: Decorative lacquered pens. Mid-upper range.
Hartman: Large ebonite pens in 1930s and celluloid in 1950s.
Henkel: Post-war maker. Some nice celluloid
Hershey: 1950s maker capitalizing on the name.
Hissei: Brand name for inexpensive pre-war eyedroppers with steel nibs.
Honen: (Honen Sangyo K.K., Osaka) eyedroppers in early 1950s.
Hoshiesu: Pre-war pen and mechanical pencil maker.
Hotho: 'Star of David' logo similar to that used by Platon. Might be same company. Mostly, cheap wartime pens with steel nibs.
Isetan: Tokyo-based department store. Moderate quality 1930s eyedroppers.
Ishibashi: (Ishibashi Mannenhitsu Seisakushho, Tokyo) Maker of "Polka" brand pens.
Iwai: (Tokyo) Interesting pens marked 'My Hope.' Late 1950s - early 1960s.
Jewel: (Aoshima Fountain Pen Co., Tokyo) Eyedroppers in 1950s.
Kewpie: Brand name for inexpensive celluloid pens in 1950s.
Kintetsu: Upper middle tier pens in the mid-1950s. Usually gold nibs.
K.N. Company: Sold pens under name of 'National.' Mid-1930s. Mostly typical eyedropper fillers.
Konparu: Made celluloid pens in the 1950s.
Kumiai: (Yamagata K.H.R.) Larger urushi-clad ebonite eyedroppers in late 1930s. Mostly steel nibs. Gold nibs, when found, are excellent.
Lance: Typical black eyedroppers from the 1950s.
Laurel: (Asahi Kasei Kogyo) Lower quality penmaker in mid-late 1950s.
Lock: (Lock Mannenhitsu K.K., Tokyo)
Lot: (Lot Bungu Seisakusho) Small Tokyo maker in early 1950s.
Lovely: (S.K. Fountain Pen Works, Tokyo) Small manufacturer in 1950s.
Marshall: (Marshall Pen Mfy., Tokyo) Maker of low quality eyedroppers in early 1950s and cheap squeeze fillers in to the early 1960s.
Marukin: Premium pen maker of custom pens in the 1930s.
Maruzen: Large book store headquartered in Tokyo. Marketed quality pens and ink under names Albion, Athena, Orion, and Romeo. Makes Athena ink. Today, in addition to a full line of modern pens, they sell special limited editions made for their exclusive sale.
Master: (Master Mannenhitsu K.K., Tokyo) Big second tier manufacturer in the 1950s. Some very good pens.
Matsuda: Decent celluloid pens in the 1930s.
Matsuzakaya: Large department store in Tokyo. Purchased quality pens from jobbers. Platinum made pens for them in the 1930s.
Meizen: (Uchiyama Co.) Maker of ebonite and hira maki-e decorated pens in early 1950s.
Mitaka: Lower quality pens in the 1950s.
Monarch: (Ideal Monarch Co., Kyoto) Decent celluloid eyedroppers in the 1950s.
Morgan: Premium maker in the 1930s. May only be brand name or nib maker.
Moris: (Kanazawa Mannenhitsu-ten) Typical 1950s eyedroppers.
Morisman: Typical late 1930s - early 1940s eyedroppers.
Morison: Big second tier manufacturer in the 1950s. Made full range of pens, including good-quality larger models. Look for pens with gold nibs.
Navy: Supposedly based in Yokosuka (Where else?). In business from late 1930s to 1960s. Mid-range pens. Look for models with gold nibs.
Newdow: Maker of eyedropper fillers in 1930s.
Newman: (Tatsuwa Mfg. Co. Ltd.) Maker of mechanical pencils (sharp pencil) in 1950s and 1960s. Look for their silver pens. Good quality.
Nine: (Komura Pen Mfg. Co., Osaka) Jobber in 1930s who made and sold complete line of simple ebonite to high-end makie in the 1930s.
Northstar: (Taisendo and Co., Tokyo) Premium maker in the 1930s. Look for their red hard rubber pens.
Oda: Low quality eyedroppers in the 1950s. Probably a jobber.
Omega: Low cost pens in the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Opal: 1950s Tokyo-based maker. Mid-range. Some interesting nibs.
Orion: 1920s black chased hard rubber pens.
Oza: Lower quality maker of eyedroppers in the 1950s.
Panly: (Nihon Mannenhitsu Seizosho, Gumma) Pens marked "Panly & Co. Tokyo". Nibs seen on pens by many small makers.
Patrol: Trade name for Tokyo-based maker in 1950s.
Pearl: (T. Togawa Mfg. Co., Tokyo) Nice lever fillers marked as made in "OCCUPIED JAPAN". Unusual.
Platon: (Nakayama Taiyodo, Osaka) "Star of David" logo with P inside. Began making hard rubber pens in the 1920s. Decent quality maker focusing on celluloid in the 1930s and later plastic. Also made maki-e decorated models. Ceased operation in 1953.
Plum: (Kogyo K.K., Tokyo) Interesting designs n early 1950s.
Popura: (Popura Shugyo K.K., Tokyo) Low to middle range maker, mostly in the 1950s and early 1960s. May have begun operation in 1930s as a higher quality jobber. Early pens are collectable.
Power: Low-mid range Tokyo-based maker in late 1950s - 1960s.
Practical: (S.T.S. & Co.) We assume this to be a Tokyo-based maker in the late 1920s.
Ramie: (Hayashi Mfg. Co., Tokyo) Lower quality ebonite or plastic squeeze fillers in 1950s. Carved sterling silver pen(s?) are known to exist.
Reuter: Likely, a trade name. Maker of hard rubber and silver overlay eyedroppers in the 1920s and 1930s. Generally, medium to high quality pens.
Rieyon: Maker of inexpensive plastic eyedroppers with steel nibs.
Rigen: (Nihon Ball Mannenhitsu K.K., Tokyo) Maker of inexpensive eyedroppers with steel nibs.
River: Generally mid to lower tier plastic pens in the 1950s.
Ryo: Second to lower tier maker in 1950s.
S.S.S.: San Esu. "The Only Perfect Pen in the Orient" Maker of quality pens from the 1920s to post-war era. Later production mostly celluloid eyedroppers with steel nibs.
Sakai: Tokyo-based maker in the 1950s. Known for their decorative pens, including those with urushi.
Sakura: (Hirayama Co., Hirosaki) Trade name for late 1930s - early 1940s eyedroppers.
Sato: (Sato Seisakusho, Tokyo) 1950s pens.
Salon: Small quality maker in 1930s.
Seilon: Maker of lower quality plastic eyedroppers in 1950s.
Selan: Late 1950s - early 1960s maker of decorative pens. Usually 14K nibs.
Sheaffer: Yes! The Sheaffer Pen Co. In the 1980s models for Japanese and Asian markets were made by Sailor through agreement with Textron.
Shiseido: "The Shiseido Pen, Ginza Tokyo" This IS the cosmetics company and they sold pens in the late 1930s. All very rare and highly collectible.
Sirton: 1920s maker/seller of black chased hard rubber pens.
Skater: Lower quality maker in the 1950s.
Slary: (Toyota Seishunro Shoten, Iwakuni) Maker/seller of inexpensive pens in the 1950s.
Spaceman: Lower to mid-level quality pens in the 1960s.
Spacer: Trident-type nib pens in 1980s. Sailor sold right to use nib design. Usually lower quality or same quality as export Tridents made in Taiwan.
Star: Quality pens, including maki-e, in mid-1930s.
Swan: Black chased hard rubber pens in the 1920s and 1930s. Company by same name produced celluloid pens in early 1950s.
Taisei: Tokyo-based stationary manufacturer during the late 1930s. Generally eyedroppers with steel nibs.
Takahashi: Narta-based maker of 1950s style black eyedroppers.
Takashimaya: Large department store in Tokyo that sold better quality pens.
Takizawa Pen Co.: Manufacturer of average black eyedroppers in the late 1930s under several brand names.
Tanaka Mfg. Co.: Maker of eyedropper fillers in late 1930s. Probably sold under various model names.
Teikin: Mostly mass-produced promotional pens. High-end were silver plate models. Likely, made for them by Sailor.
Texas: Inexpensive squeeze filler types in the mid-late 1950s.
Towa: (Towa Mannenhitsu Seisakusho, prob. Tokyo) Maker of Alpha pens and others in early 1950s.
Vanco: Made pens and pencils from 1930s through 1960s, including silver overlay. Generally, good quality pens with gold nibs.
Victor: Mid- to lower tier maker producing celluloid pens in the 1950s.
W.F.B.: Specialty pen maker in early 1950s. Most had second smaller pen inside barrel and an etching tool in blind cap.
Well: (Diamond Sangyo K.K., Tokyo) Quality pen maker in the 1920s through early 1950s.
Woden: (Woden Fountain Pen Co., Kanagawa) Mid-quality celluloid and ebonite pens in the 1950s.
Work: (Work Mannenhitsu Seisakusho, Tokyo)
World: 1950s-1960s maker of hanko pens. Moderate quality.
Yotubisi: Maker of quality maki-e and other decorative types purportedly based in Osaka during the 1950s. Supposedly began business in late 1930s. Look for the four diamond logo on the clip or band.
Edited by stan, 21 February 2012 - 02:48.