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Just Wondering... Are Nakaya Pens Really Worth It?


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Nakayas were the very reason I joined up on this forum:

 

I do want one since I love Japanese fountain pens and these are such beautiful, artful works, but I find myself at a mental impasse.

 

It's not even the cost, but that question of "worth it".

 

As far as I can tell, it uses the same base nib and feed as the #3776 Century. Would I not be better off having my #3776 nib tuned-up?

The same can be said of the Platinum President (which gets NO love on this forum, it seems) and the Izumo, which is also an achingly gorgeous pen. (The nib is the most important part and the President and the Izumo share nibs, etc etc)

 

Granted, I'm sure if I was able to handle one/write with one the story would be different because I was pretty cool on OMAS pens until the point when I was able to try one. I jumped on the Bay the minute I got home...

Edited by atomic_doug

Pelikan | Pilot | Montblanc | Sailor | Franklin-Christoph | Platinum | OMAS


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I have a couple of Izumos, and their excellence has so far allowed me to resist buying a Nakaya. But someday, I'm going to call John Mottishaw and order a beautiful customized fat long Aka-Tamenuri cigar with a stub soft nib and vermeil goldfish roll-stopper. Someday . . .

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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So, yes, one can argue that they are worth whatever people are willing to pay. And if that's true, then they're worth it, as the wait time is pretty long.

 

However, in terms of fountain pen design, innovation, features, performance, and beauty, they are pretty close to being "worth it," except maybe the cartridge/converter filling system. For me, personally, the greater overall "worth it" factor is owned by Sailor. Sailor's innovations and craftsmanship in the design and manufacturing of nibs is far superior to that of Nakaya's, who, as far as I know, use Platinum nibs.

---

Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/

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My fascination with all things Japanese started in my childhood. Having studied Japanese art in America, having lived in Japan, studied art in Japan, and been invited back to study with a master (which I turned down at the tender age of 22) I feel I am a microscopically qualified to say some words on the subject of Nakaya fountain pens…just barely, however. Personally, I am frankly astonished that non Japanese can even purchase these works of art. Because quite honestly, it takes a bit of knowledge to appreciate the aesthetics that go into crafting one. This will sound terribly elitist I know, (for that I am sorry in advance) but the truth is, the ability to comprehend this ancient art is surely lost on most non Japanese. It has to do with HISTORY….a long long history of creating functional items such as bowls, boxes, trays, and more recently fountain pens with outstanding (and very subtle) beauty using the technique of urushi-nuri. Or to quote from a well known American movie…”there is no pen.” The pen part is really not the point. Although there is nothing wrong with the mechanics of a Nakaya pen…if you want a great expensive fountain pen that will perform as well as impress, look to a mass manufacturing outfit. The world has lots of those.

These are not status symbols. They are not snobby. A Japanese person and possible a hand full of people on the FPN would not purchases one of these pens for the afore mentioned reasons. It would almost be sacrilegious to do so. These pens are treasured for the beauty of the workmanship. Not their penmanship.

Another non American/Europen way of understanding it might be this...very few non Japanese are ever invited to study with a master artist in Japan and it was especially remarkable to me that I was not only invited but that I happened to also be a woman. But there's the rub...the person inviting me had never met me. He had only seen examples of my work. He did not know my gender. He only knew my work. Because of my work...he already knew me. This is very telling.

“Are Nakaya Pens Really Worth It?” As an American the answer is maybe. If I was Japanese, I would never ask this question.

That being said, I personally hope I can experience at least a one of these pens in this lifetime. I do own a few pieces of old urushi-nuri that I brought back from Japan. No pens, unfortunately.

P.S. whoever said and I quote, “none of these expensive pens (and other men's toys)” just might be suffering from a serious social problem if they think that fountain pens are ‘men’s toys’…I will hope that this was not the intention when writing that part….ha!

Edited by httpmom

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

 

 

 

 

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Actually, I think that Mr. Mottishaw does a very commendable job of educating his customers via his website regarding the art and history of these wonderful writing instruments. His is the only site I have visited and feel I have learned <and understood> quite something of this art through his efforts.

 

I feel that there is nothing more remarkable about westerners buying these lovely pens than about the high degree, say, of Japanese and Chinese who, as performers, have contributed so much to the world of classical music!

 

What you are finding difficulty in understanding, it seems to me, is the cross-over between cultures and <that> should not, in this age, be hard to fathom...(Yes, I know I am opinionated!)

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I find my sentiments to be like those expressed by httpmom, although I lack her artistic and esthetic sophistication.

 

Just got my Birthday pen, a Kiro-tamenuri decapod writer, Mottishaw B stub. This has been an icon for me, because the pen evoked early childhood memories of fascination with the emerging black and red laquers, playing with boxes my Dad had brought back from Japan as a returning GI.

Cheers,

 

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness

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So can we summarize :) this discussion by saying that:-

 

1. There are equally good or better writing pens out there.

 

2. Nakayas are objects of Art more than just a writing instrument.

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Actually, I think that Mr. Mottishaw does a very commendable job of educating his customers via his website regarding the art and history of these wonderful writing instruments. His is the only site I have visited and feel I have learned <and understood> quite something of this art through his efforts.

 

Yes, He does a lovely job of explaining the process and the art.

 

I feel that there is nothing more remarkable about westerners buying these lovely pens than about the high degree, say, of Japanese and Chinese who, as performers, have contributed so much to the world of classical music!

 

It has been my observation that the western aesthetic usually leans toward bling when spending this kind of money.

 

What you are finding difficulty in understanding, it seems to me, is the cross-over between cultures and <that> should not, in this age, be hard to fathom...(Yes, I know I am opinionated!)

 

Yes, times have indeed changed. I was born just after the war ended. I am 65. (I was drawn to Japanese culture by the items that members of my family brought back to the states upon their return).

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

 

 

 

 

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I am going out on a limb: I am not so sure that the majority of Nakaya pens fall into the "art" category. In my mind they are firmly in the "craft" category. Beautifully crafted, aesthetically appealing in their subtle understated beauty, very functional objects that one can have a long-term relationship with. Not entirely unlike some lovely urushi-covered miso soup bowls I once had... Mind you, the maki-e pens are a different story perhaps.

 

;-)

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I am going out on a limb: I am not so sure that the majority of Nakaya pens fall into the "art" category. In my mind they are firmly in the "craft" category. Beautifully crafted, aesthetically appealing in their subtle understated beauty, very functional objects that one can have a long-term relationship with. Not entirely unlike some lovely urushi-covered miso soup bowls I once had... Mind you, the maki-e pens are a different story perhaps.

 

;-)

Also limb advancing...

 

Maybe the point is that Japanese mindset doesn't dichotimize art / craft same as West?

Cheers,

 

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness

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in Japan when you master a craft it becomes art... and then anything produced by your craft becomes art or so I believe whether or not its an exaggeration im not too sure

such is why swordsmiths are culturally prized by their Agency for Cultural Affairs Japan but thats only an example same goes for true maki-e and Urushi as well pretty much the dying crafts of Japan

Edited by Algester
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If you are like one of those people , who buys fountain pens, to take some photos to show them on the internet and use the pen to only write some "writing sample " for the forum and then store then back in the closet with hundred of other pens . Maybe they will get some praise like waow you are true art "connoisseur" but it does'nt worth it. Pens are something more than fashion items. And in real life

people don't care, you will be better with some latest tech gadget.

 

But If you are really going to use the pen in your every day life and if it become your daily companion and achieve some task ( no matter what kind) with it, I think you will never have to ask yourself this very question.

 

( Sorry for my bad english grammar, french is my vernacular language. )

(

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My fascination with all things Japanese started in my childhood. Having studied Japanese art in America, having lived in Japan, studied art in Japan, and been invited back to study with a master (which I turned down at the tender age of 22) I feel I am a microscopically qualified to say some words on the subject of Nakaya fountain pens…just barely, however. Personally, I am frankly astonished that non Japanese can even purchase these works of art. Because quite honestly, it takes a bit of knowledge to appreciate the aesthetics that go into crafting one. This will sound terribly elitist I know, (for that I am sorry in advance) but the truth is, the ability to comprehend this ancient art is surely lost on most non Japanese. It has to do with HISTORY….a long long history of creating functional items such as bowls, boxes, trays, and more recently fountain pens with outstanding (and very subtle) beauty using the technique of urushi-nuri. Or to quote from a well known American movie…”there is no pen.” The pen part is really not the point. Although there is nothing wrong with the mechanics of a Nakaya pen…if you want a great expensive fountain pen that will perform as well as impress, look to a mass manufacturing outfit. The world has lots of those.

These are not status symbols. They are not snobby. A Japanese person and possible a hand full of people on the FPN would not purchases one of these pens for the afore mentioned reasons. It would almost be sacrilegious to do so. These pens are treasured for the beauty of the workmanship. Not their penmanship.

Another non American/Europen way of understanding it might be this...very few non Japanese are ever invited to study with a master artist in Japan and it was especially remarkable to me that I was not only invited but that I happened to also be a woman. But there's the rub...the person inviting me had never met me. He had only seen examples of my work. He did not know my gender. He only knew my work. Because of my work...he already knew me. This is very telling.

 

“Are Nakaya Pens Really Worth It?” As an American the answer is maybe. If I was Japanese, I would never ask this question.

 

That being said, I personally hope I can experience at least a one of these pens in this lifetime. I do own a few pieces of old urushi-nuri that I brought back from Japan. No pens, unfortunately.

 

P.S. whoever said and I quote, “none of these expensive pens (and other men's toys)” just might be suffering from a serious social problem if they think that fountain pens are ‘men’s toys’…I will hope that this was not the intention when writing that part….ha!

 

Beautifully stated.

---

Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/

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I was considering a Nakaya. Now that I have learned that I am not Japanese I am relieved to find that I should be saving my money and using it for some low art local product. Close call.

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Seriously, what a relief!

 

I'm sure glad I'm not one of THOSE people!

Scientia potentia est.

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It is like stating that I can't really enjoy a performance by a world-class orchestra because my ear isn't trained enough. I might not get all of the nuances of the music, but it doesn't mean that I can't enjoy it, learn from it, and appreciate it. Fine, I won't appreciate it at the same level as someone who is a professional musician, but no one has tried to keep me from purchasing a ticket.

 

I also go to art museums, and I can't draw.

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Also limb advancing...

 

Maybe the point is that Japanese mindset doesn't dichotimize art / craft same as West?

You are very correct. They do have handcrafts, which of course are different altogether.

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

 

 

 

 

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If you are like one of those people , who buys fountain pens, to take some photos to show them on the internet and use the pen to only write some "writing sample " for the forum and then store then back in the closet with hundred of other pens . Maybe they will get some praise like waow you are true art "connoisseur" but it does'nt worth it. Pens are something more than fashion items. And in real life

people don't care, you will be better with some latest tech gadget.

 

But If you are really going to use the pen in your every day life and if it become your daily companion and achieve some task ( no matter what kind) with it, I think you will never have to ask yourself this very question.

 

( Sorry for my bad english grammar, french is my vernacular language. )

 

(

+1 Your English is just fine, BTW...understood quite clearly.

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

 

 

 

 

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I am going out on a limb: I am not so sure that the majority of Nakaya pens fall into the "art" category. In my mind they are firmly in the "craft" category. Beautifully crafted, aesthetically appealing in their subtle understated beauty, very functional objects that one can have a long-term relationship with. Not entirely unlike some lovely urushi-covered miso soup bowls I once had... Mind you, the maki-e pens are a different story perhaps.

 

;-)

A very sturdy limb you've climbed.

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

 

 

 

 

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