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Kokuyo Campus High Grad Mio Paper


naimitsu
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Hello Everyone! So I posted this on the other forum, but that's the one I had been more active in because the content is less overwhelming than FPN. However, now that I've gotten more comfortable here, I realize that I hadn't shared this review here yet. So here goes...

When I first started this hobby in December of 2014, I didn't know what I was getting into. It started out with only a few inexpensive pens. Then came the realization that most paper does not like fountain pen ink. Then came the search for paper that will play nice with the bountiful options of fountain pen inks. Then came the start of "Hmm, I think I like this better than that" list.

Long story short, my two favorite papers became Apica and Tomoe River.
Which got me thinking, if I like the two best known Japanese papers available for FPs, what other Japanese papers are out there and are any of them good? Thus began the search on JetPens for paper. How did I determine if it was Japanese? By the oh-so-scientific method of "does the name sound Japanese?"

I found 5 brands that "sounded" Japanese to me, and then threw in one more that didn't quite sound Japanese in for good measure.

So here's the first of 6 reviews I will be doing.

Specifications from JetPen's website:
Model Number KOKUYO NO-GG108B
Weight 6.0 ounces
Manufacturer Kokuyo
Binding Glue
Cover Material Cardstock
Cover Type Softcover
Features Archival Quality, Fountain Pen Friendly, pH-Neutral
Line Spacing 6 mm
Number of Lines 28
Number of Sheets 80
Paper Weight 60 gsm
Perforated No
Refillable No
Sheet Style Lined
Size - Depth .7 cm
Size - Length 21 cm
Size - Width 14.8 cm
Standard Paper Size A5

Monetary Considerations:
Cost $6.75
Cost per Sheet $0.08

The Good:
So far I like this paper. It is very smooth to the touch and the nib glides over it rather easily, even the sometimes touchy Esterbrook 2048. However, there was still enough feedback from the paper that it still felt like you were writing on paper. Anything glass smooth would make writing on it unmanageable.

The rule lines are a nice soft grey. It is easy enough to see, but also easy enough to overlook when reviewing the writing. The page itself is what I would consider a soft white. There is enough pigment to make it easy on the eyes, but pale enough that it did not seem to alter the color of the ink.

It displays the same ink haloing that I like on TR and Apica. There was very little to no feathering, and the spread looks true to size. There was very little bleedthrough on the page, and the bits that did was due to multiple passes, slight nib scoring with the Esterbrook flex, or when my nib decided I needed a nice blob of ink.

The overall construction of the notebook is pretty good. The binding bends, but so far, I do not see any breakage when I fold it completely open at any point. Also, the binding tape is a textured silver foil that gives it a nice bit of pop without being absolutely obnoxious.

The Bad:
The cover is really flexible, which normally isn't an issue for me. However, with it being a relatively thick notebook, there is little to no support under the page on the short side. Also, the notebook will not lay absolutely flat when open. Due to the style of binding, it has a bit of bubble/curve near the spine.

There is also a fair bit of showthrough which can be distracting. If writing on the back is a must, it might be a good idea to invest in either a dark sheet of cardstock or print out a black field to minimize the visibility of the showthrough.

The Ugly:
There was nothing truly "ugly" about the notebook. None of the grievances listed above were deal-breakers for me. However, this might change as I use the notebook more. I'll try to return to this post in the future if I find any unacceptable issues with the notebook.

Pictures:
From JetPen's Website
http://static.jetpens.com//images/a/000/014/14202.jpg

Writing Samples
http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/naimitsu/Fountain%20Pen%20Stuff/a90eb60f-000e-4dfb-9675-dcee9a56332a.jpg
http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/naimitsu/Fountain%20Pen%20Stuff/6b42dadb-7422-462e-8ff8-d134c26dc171.jpg

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Thanks for the excellent review. I'm always on the hunt for good paper.

Love all, trust a few, do harm to none. Shakespeare

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Glad it was worth the read, Drawing61 :)

 

My mom's family was in the printing business, so I grew up surrounded by all sorts of paper. Now that she's out, I am constantly on the hunt for good paper. Not only for FP purposes, but also watercolor purposes!

 

I need to get back to testing out papers! I had fallen off of doing it these past few months.

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I use Kokuyo as my work-horse paper. It is excellent with fountain pens and is inexpensive here in S.E. Asia. Be careful though, Kokuyo purchased some stationary manufacturers in India and China and we're starting to see some inferior Kokuyo branded products that I think are not made in Japan. The 20-hole A5 size Kokuyo/Campus branded refills I usually buy are still made in Japan though and are as good as ever. I see Kokuyo refills in the U.S. at places like Jetpens. The prices are crazy expensive compared to what the same paper costs here in Asia! That's a shame.

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You can order a sample packet of Japanese papers from JetPens. I tried them out with several pens and inks, and this paper and Tomoe River were the best.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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I use Kokuyo as my work-horse paper. It is excellent with fountain pens and is inexpensive here in S.E. Asia. Be careful though, Kokuyo purchased some stationary manufacturers in India and China and we're starting to see some inferior Kokuyo branded products that I think are not made in Japan. The 20-hole A5 size Kokuyo/Campus branded refills I usually buy are still made in Japan though and are as good as ever. I see Kokuyo refills in the U.S. at places like Jetpens. The prices are crazy expensive compared to what the same paper costs here in Asia! That's a shame.

 

Thaniks for the heads up. It is good to know when they start changing manufacturing sites. I keep an eye out for that. Also, when compared to the prices for the other papers, it is still cheaper, though not as cheap as what you are probably seeing. I think the import taxes/tariffs is what brings the prices higher for us.

 

I have a couple sources in Thailand and Japan, so I will see the price comparison between buying from JetPens and having my friends ship me stuff :)

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Be careful though, Kokuyo purchased some stationary manufacturers in India and China and we're starting to see some inferior Kokuyo branded products that I think are not made in Japan.

 

 

The key is to order the High Grade MIO paper, which is different from the regular Campus notebooks.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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Thaniks for the heads up. It is good to know when they start changing manufacturing sites. I keep an eye out for that. Also, when compared to the prices for the other papers, it is still cheaper, though not as cheap as what you are probably seeing. I think the import taxes/tariffs is what brings the prices higher for us.

 

I have a couple sources in Thailand and Japan, so I will see the price comparison between buying from JetPens and having my friends ship me stuff :)

 

I don't know about Japan, but from my experience the price should be pretty good in Thailand. I'm in Indonesia and a year or two ago I bought a stack of 100 sheet packs of Kokuo/Campus A5 20-hole refill paper for around $3.00 USD per pack before adding 10% sales tax. A good place to buy the paper is at a Kinokuniya Book Store. Kinokuniya is a big Japanese book store chain that has branches in Asia outside of Japan. Many times you can find a Kinokuniya Book Store inside a Sogo Department Store if there happens to be one in the country you're in.

 

One thing for the interested: The Kokuyo/Campus refill paper I have is coated/filled, but it is not polished like Clairefontaine and (to a lesser extent) Rhodia (which is made by Clairefontaine). So if you have fountain pens and roller-balls that skip on Clairfontaine paper, that's not going to happen on the Kokuyo paper, but the Kokuyo paper will be just as smooth. Despite the fact that the Kokuyo paper isn't as polished as Claireontaine, I still do not get bleeding and show-though, and the ink dries much faster than with Clairefontaine. I think Kokuyo put a lot of work into designing their refill paper to provide the best utility for all kinds of inks and writing instruments.

 

I use Kokuyo 20-hole A5 notebooks with the Kokuyo paper. I don't have a model number (it's in Japanese), but these are the hard to find Kokuyo notebooks with the dense rubbery faux leather cover material. These notebooks come in the green paper packages. The notebooks are 100% made in Japan (including the 20-ring mechanism). These are not cheap notebooks, they cost around $25-$35 each. My notebooks travel a lot and have held up against anything I've subjected them to. Plus, these notebooks have covers that lay flat. As always, if you are a left-handed writer, you might want to avoid ringed notebooks.

 

As for the prices at (e.g.) Jetpens in the U.S. I think the Jetpen prices are far more than can be accounted for by shipping and import duties. I pay about $3 per 100-sheet pack of the same Kokuyo/Campus A5 refill paper that Jetpens charges $8.50 USD a pack for - before Jetpens adds shipping. That's almost a 283% mark up compared with the retail over-the-counter price for the paper here in Jakarta (before sales tax). I don't know how much of that goes to a Kokuyo "Distributor" in the U.S. (I suspect none), and/or how much goes to Jetpens. But in my opinion, at $8.50 a pack you're getting fleeced. If you like the paper, I suggest you buy in bulk direct from Japan. Tracked shipping/mail from Japan is surprisingly affordable in my experience.

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This latest info today has been very helpful! It is a shame that the paper is so expensive to Americans. It is even worse to hear they may be making some paper in India and China. I have tried the regular Campus notebooks. I use those mainly for handwriting practice. I have tried most of the quality papers by this time. But I still have a few more left to go. I do have 3 favorites at this time. But that could change.

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Not sure about China, but India actually has very nice papers, able to take fountain pen ink, not expensive at all either. So this news about Kokuyo is really a kind of mixed bag...

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

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