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Opinion: A Pen That Sums Up Japanese Pens?


GranTorino25
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Why is it that so many people say that a pen that has rounded ends is a copy of a Mont Blanc, but nobody ever says that a pen that has flat ends is a copy of a Parker Duofold?

 

Pens can only have either rounded ends, or flat ends ( I have yet to see a pen that has concave ends...). Nobody is copying from anybody.

 

Can we, once and for all, kill the myths that --

a ) Mont Blanc invented the snowflake and therefore own all the snow on that mountain

b ) Mont Blanc invented writing

c ) Mont Blanc then invented the pen so that you were able to write

d ) Mont Blanc is the owner of all intellectual property relating to pens

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“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

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Just a little counterintuitive thinking first.

 

The Pilot VPen/Varsity disposable really sums up 'Japanese' in a way for me. It's a fountain pen reduced to basics, designed for mass production and designed for low cost. It's quite an innovation (I don't think anyone else had a disposable FP, though I may be wrong), and it's also a really good, reliable pen despite its incredibly cheap price. It says a whole lot about Japanese industry in general and Pilot's approach to making writing instruments in particular.

 

Another pen that sums up some aspects of Japanese culture is the utterly *kawaii* Sailor Hello Kitty pen.

 

Or get a brush pen, or a pen with a fude nib - those both, again, are really Japanese in nature. And also great fun to work with, though I wouldn't want to try to take notes on an interview with one.

 

Okay, now for the serious suggestion: Platinum 3776. Good value, lovely pen, a very wide choice of colours and finishes, and the chance to become hopelessly addicted to a single pen. (I only have eight or nine... I'm not an addict, I can handle it....)

Edited by amk

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

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This has been a very interesting thread to read. And I'm a bit surprised that no-one has mentioned what -- for me -- is the very essence of the Japanese aesthetic: the maki-e pens. They're breathtaking works of art (companies like MB and Montgrappa, with their often tacky looking and bling-d out LE pens could take lessons).

That being said, I don't want any. They're really expensive, and I'm horribly allergic to poison ivy (and urushiol oil is the same stuff). But boy are they drool-worthy pens nonetheless....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Hi all!

 

I really want to get a Japanese pen, but I honestly have no idea where to start!

 

What I'd love is to know what you guys and girls think is a pen that is a good example of a Japanese pen? I would be looking to spend somewhere in the region of $80-120 max.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Kind regards

Hi There from another Adeladian,can I say in all modesty that I know a little about fountain pens having collected them for about 40 years and having edited Jinhao pens webpage for quite a few years so I know

something about them also.I have 2 Pilot Vanishing Point pens which I regard as the most efficient pen one can

have reason being that the nib retracts so that if you happen to drop it the nib is protected from damage.They

are stocky pens which gives them the feeling of broad shoulders,they take a bit of getting to

know them in regards to writing with because of the style, depending on the one you chose.I now

edit the pages of a Japanese website called engeika who sell this pen on ebay.I don't know how to contact you directly but I would love to talk with you when you have time.Trust Me, Oneill

Gawler. From memory the pen is in your budget range. url. engeika ebay

Edited by oneill
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I'd go with a crosshatch Pilot Elite pocket fountain pen. You can get the half-steel version with triangle nib, and stay within budget. These are vintage pens that can be bought off eBay and the FPN marketplace from time to time. Wonderfully innovative design -- VERY Japanese!

[MYU's Pen Review Corner] | "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small

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Thank you for the photos and comparisons :)

 

Definitely going to keep looking into this, a SF nib on a Pilot or Platinum would tick the box I think (Sailor

Trust Me, oneillwould probably be my preference, but very difficult to find from South Australia!)

Hi again, Did you try the website which I gave you it was engeika ebay Trust Me, Oneill
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Japanese make quite reliable pens, that for sure - but innovative designs?

 

An old-saying translated to English "A blind chicken sometimes finds a grain too."

Or "Try many (designs), fail often, succeed once" if a more generous description is necessary.

Not that other countries/companies have a better approach.

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Japanese make quite reliable pens, that for sure - but innovative designs?

 

When one thinks about it, they don't need to focus on innovative design because their focus and strong point is on how the pens write. In vintage days they were all expected to write well so the manufacturers needed that something extra to tempt people, hence the innovative designs of some such as snorkels etc.

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Good design is necessary. Design, however, meaning "form follows function" otherwise the user will be quickly disappointed with the pen.

If you mean "good looks" as design that is something different, especially if you never use the pen and just keep it in a box. Then lots of pens can compete for being good designed.

I guess, most pens are bought because they look nice. I have bought so many pens on Yahoo Auctions which never have been used once.

 

But what is a innovative design? Something which solved a problem which has never been solved before? Or innovative means they found a different way to use an existing product.

Looking at the pens of the three big makers Sailor, Pilot, Platinum, then only the Pilot Capless sticks out. The rest is more or less similar, a bit different form, different colors, different materials.

But is the Pilot Capless innovative with the meaning, this has never been done before or just the meaning that it is well engineered?

I don't know if such a type never has been done before. Good engineered? I don't know, mine with a F nib dries out very quickly.

 

"A Pen That Sums Up Japanese Pens" doesn't exist. Nor does a Pen That Sums Up German Pens, or a Pen That Sums Up American Pens exist or ever has/have existed.

 

So, look for a pen which you find interesting/good looking. The people here then can tell you if they had or had not problems with that pen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

+1 because it's so different. Unfortunately they're more like AU$250+

 

Within stated budget (from Japan): Platinum #3776 - choice of colours, soft nib option and the slip/seal cap. Any pen that puts so much effort into not drying out is a plus in this country!

TheJapanese have invented a pen with a sealed cap which prevents the ink from Drying out it is called the Plaisir and it sells for about $70.Australian, It may be found on Engeika ebay Trust Me Oneill.

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Platinum 3776. can be had for under $70 with a soft gold nib, great writer, well made, cigar shape.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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or one could look at JDM pens from the 70s-80s where the market is very uhh... experimental with their approach

 

 

I think it was a consequence of the optimism of the hyper-boom years. Yes, it feels as if Japan is a more conservative place now than it was then, but the greatest consequence (IMO) was how Japanese design seems to have stagnated circa 1989; modern Japanese today feels like a natural evolution of that late-'80s aesthetic.

 

Japanese pens are no exception.

 

If we're looking for a pen that sums up what it is to be a pen and be Japanese, I think we have to take into account Japan's tendency to merge the antiquated and traditional with the modern: something urushi-covered and, I would argue, light (due to earthquakes, the Japanese value lightness as a quality). No brass pens please.

 

A plain urushi Nakaya perhaps? Or a custom 845?

 

EDIT: I didn't read the price guidance - obviously - but as a theoretical consideration, the above stands.

Edited by mongrelnomad

Too many pens; too little writing.

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I think the maki-e pens with dragons and other mythical beasts fit the stereotypical view of what someone imagines a Japanese pen should be, but the realistic view is that a black 1911 would sum up the typical Japanese pen. Most Japanese pens are black and boring in appearance but write fantastically. Western pens are beautiful and ornate but you're lucky if they can write without issues.

Edited by Bluey
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I think the maki-e pens with dragons and other mythical beasts fit the stereotypical view of what someone imagines a Japanese pen should be, but the realistic view is that a black 1911 would sum up the typical Japanese pen. Most Japanese pens are black and boring in appearance but write fantastically. Western pens are beautiful and ornate but you're lucky if they can write without issues.

doesnt this practically say Italian pens to me... garishly ornate with a hit or miss performance

Edited by Algester
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Pens can only have either rounded ends, or flat ends ( I have yet to see a pen that has concave ends...)

Parker 75 with concave tassies?

 

Nakaya Piccolo with cone shaped ends?

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Pilot Vanishing Points can occasionally be found for $120 on special. The design is iconic, innovative, practical, and unique. Add $13-28 to your budget and you get to choose from a wide array of colors.

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Why is it that so many people say that a pen that has rounded ends is a copy of a Mont Blanc, but nobody ever says that a pen that has flat ends is a copy of a Parker Duofold?

 

Pens can only have either rounded ends, or flat ends ( I have yet to see a pen that has concave ends...). Nobody is copying from anybody.

 

Can we, once and for all, kill the myths that --

a ) Mont Blanc invented the snowflake and therefore own all the snow on that mountain

b ) Mont Blanc invented writing

c ) Mont Blanc then invented the pen so that you were able to write

d ) Mont Blanc is the owner of all intellectual property relating to pens

 

AMEN TO THAT!

 

Besides, MB wasn't even the first to start using rounded ends, so... :)

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