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Tomoe River Paper Changing Manufacturing


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My most-recent purchase of Tomoe River 52g loose leaf paper in A5 size has arrived today from Japan. It was sent via DHL Express and was sent out last week. I'm a bit confused about the nomenclature of the new paper vs. old paper, as there is no "52" in the product number on the packaging.

 

Specifically, my paper has "TMR-A5P-W" product code. I assume "TMR"=Tomoe River, "A5" is the A5 size, "W" is for "White", not sure what "P" is for, Paper?. The only "52" is in the "52g/m2" designation in 2 locations.

 

So how would one know if this is the original -52 or the new -52N version? Perhaps the new paper actually has a very different product code for the loose leaf packs and is called something like TMR-A5P-W-52N?

 

Scan of my paper packaging, received today:

YyRrxWe.jpg

 

P.S.: the two comparison photographs on the Facebook page show a noticeable difference in how the inks are laid down on the paper. The original paper shows thicker, more even lines for each respective line. The new paper shows thinner, uneven lines, like the ink had a harder time grabbing onto the paper. Some of the difference might be in the writing surface: if the "old" paper was on top of other TR paper, it would have been softer to write on vs. a single sheet on a hard surface. Hopefully the two papers were used under the same conditions, however.

 

Quick montage of the Facebook photographs to show them side-by-side:

HhuEeI6.jpg

 

Tomoegawa is a paper manufacturer, and my understanding is that they do not sell at retail, instead they sell to paper distributors, who in turn sell to people that make products to be sold retail.

 

If you look at the wrapper in your picture, you have a product from Sakae Technical Paper, not Tomoegawa. Thus you're seeing whatever product #, SKU #, etc that SakeTP puts on their product.

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Tomoegawa is a paper manufacturer, and my understanding is that they do not sell at retail, instead they sell to paper distributors, who in turn sell to people that make products to be sold retail.

 

If you look at the wrapper in your picture, you have a product from Sakae Technical Paper, not Tomoegawa. Thus you're seeing whatever product #, SKU #, etc that SakeTP puts on their product.

 

That makes sense! It still raises the question as to how the customer will be able to see what version they are buying. These Sakae Technical Paper packages are the most common way to buy loose leaf 52g TR paper. Remains to be seen if Sakae will change the product code to reflect the new paper or not.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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It still raises the question as to how the customer will be able to see what version they are buying.

Probably no more than a consumer who purchases, say, a particular colour of Noodler's Ink can tell whether it's from before or after reformulation, when the manufacturer of the retail product considers it to be the same product and SKU.

 

These Sakae Technical Paper packages are the most common way to buy loose leaf 52g TR paper.

That may or may not be; who really knows? I'm certainly not seeing any retail sales data from Japan reflect either domestic or global purchases of loose leaf paper products made from Tomoe River 52g paper across brands for comparison; and I'd imagine sales in any English-speaking country, or by online ordering exporting to customers in those countries, constitute a relatively small in that regard.

 

Remains to be seen if Sakae will change the product code to reflect the new paper or not.

Why not just try to look up the company's details, and send it some written communication as an individual end-customer of its retail products demanding to know and asking for clarification (or change), instead of just waiting passively if you're so concerned?

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Hello! I'm Daryl - the original author of the piece that was linked. I can clear up some stuff.

 

I don't know that the N designation will make it to retail — as I understand it it's primarily for industrial sales (i.e. as a maker of books I will have access to this information, but the end customer may well not). As to Sakae, they're closely connected to Tomoegawa but is its own company. I have no information on what they might or might not do with their product codes.

 

As to why we took the post down: as some of you know, the company is an atelier that employs and empowers persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, and other disadvantaged individuals. We've always operated on the basis of transparency to the point of oversharing, and so the piece was originally written for our subscribers because it contained information regarding paper we used that I felt they should know.

 

Unfortunately, after it went viral, our inbox exploded. We were basically buried under an avalanche of panicked questions about Tomoe River from every corner of the community. While we tried to answer all these questions, eventually it became clear that we were burning a lot of time/effort on fielding questions about paper and were correspondingly spending less time actually, you know, making sure our artisans were taken care of.

 

In short, we couldn't keep up. I made the decision to take the post down so that we could actually concentrate on the work we're here to do.

 

At the end of the day, we're a customer of Tomoegawa like everyone else here. I think it should fall to them to explain any material changes to the structure and performance of their product, and to that end I'm glad they've released an official statement. If anything, our piece probably forced their hand a little.

 

I hope you understand why we decided to remove the piece. Happy to answer any detailed queries folks might have about the paper (so long as it doesn't blow up my inbox!)

Edited by Kessel
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Thank you so much, Daryl, for bringing the manufacturing change to the attention of the fountain pen community! The news has caused a splash due to the popularity of this paper (practically cult status), but it'll probably settle down soon.

. . .

 

I wonder if there's still plenty of old stock TR52 stashed away at distributors' warehouses to continue appearing in newly made journals for a while, before everything will use the 52N version. I'm curious if the current Hobonichi products use the 52N paper; their 2021 planners probably will.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Tomoegawa is a paper manufacturer, and my understanding is that they do not sell at retail, instead they sell to paper distributors, who in turn sell to people that make products to be sold retail.

 

If you look at the wrapper in your picture, you have a product from Sakae Technical Paper, not Tomoegawa. Thus you're seeing whatever product #, SKU #, etc that SakeTP puts on their product.

 

It is my understanding that Sakae is the producer Tomoe River paper.

Edited by Karmachanic

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Thank you so much, Daryl, for bringing the manufacturing change to the attention of the fountain pen community! The news has caused a splash due to the popularity of this paper (practically cult status), but it'll probably settle down soon.

. . .

 

I wonder if there's still plenty of old stock TR52 stashed away at distributors' warehouses to continue appearing in newly made journals for a while, before everything will use the 52N version. I'm curious if the current Hobonichi products use the 52N paper; their 2021 planners probably will.

 

At the scale at which Hobonichi operates stuff has to be manufactured well in advance. I don't think you'll be able to draw any conclusions based on the paper in the 2021 edition - wait for 2022.

 

 

It is my understanding that Sakae is the producer Tomoe River paper.

 

Tomoegawa is the manufacturer. Sakae TP repackages it into the loose leaf and black notebooks you see at retail.

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I have not tried the original. Is it a must buy? I was hesitant to do so, because I like to use both sides of the paper.

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I have not tried the original. Is it a must buy?

I think so. There's just so much hype about Tomoe River paper, I bought one pack of every different flavour that Sakae sells in A4 size. I used one sheet of it so far, and was pretty unimpressed, so most of the 200 sheets have been languishing unused at the bottom of a drawer (after I gave a few away to other hobbyists as samples). If I didn't buy, then I could only go by what others say about it and feel regret over missing out, instead of finding out for myself and then be comfortable with writing it off my list of wants. ;)

Edited by A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Tomoegawa is the manufacturer. Sakae TP repackages it into the loose leaf and black notebooks you see at retail.

 

Thank you. Those black notebooks are quite spendy in Eurolandia. Cheaper to purchase Elia/Taroko from Asia.

 

I went to the Tomoe website. Sakae is described there as the distributor

Edited by Karmachanic

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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I have not tried the original. Is it a must buy? I was hesitant to do so, because I like to use both sides of the paper.

 

I just wrote multiple paragraphs about why you should try it. But in the end: Yes, yes you should.

 

If you expect yourself to be sensitive to showthrough then start with a 68gsm Tomoe River notebook. I recommend working through a notebook instead of just filling a single sheet: I find that it takes me at least a month to get past the "newness" of a new paper so that I can learn what I really do and do not like.

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I think so. There's just so much hype about Tomoe River paper, I bought one pack of every different flavour that Sakae sells in A4 size. I used one sheet of it so far, and was pretty unimpressed, so most of the 200 sheets have been languishing unused at the bottom of a drawer (after I gave a few away to other hobbyists as samples). If I didn't buy, then I could only go by what others say about it and feel regret over missing out, instead of finding out for myself and then be comfortable with writing it off my list of wants. ;)

I'm a little the same. Bought a few packs and most remains unused. Beautiful writing sheet in terms of nib to paper but I cannot handle the paper gsm. As an old paper merchant it reminds me very much of what I would sell as bank paper back when. I get the hype why some people love it but not for me. Must say it does have cult status and I hope for the many devotees that the change doesn't change the usability. Nothing worse than losing the paper you love most.

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I used to not ever want to use the reverse side of most thinner paper, but my Hobonichi Cousin changed that. Remarkably, the pale 3.7mm grid is great at averting attention from any show-through of writing on the other side. I mostly stoped noticing it now.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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I find that ghosting disappears when I write over it.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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I just wrote multiple paragraphs about why you should try it. But in the end: Yes, yes you should.

 

If you expect yourself to be sensitive to showthrough then start with a 68gsm Tomoe River notebook. I recommend working through a notebook instead of just filling a single sheet: I find that it takes me at least a month to get past the "newness" of a new paper so that I can learn what I really do and do not like.

Yeah, but that is an expensive way to test paper. Someone on ETSY sells little sample packets.

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I remember wanting to own the Seven Seas notebook. For the number of pages the price was not bad, but the high shipping from the person who makes them made it a no no.

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The current Hippo Noto Pygmy Kickstarter appears ti be fulfilling with the previous version of the paper as it was probably into production before the change. I presume the post KStarter books will be the new version. I love the 68gsm paper except for the drying time but thats a minor negative to the amazing paper itself.

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The current Hippo Noto Pygmy Kickstarter appears ti be fulfilling with the previous version of the paper as it was probably into production before the change. I presume the post KStarter books will be the new version. I love the 68gsm paper except for the drying time but thats a minor negative to the amazing paper itself.

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We'd certainly be grateful should other notebook sellers and stores confirm which of the two versions they have in stock.

 

edit: clarity and shortened.

Edited by Sashku
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