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The Paper Plane : Yamamoto Bank Paper Takasago Premium


namrehsnoom
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The Paper Plane – Yamamoto Bank Paper Takasago Premium
 
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I've been enjoying this little corner of the web for some time now, mainly focusing on inks and pens. But these are more or less useless without the humble paper or notebook that will let you capture your thoughts.  So here comes the "Paper Plane", where I review some of the paper and notebooks that I've enjoyed using over the years. Today's guest: Yamamoto Bank Paper Takasago Premium.

 

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I recently bought a 50-sheet pack of A4 Yamamoto Bank Paper Takasago Premium. I never used this paper before, and decided to add it to my set of testing papers. Starting from information on the packaging label, and exploring further online, I found out that this paper is a joint development of Mitsubishi Paper Mills and Yamamoto Paper Mills. 

 

 

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On February 4, 2020, a development meeting was held at the Mitsubishi Paper Mills Takasago Plant, and Taizo Yamamoto (Yamamoto Paper Mills) proposed Bank Paper Takasago Premium. He presented five challenges for the development of this new paper.

  1. compatible with fountain pens
  2. silk skin smoothness
  3. good shading properties
  4. good presentation of ink colour
  5. quick drying for use in notebooks

Looking at these issues from the viewpoint of papermaking technology, they are in conflict with each other. For example, paper that absorbs slowly produces shades of ink, but is not suitable for use as a notebook. The Takasago factory development team successfully solved these five difficult problems by adjusting raw materials and processing techniques. After repeated trial productions, Bank Paper Takasago Premium was finally made at Takasago Unit 4 on September 8, 2020. 

 

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I got me a 50-sheet A4-sized pack of this 87.9 gsm paper. The quality starts with the packaging. A simple plastic package, but I appreciate that it comes with a resealable flap that doesn’t tear on first use. Yamamoto included a thick A4 ruling-guide sheet, with a 5 mm square grid on the front and an 8 mm rule grid on the backside. You can put this sheet under the paper as a guide while writing. I personally never use such ruling sheets, but I appreciate that it is included with the paper.

 

 

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Each sheet of A4 paper contains a watermark with the words “THREE DIAMONDS”. This watermark serves as a proof of development at the Mitsubishi Paper Mills and as a quality guarantee. I tested the paper with different pen / ink combinations to find out if it’s really as good as Yamamoto promises:

 

 

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For the test, I used a number of different inks – ranging from lowly saturated to heavily saturated. The paper handles these different inks really well, showcasing the colour of the inks and enhancing their shading. These promises are certainly fulfilled. I especially liked that this paper brings the many nuances in an ink to the front. Even a low-shading ink looks really nice on this paper. 

 

This is not a super-heavy paper, but it still manages to almost completely prevent see-through and bleed-through. In the test (bottom-right corner) I made an ink dot where I really saturated a small spot with ink, and it took quite some effort before I got any bleed-through. Very well done!  Drying time on this smooth paper is also very reasonable, making it a good paper for quality notebooks. I intend to use this paper for making my own refills for use in a Filofax Refillable Notebook

 

So, is this a flawless paper? Well – not completely. There are two minor shortcomings. One: the paper has a special feel to it… a bit oily… slippery… I’m not sure how to describe it. The paper is indeed silky smooth, but this also means that it lacks a textured feel when you touch it. Just a personal impression, but I don’t quite like the feel of this paper. Second: the paper is indeed super smooth, to the point that some pens might have trouble with it. With my Lamy Safari M-nib, the pen had a tendency to skip. The nib couldn’t always get a good grip on the paper, stopping ink flow. If you look carefully at the top-left part of the test sample, you can see this in action (e.g. in the “y” of the word “tendency”). Again, not too much of a problem, because I only noticed it with some pens. But still something to be aware of – this might not be a good choice of paper for fast writing.

 

Conclusion
This 87.9 gsm Yamamoto Bank Paper Takasago Premium is a high quality paper, specifically created for use with fountain pens. And it shows: inks look really good on this paper, both in colour and shading. The paper is also top-notch with zero see-through and bleed-through. It’s only shortcoming is that it is a bit too smooth – personally I prefer a more textured feel. Still, it is an excellent addition to my test set of writing papers. 
 

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Thanks for this review!  I already see growing interest in papers in the community, so this is a very timely new series!  Looking forward to more. :)

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