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Japanese Fountain Pens

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发表于 9-12-2017 15:16:09 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 choi 于 9-12-2017 16:27 编辑

June Thomas, Masters of Ink; How the Japanese fountain pen company Nakaya anticipated the writing tool renaissance. Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Sept 4, 2017.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/f ... ng-tool-renaissance

Note:
(a) The print and online versions are same.
(b) "Over the past 10 years * * * sales of fountain pens have risen. * * * In 2016 they were up 2.1 percent from the year before, making fountain pens a $1 billion market, according to a report by Euromonitor International. To compare, the overall market for personal luxury goods—watches, handbags, cars—was stagnant over the same period * * * These forces are even more pronounced in the Japanese market, where a study by Yano Research Institute Ltd 株式会社 矢野経済研究所 [市場調査l based in Tokyo; 創業者 矢野雅雄 founded in 1958]. finds that fountain pen sales grew a remarkable 19.1 percent from 2014 to 2015, a leap attributed in part to an increased number of foreign buyers purchasing high-end Japanese products. In the Digital Age, it seems, the written word is the ultimate luxury."

Most analog copy shops were closed more than a decade ago in Boston alone.

(c) "The Nakaya Fountain Pen Co 有限会社 中屋万年筆 [founded in 1999], in Tokyo, was one of the first pen makers to realize this, doubling down on individual craftsmanship even as the industry as a whole began trending toward mass production. * * * Nakaya is the brainchild of Toshiya NAKATA 中田 俊也, grandson of Platinum Pen Co. プラチナ萬年筆(株) founder Shunichi NAKATA 中田俊一. Toshiya's father, Toshihiro 中田俊弘 * * * Nakaya's tiny but bustling headquarters in Taitō City, Tōkyo 東京都台東区 [The 区 in 東京都 is translated as 'city,' because Japan wants it that way] * * * Kazuo MARUYAMA 丸山和雄, a metal-press specialist, fabricated nibs * * * According to Nakata, as much as 75 percent of its sales come from outside Japan—even though the company has no presence on the trade show circuit * * * Instead, news of Nakaya spreads mainly through word-of-mouth
(i) Platinum founder started selling imported fountain pens in 1919, formed 中屋製作所 in 1924 (no manufacturing despite the name), changed company name to Platinum in 1928; current head is also 中田 俊也.  According to company website.
(ii) Platinum is also based in 台東区.  (The ja.wikipedia.org says its name origin is: "上野の高台の「台」と、上野の東側" -- east of a Taitō neighborhood called Ueno, which is high ground.)
(iii) nib (pen)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nib_(pen)
(illustration)

(d) "The ideal way to experience a Nakaya * * * is to hold it and feel it in your hand * * * at one of the many impressive fountain pen emporiums in Tokyo: * * * Maruzen 丸善 [name came from the record of founding papers that had the a fictitious founder 丸屋 善八] bookstore * * * stationery superstore Itōya 伊東屋 [founded in 1904 by 伊藤勝太郎 in 東京, hence the name] * * * or the well-stocked specialist shop Kingdom Note [Japanese name in katakana] in bustling Shinjuku 新宿 [区]."

(e) "Japan's three big [fountain pen] manufacturers—Pilot, Platinum, and Sailor * * * [Barrels of Nakaya's pen] explodes in reds, greens, pinks, ochers, cornflower blues, even bright oranges
(i) All three companies has katakana naming in Japan, with Pilot being the largest.)
(ii) cornflower blue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornflower_blue
(a photo of cornflower [click to learn origin of the name])

(f) "the blue-green finish, known as ao-tamenuri [where 'ao' is 青]* * * The company [Nakaya] makes only about 1,500 pens per year. And because many coats of lacquer are required to create the [barrel] * * * the process [of making a pen] takes about two months to complete.  Today, almost all the newly turned barrels are shipped to Wajima, a small peninsula six hours by train to the west of Tokyo. The area's claim to fame, and its status in Japan as an 'intangible cultural asset 無形文化財,' is the urushi lacquerware that artisans have been creating there since the 1500s."
(i) City of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture 石川県 輪島市 (noted for 輪島塗) is on PART of Noto Peninsula 能登半島.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wajima,_Ishikawa
(map)
(ii) Japanese-English dictionary:
* tamenuri 溜塗り; 溜塗 【ためぬり】 (n): "lacquering technique that uses a coloured-lacquer undercoating and a transparent-lacquer topcoat"
* urushi 漆(P); 漆樹 【うるし】 (n): "(1) lacquer; varnish (2) lacquer tree"
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