Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Center

Japanese pens are a lot more than maki-e and urushi, and a lot more than Pilot, Platinum and Sailor. Hundreds of pen operations struggled in the domestic market during the post-war years. Then, two political decisions changed the landscape—the first was the implementation of the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS). Although it was not obligatory for the brands to adopt those norms, the JIS mark became visible on the nibs of the major companies. That mark ensured that the nib material was as declared, thus preventing the easy fraud of passing as solid gold those nibs that were just gold plated.


The second measure was the liberalization of the Japanese market to foreign–made pens in 1964. And according to Lambrou and Sunami (Fountain Pens of Japan. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-9571230-0), several hundreds of million of Chinese-made pens were sold in Japan on the following years, which seem like an awful lot of pens given the population of Japan: between 90 and 100 million people along the 1960s.


In any event, this foreign competition drove many Japanese pen operations out of the business and focused their activity in other products. That was the case, for instance, of the Sanwa Kôgyô Co. Ltd., owner of the brand Center. The company, based in Nara, is still active and on its website it mentions year 1964 and the endpoint to its pen production, started in 1932, due to the liberalization of the Japanese pen market.

Therefore, the model Center 61 was certainly produced before that year of 1964.


Sailor white pocket pen, 14 K gold nib – Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

谷村あいる & Bruno Taut
March-April, 2013
etiquetas: Japón, mercado, Center

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