27 March 2019

The Case of Naginata. IV. Writing

On the previous text I tried to deconstruct what a Naginata Togi nib was. I concluded that in essence, a Naginata Togi nib is a variable nib. My friend and fellow blogger Fudefan reminded me how Sailor marketed these nibs as optimized to write beautifully in Japanese.

A Naginata Togi nib.

Now, how true is that?

The following picture shows the same text (焼肉定食, yakiniku teishoku) with seven different pens. Only one of them is a Naginata Togi.

焼肉定食 with seven different pens. Some were Japanese, some Western.

Can anyone figure out which one was written with a Naginata Togi?

Which one do you think is more beautiful?

Finally, does this matter?

My thanks to Fudefan and to Poplicola-san.

Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Hôgadô Doroai (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Bunkyo, March 26th, 2019
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, japonés, mercado


Rafael R. P. said...

I am not able to read japanese but for me the more pleasant is the third from the bottom. Regarding the question about if it matters I believe it depends of the person writing. Sometimes I use an italic nib just for the fun of it.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Rafael, for your input.

You are right on the idea that the personal satisfaction of the user is a major factor in choosing one nib over the rest. But, if the final effect is similar --and this I wanted to point out on this text-- is the same as with the rest of nibs, the maker's argument might not be that relevant.

The fifth set is not a Naginata. I will leave it at that now.



ccahua said...

Haha, I too thought NT was 3rd from bottom! Thank you for saving me ¥ 54,000 and trip to Japan :-) Seriously, I would love to see a return to vintage flex or some nib innovation in material science or design but seeing as there is no need to innovate from big companies comfortable position, the niche will be filled by individuals and the smaller cottage artisan boutique industry a la Nagahara y Regalia Writing Labs.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, ccahua, for passing by and commenting.

Two- and three-fold nibs by Sailor were indeed innovative and interesting. Whether mainstream pen companies feel the need to innovate or not, time will tell. I think, though, that the proliferation of small companies will push them to create new products in order to find their own niche.


Unknown said...

The fifth, top to bottom?

Lee Chuan Zheng said...

I don’t know which is the naginata. But I think, owning one myself, none of the samples show the potential that this nib has in Asian calligraphy.

The third from bottom that many thought was a Naginata Togi is actually written with a stub nib or italic nib. It’s not traditional Asian calligraphy as there is too much variation in line width and the change is too abrupt, with different strokes having vastly different line widths. Asian Calligraphy’s line variation comes more gradually.

As for what a Naginata Togi can do in terms of writing Asian Calligraphy, here’s a link to a writing sample: https://imgur.com/a/Y5itt57

For more of such writings by others with much better calligraphy skill than I have, look to Instagram hashtags #長刀研ぎ or #長刀研

I’ve read on other forums that some people see Naginata Togis as nibs good for drawing for the ability to have line variation with angle. If you want that, a zoom nib is much cheaper.

I’ve also seen others describe Naginata Togis as a architect’s point. Yes, as from the writing sample, when writing English it does have a architect’s point character to it. The cross strokes are broader than the down strokes. Where the two differ is the shape of the grind. Naginata Togis have a triangular shape tipping that makes it more useful for Asian calligraphy. If you want it just for the architect’s nib character, just get a normal sailor nib grounded to a architect’s point, which is much cheaper.

There is a sense in the Asian writing world that some non Asians who buy this nibs have pushed the price of the nibs up due to the spike in demand unnecessarily while yet unable to appreciate its true potential. I won’t comment on that, but it’s definitely something to consider.

My final point is this. The Naginata Togi is an excellent choice as an Asian calligraphy brush replacement, and its true potential will be appreciated by those who already know the technique to Asian calligraphy.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Lee, for passing by and taking the time to comment. Lots of food for thought...

Now, from your work we could conclude that in order to take benefit of the Naginata Togi (NT) design you need to be well trained on that nib. And it is also quite clear that the brush technique is very different from the nib technique in order to recreate all the features of a beautiful kanji.

Now, if you needed that knowledge, how many actual users --either in the East or in the West-- should buy NT nibs?

I am sure Sailor is very happy with the success of NT nibs anywhere in the world. And whether the Western consumers are responsible for their increase in price... Well, East Asian users should stick to brushes instead of buying fountain pens.



Lee Chuan Zheng said...

Number of Those who should buy NT nibs- east and west is not really the point. I’m sure there are western people who can do brilliant Asian calligraphy. But as a whole, even in the east, people no longer learn such techniques(much like what happened with Spencerian and copperplate in the west). There are more people doing calligraphy with brushes than with fountain pens. This makes the number of people who can take advantage of this nib rather little. That said, I have no problem with people buying lots of Naginata Togis personally, but it would be better if they learn the brush first(not really difficult, basic techniques can be nailed down in a month).

Whether East Asians should stick to brushes, as a matter of fact, most do. East Asians will just have to live with the price increase. Anyway there are many nibmeisters who can do Naginata grinds, mike masuyama and tommy Zheng just to name a few. They can easily take a Ordinary broad nib to be modified for much less cost than to own a sailor factory version. And since Yukio Nagahara is leaving sailor for a career as a nibmeister, I’m sure people would be able to utilize his service for a much lesser cost than previously.

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