30 July 2019

On Iwase Seisakusho

I have mentioned Mr. Iwase several times (::1::, ::2::) on these Chronicles—he is a pen aficionado who decided to master the craft of raden decoration.

Mr. Iwase started his training about 15 years ago. At first, he customized pens, mostly Montblanc and Pelikan, that he sold locally in Tokyo. His trade soon included some pen bodies made by lathe master Momose Yasuaki equipped with nibs by nibmeister Kubo Kohei.

In 2018, Mr. Iwase decided to become more serious and systematic on his hobby. He created the brand Iwase Seisakusho and started signing his creations. And the selling channels were Instagram and some pen shows.

The pens under the brand could be categorized in three types: customizations, a regular model, and a small number of special pens.

The customizations were made on Montablanc and Pelikan pens. Mr. Iwase applied his craft on their surface and left the operative part of the pen untouched.


A Montblanc 149 customized by Mr. Iwase.


Three customizations over Pelikan M1000.

The regular model, model N, was made over unused bodies manufactured by Ishi Shoten (owner of the brand Yotsubishi). These bodies hand to be adjusted, completed with the filling system –Japanese eyedropper-- and nib and feed sourced by nibmiester Kubo. Needless to say, the pen was decorated by Mr. Iwase with urushi and raden.


The N model by Iwase Seisakusho.

Finally, the special models –called generically Kinsei pens-- were one-of-a-kind units. The pen bodies were the work of lathe master Momose; the nibs, were, once again, the product of nibmeister Kubo.


Two examples of Kinsei pens by Iwase Seisakusho.

The problem of this operation was the very limited production that, to make matter worse, relied solely on the hands of Mr. Iwase. And as of today, July 2019, the productions is stopped and the communication channels are disabled.

Iwase Seisakusho, therefore, was alive for about a year with a total production of about 30 pens.

Too few pens, and too short life.

These pens were interesting for both the decoration and the features as pens, particularly in the case of the N model and the Kinsei pens. Japanese eyedroppers with interesting nibs and ebonite feeds... And a gorgeous and well made decoration.


Interesting nib, interesting feed.

Too good to be true? Too costly? Too expensive?

Or just too much for a very small operation?


My thanks to Mr. Iwase.


Ban-ei with Henckel nib – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 12th 2019
etiquetas: Japón, mercado, Iwase Seisakusho, Momose, nibmeister Kubo

28 July 2019

Bring Pilot's Pen Station Back

Pilot's Pen Station was the museum of pens Pilot had at its headquarters in Tokyo, not far from Ginza. The museum open in October of 2002, substituting an older and smaller exhibit, and closed down on March 31st of 2016 (::1::, ::2::), when the company closed the building to demolish and reconstruct the headquarters at the same site.


The old building...


... and some of its contents.

Three years later the new building was completed and becoming operative. Now the site is shared with a hotel of the Hankyu company and some restaurants.


The new building, now shared with a Hankyu hotel.

However, Pilot has no plans to reopen the old museum. Some of the items on display were moved to the production plant in Hiratsuka, where the company had already created a small museum on maki-e pens. But the available space is limited and the old gunpowder building can hardly host a larger museum space. Hiratsuka, at the same time, is over one hour away from Tokyo.


The gunpowder building at the Hiratsuka plant of Pilot's.

In view of all this, and missing that lovely museum so much, I have decided to campaign for Pilot to reopen it somewhere in Tokyo. And I invite all of you to show your interest and support.


Let's fill up this label: #pilotpenstation!

On Instagram, where I go as @brunotaut_fp, I am using the label #pilotpenstation to group together all the related posts. And some of you, active as you are on other social media, could start similar labels and actions on those.

And, who know, Pilot might listen to us!


Pilot Super Ultra 500 – De Atramentis Beethoven

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 27th 2019
etiquetas: redes sociales, Pilot, Tokyo, Japón

21 July 2019

Updates to the Tokyo Pen Shop List

I have just updated the page Tokyo Pen Shops. This was long overdue after two years since the last time I revised it. Fortunately, the Google Map service that allow for the map is a lot easier to edit now.

The main changes are the inclusion of some shops to the list:

Tsutaya at Ginza Six. This shop offers a regular selection of pens, plus a handful of unique models made in collaboration with Wajimaya Zen-ni. Re inks, this shop also offers a small selection of original colors on top of a solid supply of the regular brands.

TAG – Takeda Jimuki in Gotanda. TAG is a chain of stationery shops owned by the company Takeda Jimuki. The Gotanda branch seems to be the biggest in Tokyo. Its main appeal are the TAG inks. Although these are also available at other shops (Itoya, Angers, Okamotoya,...), prices here are slightly better.


Takeda Jimuki inks at TAG.

Okamotoya in Toranomon. This is an old office supply shop newly restored as a modern stationer with a very Japanese flavor. It displays a regular selection of pens and an interesting gamut of inks, including TAG and the Korean brand Tono & Lims.


Okamotoya in Toranomon.

Eboya in Arakawa. This is the shop of Nikko Ebonite to sell Eboya pens. This is the only stable place where to purchase this brand. The alternatives are regular sale events –usually at department stores in Japan-- or a through a handful of online shops.


Eboya shop in Arakawa.

I have also updated information on other shops: Kingdom Note (Map Camera) changed the location of the pen section. Kinpendo created a website.

On the negative side, some shops went under –Daiya Sutoa in Ameyoko--, or moved out of town –Füllhalter is now in Abiko, Chiba. I also removed all references to Pen Station, the deeply missed museum of Pilot in Kyobashi, Tokyo.

The list, as usual, is far from complete. Feel free to email me with more information.


Pelikan M400 Rilke – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 19th 2019
etiquetas: mercado, Tokyo