25 August 2020

The Father, the Son, and the Anonymous Ghost

The father was, obviously, Nobuyoshi Nagahara. He created the Naginata Togi nib—a variable nib with longer tines. And he also set the basis for a number of successful experiments.

Nobuyoshi Nagahara, the father. (Chuo, Tokyo; October 2011).

An old Naginata Togi by Nobuyoshi Nagahara.

Nobuyoshi Nagahara retired in 2012, but his legacy was preserved in the hands of the son, Yukio Nagahara, and well inside the walls of Sailor. Therefore, the production of Naginata Togi nibs remained basically untouched.

The son, Yukio Nagahara. (Chuo, Tokyo; March 2013).

Naginata Togi nibs by Yukio Nagahara.

Nevertheless, the distribution of said nibs was interrupted in Winter of 2016. The reason, as explained by Sailor, was to meet the increasing demand and to train new hands to manufacture them. And, in fact, Yukio Nagahara formed a couple (at least) of apprentices during that time.

The general distribution resumed in October of 2018 together with the unpleasant detail of a dramatic price hike. But despite that this new generation of Naginata Togi nibs seems to be a market success.

Then, Yukio Nagahara left Sailor in February of 2020, and the current Naginata nibs simply cannot be made by him but by some anonymous nibmeisters in Kure.

The last generation of Naginata Togi nibs by anonymous ghosts.

Consequently, we have three generations of Naginata nibs. Those made by Nobuyoshi Nagahara, the father, enjoy a recent boom in demand and in price, much to the joy of those willing to part with them.

I wonder, then, whether the son, Yukio Nagahara, might reach a similar status at any moment as he no longer makes those special nibs.

And all we really have in the market are those made by some anonymous ghosts working for Sailor.

Sailor Mini, 18 K – Noodler's Beaver

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 24th 2020
Etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara, nibmeister Yukio Nagahara


Jyrki Muona said...

All true, but the essence is, who makes the best ones. If, indeed, some of them are better than others. In any case, I like Sailor nibs over the local competition.

Ppsystem said...

Thanks for your approach to the three generations of "original" Naginata. I've writed with the first generation (Nobuyoushi) and it's gorgeous, with the second (Yukio) and it's also absolutely incredible (probably the most impressive nib I own). Unfortunately I couldn't try the new ones.
In the Yukio's nibs undoubtedly I can find the high technical skill and the love for fountain pens.
I wrote "original" because nowadays we can found a lot of "Naginatamakers" that not fulfill the expectations.
Became a nib "takumi" (artisan with 60000hours of experience) is not easy. 🙂

Bruno Taut said...

Jyrki, hard to say who makes the better Naginata nibs. It might be a matter of personal choice, but the fact now is that those by the father command much higher prices. The reason? Ask the buyers.

As about how Sailor compares to other Japanese makers, again, a matter of personal preference I'd say.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.


Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Ppsystem, for passing by and commenting.

I tend to agree with your judgement on the quality of Yukio's Naginata nibs, but it is a tough call.

About so many self-appointed nibmeisters... not much to add. Time and free market will decide on their skills and actual commitment.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.


Tony said...

I was lucky enough to have own some of Nobuyoshi Nagahara San's specialty nibs, not only the naginata togi, but the rare King Cobra and others.
I confirm your observation. When I saw prices spiking, I parted with all my specialty nibs produced by the father. I found the ones made by his son to be more enjoyable. Those I kept in my collection.
I haven't tried the new ones, but I do love the minimalistic design on these new nibs.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Tony, for passing by and commenting.

I tend to agree with you. The paradox then is age might be more valuable than quality...



Scott in GA said...

your link for Yukio's departure uses his father's name.

Great article. Cheers.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Scott. Corrected.


Saltire Turquoise said...

Is there enough of a market for Sailor to keep producing versions of the Nagahara nibs? Might one of the new nib technicians create something new?

What's left to be invented?

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by and commenting.

Very interesting reflections! What I can see is that the price has made some room for a bunch of craftsmen (or apprentices) to market their own version of Naginata, and Sailor might aim at becoming the basic reference... but without Nagahara on board.

What is left to be invented? If we knew I we would try to implement that new idea. We need that creative mind. And I hope there is someone out there trying new things.

Thanks, Saltire.


Leonardo Izaguirre said...

Wao, no sabia estos interesantes detalles. Tengo, como creo que sabes, porque me examinastes uno, un B y un M, ambos de "7" según creo recordar. La verdad es que uno de ellos fue muy económico y otro por el orden de los 250 euros. Cuánto podrían llegar a costar ahora?? Pero eso palidece comparado con el hecho de que ya NT no es lo mismo que lo que fue. Esclarecedor para mi. Gracias Bruno.

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