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The Simple Joys of Japanese Stationery

Stationery makers in Japan offer a dazzling lineup of innovative and trendy products, including customizable notebooks, masking tape in a rainbow of colors and designs, and imaginatively shaped erasers. Whether for a gift or personal use, there is something to meet almost any taste. In this series we delve into the remarkable world of writing materials to explore the ideas behind some of Japan’s most creative stationery items.

Ever-Evolving Stationery: Japan’s Stationery King Names His Top Five PicksTakabatake Masayuki

For anyone with an interest in stationery, Japan is about the closest you can come to heaven. These days, major stationery retailers benefit from a constant flow of tourists looking for gifts to take back home. Japan’s King of Stationery, Takabatake Masayuki, discusses a subject close to his heart—the evolution of Japanese office and writing products.
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Japanese Firm Tomoe Soroban Hails the Brain-Training Power of the AbacusMitamura Fukiko

The abacus, for centuries an essential computation tool, has today largely been replaced by electronics. In Japan, though, it remains in use as a way to teach children basic arithmetic and to keep older minds feeling young. In this article we visit Japanese firm Tomoe Soroban to learn about the changing role of the age-old counting device.
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Celebrating the Joy of Writing with Kakimori Made-to-Order NotebooksMitamura Fukiko

Tokyo stationery shop Kakimori offers custom-made notebooks and other unique items that inspire people to shun all things digital and re-embrace the simple pleasures of pen and paper.
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Labeling Japan for 30 Years and CountingMitamura Fukiko

For three decades people have been using the Tepra label printer by Japanese stationery maker King Jim to spruce up and better organize home and office environments. The compact machine continues to win fans with its versatile functions and wide varieties of fonts and backgrounds.
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Crafted Comfort: Hacoa Brings the Warmth of Wood to the Digital AgeMitamura Fukiko

A small band of artisans in Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, are the force behind Hacoa, a brand built on the local lacquerware and woodworking traditions. With its diverse product line, Hacoa has earned accolades for its uniquely designed wooden renderings of everyday items.
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A Longtime Writing Companion: Japan’s Tsubame NotebookMitamura Fukiko

The Tsubame notebook first appeared seven decades ago and has become an iconic fixture in Japan. Since its debut it has garnered many fans, including the likes of film director Kurosawa Akira and French fashion designer Agnès B. The company that makes the sturdy, easy-to-use item has begun to branch out with new product series, but continues to insist on the quality that has been the bedrock of its success.
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Japanese Firm Brightens Work and Study with Adorable Collectable ErasersMitamura Fukiko

Japanese stationery maker Iwakō has tapped into the playful spirit of students and office workers alike with its series of collectable novelty erasers. The small firm offers a wide range of designs, including cuddly animals, vehicles, popular foods, and dinosaurs. The erasers have won droves of fans in Japan, an achievement the company hopes to replicate overseas.
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The Attractive, All-Purpose Masking Tape of Kamoi KakōshiMitamura Fukiko

In Japan, lovers of do-it-yourself crafts have lifted masking tape from its mundane industrial beginnings and transformed it into an eye-catching item that can add a touch of color to almost any project. We visited Japanese firm Kamoi Kakōshi in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, to learn more about its popular MT brand.
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Hit the Road in Japan and Abroad with the Traveler’s NotebookMitamura Fukiko

It has been 11 years since the debut of the Traveler’s Notebook. Created by Japanese design firm Designphil, the customizable notepad offers a wide variety of unique features and accessories, including a leather cover hand-crafted in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since its launch, it has grown to become a favorite among globe-trotters in Japan and abroad.
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