The Extraordinary Mount Fuji Eraser
Mount Fuji Emerges the More You Erase
There is nothing novel about stationery items featuring Mount Fuji. However, Japanese office supply company Plus Corporation has struck a chord with fans with its line of Air-In erasers modeled after the iconic peak. The firm launched a limited-edition of Mount Fuji erasers in the summer of 2019 that quickly grabbed the attention of social media users. Spurred on by the success of its Fujisan keshigomu, Plus in December made the erasers a regular part of its line up of products.
Straight from the wrapper, erasers look nothing like Mount Fuji, bearing only a blue exterior with a white center. With repeated use, however, the outer blue wears away, revealing the inner white layer. By carefully angling the eraser, users can sculpt the head into a point resembling the snowy summit of Mount Fuji.
The product comes in six distinct casings based on traditional Japanese designs, including an ichimatsu check motif and a shippō (seven treasures) pattern of interlocking circles, with each featuring imitation gold-leaf embossing. The erasers contain porous ceramic powder for easier rubbing, making them practical and fun to use.
After the erasers went on sale in July, users starting posting photos of their creations online. While forming the perfect Mount Fuji shape can be fun, it also requires persistence and skill.
Twitter user @iamokura_2 wrote: “I recently received this Mount Fuji eraser. I think I need more practice to make it perfect …”
Another Twitter user, @ikeda_aka, posted photos of their decidedly round-topped Mount Fuji.
Encouraging Eagerness to Erase
Plus says it developed the Mount Fuji erasers with the idea of designing a product that could turn what is generally considered a negative into a positive. Erasing is typically associated with making mistakes, something people try to avoid doing. However, designers looked to overcome this stigma by creating an eraser that would be exciting to use.
An online promotion campaign that drew over 8,000 responses on social media helped bring attention to the erasers. Plus was encouraged by people’s enthusiasm for the item, including individuals who aspired to create their very own Mount Fujis or to create a uniquely shaped mountain to post on platforms like Instagram.
Following the launch of the limited-edition erasers, the concept of “enjoyable erasing” generated a great deal of online buzz among Internet denizens. Once the erasers sold out, thought, the chatter turned to cries of disappointment as people were unable to get their hands on the product.
Plus initially offered two erasers: a blue Fuji and a red Fuji. However, popularity of the blue version led the firm to adopt it as the standard. The company says there is no clear reason for the difference in appeal, but possibly the blue Fuji fits closer with people’s image of the mountain.
In designing the eraser, Plus relied on three-dimensional data to shape the white interior, meticulously adjusting the pattern to make it easier for users to sculpt realistic-looking Mount Fujis. With the second edition, the firm changed the lettering on the label from gold to blue ink to improve visibility and curved the sides at the top of the casing to reduce pressure on the body of the eraser, making it less likely to break when being used.
Aspiring Fuji artists can pick up a single eraser for around ¥200. Plus also offers a pocket-sized box of 12 featuring two of each design for aficionados wanting to distribute erasers as gifts.
The Secret to Shaping Mount Fuji
Creating an accurate replica of Mount Fuji takes some skill, and Plus recommends people remove the eraser from its casing to make it is easier to picture the whole mountain when shaping.
However, it warns that excessive tapering might cause the point of the eraser to break, reducing a carefully rendered mountain to a broken mess. People may be tempted to try to shape a steep peak like Mount Everest, but the firm says to limit the risk of breakage it is better to attempt gentler slopes like Fuji’s.
Plus hopes the erasers will be a hit with the growing number of foreign travelers to Japan and help spread awareness of the beauty of Mount Fuji while also sharing a great Japanese product.
(Originally published in Japanese on FNN’s Prime Online on December 15, 2019. Translated and edited by Nippon.com.)
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