Saturday, January 28, 2017

From Wajima

This situation I am about to describe is not new and, at the same time, is bound to happen again.

I already mentioned the phenomenonmaki-e decorated pens are different from other types of pens. And those fond of maki-e pens are, as well, different from most other stylophiles. Therefore, when maki-e becomes the name of the game, why not cater that specific market? Why should the production of maki-e pens be limited to the big pen makers? In fact, it is not, and it was not the case in the past.

Maki-e craftsmen have the decorative power, so to speak, and they use almost any object as the canvas for their creations. Then, why not explore these cylindrical tools?

Wajima, in the prefecture of Ishikawa in the coast of the Sea of Japan, is a well established center of maki-e creators. In fact, some Nakaya pens are decorated in that city, and we have already seen a Sailor pen with that origin. The next step, then, was for those craftsmen to get a fuller control of the product.

And that is what the company Wajimaya Zen-ni is doing now. This bicentenary company, founded in 1813, decorates a number of objects with an array of maki-e techniques, and now, they signed a small collection of fountain pens.


A beautiful collection of maki-e decorated goods.


Well, those objects implement nibs.

These are cartridge-converter pens with nib and feed made by German manufacturer JoWo. The heavy body is made of steel by Shimada Seisakusho, according to the information provided by Wajimaya Zen-ni. But this detail might not be that important, after all. The quality of the maki-e is very good, and the prices are accordingly high— JPY 250000, plus tax, the cheaper of them.


The writing part, nib and feed, is made by JoWo. The feed is made of ebonite. The nib is a size 6 made of 14 K gold.


The decoration is certainly of very high quality. And the prices show that.

But, what is the potential customer buying, a maki-e decorated good from Wajima or a German pen?

Is Wajimaya Zen-ni making pens or just dressing them in expensive costumes? It might not matter that much. What matters now, is that another company asks for a spot in the realm of maki-e fountain pens, and it does not really make any fountain pen.


Oaso “Safari” – Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo

Bruno Taut
Toshima, January 28th 2017
etiquetas: maki-e, Wajimaya Zen-ni, JoWo, mercado

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