There are already many historical description of Namiki Pen Manufacturing Company available in maki-e reference books. Here, let me provide a different angle of how Namiki Pen had evolved since the last few decades since the late 1980s till now. It provides an important reference for Namiki Pen collectors in their research and gathering of information. Continue reading About Namiki Pen
Namiki pen nibs are well known to many pen users for delivering the best writing experience. It comes in various nib sizes from EF (extra fine), SMF (soft medium fine), MS (Music Soft) etc. You can see the range of nib sizes available on this chart:
Namiki pen nib chart:
For a very long time, whenever there is a Namiki pen for sale , it is fitted with only F, M and B nibs. But, over the years as calls for Namiki to increase the range of nibs available for users, they have finally take heed.
In fact, most of the Namiki pen nibs are actually available long ago; except that it was available only in the domestic market for PILOT pens.
The experience of using a Namiki pen nib is enhanced if you can start to use the bigger or perhaps, the biggest pen nib; The Jumbo 50 Namiki pen nib. It is usually fitted only in the Emperor size pens which measures 15.5 cm in length.
It’s like sitting behind a Rolls Royce where you can feel the steadiness of how the nib glides on the paper as if you can actually feel the grains on the paper!
When it comes to negotiating the corners, it never skips and continue to deliver the unmatched writing experience of the grip on the paper surface.
The most beautiful part is about to come……the scratching of the sound on the paper. It is like music to the ears of a true writer because it delivers an almost subliminal instinct to produce creative juices in the writer that it prompts the user to chase after the creative idea one after another and another… That’s the experience of using the Jumbo 50 Namiki pen nib.
Of course, you will find differing experience using the Yukari Royale, Yukari and the Nippon Art collection. All will give you differing experiences because the size of the pen differs with the nib that was fitted to it.
Namiki Pen nib clinic was the first of a series of activity Pilot Japan interacts with its customers to understand their special requirement on the pen nib.
In the sequence preceding year 2001, a special collection of Namiki pens were made by Namiki. These are the Namiki Pink Sakura, the Namiki Goose & Pink, Namiki Dancing Beauty and Portuguese Tradeship (alias Sailing Boat).
The edition sizes were 62, 83, 75 and 73 pieces respectively with the last matching numbered set being 62. It was not easy to have all the 4 pieces to be in matching set as it took, literally, 3 years to have all the various pieces made and delivered to customers due to the immaculate detail in the making of these pens. Many customers have forgotten about their order and from hind sight, it appears that the wait is all worth the while now as there are very few sets of four that are in matching numbers.
A quick reference to the book The Fountain Pens of The World revealed an interesting evidence that all these pens were actually a reproduction of prototypes made in the early years
Pink Sakura – reproduction of Vest Type, Raden Aogai-Pearl c. 1926
Goose & Pink – reproduction of a prototype c. 1968
Dancing Beauty – reproduction of Hagoromo c. 1926
Sailing Boat – reproduction of Portuguese Tradeship by Ritsuzan c. 1931
They are all absolutely fabulous masterpieces that are not available now except in the Pilot / Namiki museum archive.
The reproduction of Namiki Pink Sakura was the most outstanding as it was made by then the Chief Kokokai 國光會Artist- Master Kyusai Yoshida (吉田久齋). Appreciating the pen as one rotates the pen in the hand, it is as if you are looking at the glitter of a kaleidoscope. Pearls and aogai shells cut in the shapes of hearts to form the outline of sakura were seen as if it was in the floating world.
On a roiro background, the Namiki Goose & Pink revealed the simple pleasure of seeing a cute gander looking smart and right facing the world. The outstanding creation of the goose using silver on its breast revealing details of the layers of feathers and the high relief taka maki-e lacquer on its torso is a pleasure to feel and touch.
It was the lowest priced pens then and was the first to be sold out. Nevertheless, you can find the original prototype Goose & Pink in Elephant & Coral Singapore, from which the limited edition 83 pieces Goose & Pink, were modelled and reproduced around 2001.
a. A Heritage of Maki-e Pens – The Briggs Collection (Book is available for sale at Elephant & Coral – click here )
b. Fountain Pens of The World by Andreas Lambrou.
To many collectors, there are various reasons why certain pens appeal to them. Specifically, when comes to colour, green is not the colour many will cast their eyes on it. Green is usually deeper in colour when comes to maki-e (so far, I have not seen lime green lacquer). It is not the first preference for many users or collectors because it doesn’t stand out.
In the case of the Namiki Dancing Beauty, I have always advocate it as the ugly duckling that turns into a beautiful swan; if only one knows and sees beyond what this pen means in the future. The resemblance of this pen to an antique 1926 design is no coincidence but shows the high level of appreciation of art during the golden age of fountain pens.
The slender figure of the dancer under the aogai inlaid cherry blossom tree has an intricate illustration of aogai pearl shells,taka maki-e high relief lacquer and detail exhibit of the beauty of the clad kimono. On close scrutiny, the green lacquer is not just pure green but sprinkles of aogai shells are visible within the lacquer.
Green lacquer is not only rare in many maki-e but also precious. Essentially, because many did not like it on first sight; few are being collected or in the hands of users. Isn’t this a perfect excuse to collect it? Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder….
The only Jumbo 50 Emperor size pen made by Namiki among the collection. Namiki Portuguese Tradeship (alias Namiki Sailing Boat) illustrated a huge majestic ship in the ports of the Bugafu government.
With the maru pun gold dust sprinkled lightly on the entire pen and togidashi maki-e to give it the archaic look, the artist attempted to create a hybrid of the East and West cultures to appeal to foreigners.
Today, more than a decade now, a full set of these 4 matching numbered pens are rare and precious due to many reasons. It’s intrinsic value of beauty and art is undeniably the most interesting by Namiki in its attempt to bring back beauty of fine writing instruments during the Golden Ages of Fountain Pens during the 1920s and 30s.
Pilot Limited Edition Pen – 95th Anniversary Rising Dragon
Negoro Ware was the most popular lacquer ware during the Muromachi period of Japan (1392 – 1573). The name Negoro was derived from the original place of manufacture at the Negoro temple in Kii Province, Japan during the 14th century.
Unknown to many collectors of maki-e pens, the Pilot 95th Anniversary Noburi Ryu is the like of Negoro ware which is greatly prized for their appearance of antiquity. When the time the black layer becomes visible in patches through the vermillion layer, it exhibits this simple, yet powerful complexion that makes them precious and admired.
The first look on the this maki-e Pilot Dragon Penwould gave it a miss because many thought that the dragon looks whimsical and does not bear the ferocity of most Dragons in the Pilot Limited Edition Pen that were made in the past or recent times.
Many a times, we hear quotes of “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Besides the literal meaning of how words from a pen can cut like a sword; the fountain pen in particular was used in ancient times as a “Stylus”.
Ancient people were using a sharp-pointed sword-like object to write by scratching on Tabula (waxed wood or polished stone) or leaves. This is the stylography which is said to be the very first original form of writing tool and it was named “Stylus” in Greek and they were made of hard material objects such as metal, bone and horn etc.. It’s tip was pointed for writing purpose while the other end was shaped spherically or flat so that when the writings on “Tabula” is no longer needed the end was used to rub off.
These Stylus became the “symbol” of those aristocratic intellectuals who were able to write characters. It was not only treasured but also used as a weapon for self defense. In fact, the famous story of using Stylus as weapon is the heroic end of Julius Caesar who, in his last breath, said “You too, Brutus!” as he fell on the floor. That is to say, Julius Caesar, who was attacked by outnumbered assassins at Boule (parliament) fought a vigorous head-on clash with his Stylus as swords and Tabula as shield. Due to this incident, at one time there was even a law which prohibited general public from using metal Stylus.
From1969 ~ 1972, Pilot made some small quantity of sterling silver fountain pen that models after the ancient stylus. The style is very similar to the ancient India stylus used around 200~300 B.C
A rare Pilot Stylus made c. 1969~72 of sterling silver
The Pilot Sterling Silver Stylus fountain pen is a rare example of re-producing the aural and heritage of an ancient Stylus pen. The entire pen is handmade as you can see the chisel marks on the cap and barrel.
As you draw the fountain pen out of the cap, it is as if you are drawing a sword. One end of the barrel is shaped rounded to resemble the eraser while the tapered end resembles that of a dagger.
It has a wonderful weight and its unusual shape made the pen both unique and lethal.
The Pilot Stylus Sterling Silver fountain pen comes with complete certificate and an explanation of its original thoughts behind making this pen.
To many others, a fountain pen is always about righteousness, gallantry and wisdom. The Pilot Sterling silver fountain pen serves as a reminder on the original thoughts of how a fountain pen should serve the people and its master.