Among Japanese stationery, which is famous for its cheapness and high quality, Japanese pens are especially popular because of their wide variety of colors and multifunctional features. Here are nine popular Japanese pen brands, along with their signature products.
Top Japanese Pen Brands
The first four brands I will introduce are what I personally call the Big Four. These companies are the most famous pen manufacturers in Japan. You can find products from these companies in any stationery store in Japan.
Pentel is a brand that offers a variety of writing instruments. One of the most famous products is the “Energel” series of gel ink pens developed by Pentel and are quick to dry yet smooth to write with.
Other than that, the company is particularly well known for its mechanical pencils, such as the “orenz”, which allow us to write without letting the lead come out. And also, “SMASH” has repeatedly won first place in Amazon Japan’s annual rankings in the category of mechanical pencils.
Incidentally, the company has recently expanded into various types of businesses, including electronic devices, industrial robots, and medical products.
ZEBRA is another brand that mainly sells ballpoint pens. It has recently produced the blockbuster ballpoint pen “Blen“. There are some other remarkable products, such as “SARASA dry”, which does not bleed at all even if you trace it with your finger immediately after writing. And “DelGuard” is a mechanical pencil that protects the lead from breaking because of the unique internal structure.
PILOT is one of Japan’s leading stationery manufacturers, famous for its “Frixion” series of Erasable Pen and “Namiki“, a high-end fountain pen designed with traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
The rest of the lineup is also very famous such as the oil-based pen “Acro” series, which is incredibly smooth and comfortable to write with. In addition, there is a water-based pigment ink pen “Juice”, which has a wide variety of colorful inks.
Apart from that, PILOT also offers a comprehensive range of other school and office products such as diaries, notebooks, pen cases, and many more. I have been a customer of PILOT since my school days til now. Personally, PILOT is my favorite brand among many Japanese stationery brands.
Speaking of Uni, the “JETSTREAM” series is the king of ballpoint pens in Japan. I use a variety of ballpoint pens, but I think Jetstream is the best ink.
Moreover, there are other unique pens like the “Alpha-Gel” series, which has an outstanding gel-like grip. And a special pen, “uni-ball one” is also available, which was developed in collaboration with a psychologist to improve memory with its thick ink.
Other Japanese Pen Brands
Of course, there are other popular brands besides the above four leading brands.
Sailor Pen is a long-established Japanese fountain pen brand. The nibs, which are the lifeblood of fountain pens, are all handmade by skilled artisans. And what makes it unique is that Sailor Pen has several types of nibs, including Sailor’s original nib called “Naginatatogi (長刀研ぎ),” which is long like a long sword.
Their corporate philosophy is very professional, which explains why they are a long-lasting fountain pen brand.
Be a pioneer of the culture of handwriting, while continuing to be uncompromising with your writing.en.sailor.co.jp
Tombow Pencil is another brand with a long history of offering various writing instruments. Their most famous product is probably the “MONO” eraser. But they also sell quite a lot of pens and pencils that imitate MONO’s black, white, and blue colors.
As the name suggests, Sakura Cray-Pas is the inventor of the world’s first Oil Pastel (Cray-Pas). However, other than cray pas, Sakura Cray-Pas is actually not very famous. Still, it is a brand that has introduced many newly developed products such as the world’s first water-based pigment ink sign pen “PIGMA” and the world’s first water-based gel ink ballpoint pen “Ball Sign”.
Originally, Kuretake mainly sold Japanese calligraphy tools. But it is also a stationery manufacturer that offers “MANGAKA”, which is ideal for drawing manga and illustrations, and some other fountain pens.
Kuretake also has brush pens, which are a combination of a Japanese writing brush and a pen. So it is a good brand for those who want to experience Japanese calligraphy.
Ito-ya is a stationery store with its headquarter in Ginza, Tokyo. Founded in 1904, Ito-ya has a long history and is considered a sacred place for stationery lovers in Japan. While it is a stationery store, it also sells many original products, and the most popular of which is “Romeo No. 3”, whose body is made of marble with a luxurious look.
What did you think? As I have attached the links to their global sites, please look for your favorite pens if you find any of the brands interesting. Also, suppose you can’t find the product you want on Amazon or online stores in your own country. In that case, you can use the Amazon Global service to purchase via Amazon Japan.