When you go to school in Japan, one of the most important things you learn is writing kanji (Chinese characters). But it is not just learning how to read and write them is important; at least as fundamental is how beautifully you can write. Therefore, calligraphy is an important subject for all Japanese students. Those who write neatly will have an easier time finding a job as handwriting analysis is still a thing for employers in Japan. Besides this serious reason for practising a lot of writing, it is also seen as an artform to be enjoyed as kanji lend themselves to artful writing. So it is no wonder that there is a lot of cool stationery to be found in Japan. Let us introduce to you some of the most unique, useful, and amazing stationery from Japan!
1. Washi letter paper
Who doesn’t like to receive a handwritten letter by snail mail? Sometimes it’s just nicer to send a loved one a letter instead of an email. It gives the receiver something tangible to treasure, and it adds a very personal touch. Washi paper is traditional Japanese paper made with long fibers that makes this paper strong and beautiful. This washi letter paper has a cute Japanese-style design and will make your letters even more personal.
▶Buy Washi Letter Paper
2. Lolay calligraphy pen set
And what better way to write your letter than with a calligraphy pen? Granted, it is a bit harder to not let it stain so you have to write slowly, but the result is a classically beautiful handwritten letter. The set comes in a pretty box, and it comes with a fountain pen with a feather, a pen stand, and 5 colors of ink. There are also different pen tips you can use for a slightly different style result.
▶Buy Calligraphy pen set
3. Traditional calligraphy brush
If you want to try your hand at traditional Japanese calligraphy, a good traditional brush is indispensable. This Akashiya brush is made with different types of bristles to make it elastic and strong, and the resulting combination creates a brush with an exquisite finish. You will be able to write the character strokes easily from the first to the last part of the stroke.
▶Buy Calligraphy brush
4. Calligraphy ink
Of course, when you buy a calligraphy brush, you are also going to want to get ink that is specifically meant for Japanese calligraphy. This ink from Bokuteki is often used by Japanese schoolchildren and other general use in Japan. You will be able to create beautiful and artful calligraphy paintings. For the best results, we also recommend you to buy washi to write on.
▶Buy Calligraphy ink
5. Highlighter Set
No matter which color you’d like to use to highlight important parts of a text, the Zebra Highlighter Set contains it. As the set comes with 25 hues, you can color-code a longer text easily so you can organize it by theme. It also comes with 2 tips on each pen, a thinner one and a thicker one, making it easy to highlight both larger and smaller letter types.
▶Buy Highlighter set
6. Portable scissors
This is one of those typical examples of very handy Japanese products; a portable pair of scissors. The scissors fold themselves in such a way that they become the shape of a pen. You can hide the sharp parts too, so it is safe to carry it around in your bag. The scissors can be used by both left- and right handed people.
▶Buy Portale scissors
7. Compact stapler
This stapler is not only very cute, but also especially functional and easy to use. It is so small that it is easy to carry it with you to school or work. You don’t need to worry about it opening up in your bag, as it has a handy click system that opens and closes the stapler.
8. Brush pen set
If you like drawing and coloring, a high-quality pen set is indispensable. These pens that come in 10 colors have a stiff brush tip that allows you to freely express line widths. You can smoothly draw vivid letters and illustrations. The nib is made of hard elastomer and has a firm, tailored brush tip. Because of this, you can control the pressure and create a wide range of expressions.
▶Buy Brush pen set
9. Cute sushi erasers
No one will be able to resist these super cute erasers in the shape of various sushi. If you work in an office you’d better be careful if you put this box full of sushi erasers on your desk, as many co-workers will want to borrow them and likely forget to return them! They are made of non-vinyl chloride and were made in Japan.
▶Buy Sushi erasers
10. Decoration tape set
You can use stickers or stamps to decorate your agenda, hand-written letters, invitations, or other creative projects, but these decoration tape set makes decorations even easier! With 5 different cute patterns you can make your decorations unique. The decoration tape ‘machines’ are easy to use. The set even comes with a special eraser so that it is easy to correct any mistakes and make it perfect.
▶Buy Decoration tape
11. Kawaii pen case
As you will need a good place to keep all your cool new stationery, you might just as well go for something unique. Japan is known for its love for all things kawaii, and these standing pen cases are incredibly cute. There are 15 different colorful designs to choose from, so there’s definitely something to your taste. The pen case can hold up to 22 pens, pencils, and other small appliances, and there is a special space for your eraser. You can either use it as a standing pen case with a flat button or as a longer case that you can close and carry with you.
▶Buy Pen case
High quality of Japanese stationery
Because the market for stationery is large in Japan, many companies compete with each other to keep coming up with something that’s newer and better. Products from Japan are known for their high quality and innovative designs. And also when it comes to practicality, Japanese stationery is second to none. You can easily order the above mentioned items online, or when you find yourself in Japan head to your nearest Donki, Tokyu Hands, LoFt or other well-known stores. Even the local 100-yen stores, Daiso and some konbinis will have a smaller selection of stationery items in stock.
Whether you’re looking for something special to gift someone, or if you want to add a nice item to your own stationery collection or would like to get a cool souvenir to bring home, make sure to check out one or more of the items listed above!
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Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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