For Sale:
Vintage Japanese Advertising Ink Blotters

I recently aqcquired eight vintage Japanese advertising ink blotters which have never been used. I am offering these for direct sale from this page. These blotters are extremely rare, especially in their new condition, and would make valuable additions to your collection. They are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please e-mail me at:
r...@stutler.cc (Click on the address to see the whole thing) me to confirm the availability of a particular blotter before you make payment.

Most of these are from before or during World War 2, which can be determined by the direction of the characters. After the war, Japan was forced to print characters from left to right just like western characters. Before this, Japanese characters read from right to left.

Since fountain pens are a western invention, old Japanese fountain pen advertisements typically used Roman characters in combination with Japanese characters, resulting in a confusing layout where Japanese characters went right to left and Roman letters went left to right!

The first two blotters are from the legendary S.S.S. pen company in Japan (called "SAN ESU" in Japanese). SSS stands for "Sun, Sea, Star." Before World War II, the top three fountain pen companies in Japan were Pilot (Namiki), Swan and SAN-ESU. The SAN-ESU company was making pens before Pilot, and was a giant in the Japanese pen world until it ceased operations in the 1950s.

The other blotters are from the Well Pen Fountain Pen Company which was founded in the 1920's as the Onuki Pen Company before it changed its name to Well. This company was unique among the many Japanese pen companies at the time because it manufactured all its own parts. Many Japanese fountain pens from that era looked exactly alike, and you really couldn't tell them apart without reading the company names, but Well pens were different. The company finally shut down in the 50's soon after the death of its founder. Among the dozens of Japanese fountain pen companies at the time, the Well Pen company was one of the more prominent fountain pen companies before world war 2. Among its several claims to fame was the Well diamond tipped pen that used a special ink called diamond ink. These were supposed to be smoother than iridium tipped gold pens.

Blotters with horizontal Japanese text will have "left to right" and/or "right to left" in the description. English translations are in gray, and are free translations of the thought behind the phrases rather than word-for-word translations which often result in strange English. Many of the Japanese words and terms on these blotters are now obsolete, and do not appear appear in current dictionaries.

Click on any image to see a magnified image.

See the bottom of the page for ordering information.

S.S.S. Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 3/4 inches X 5 3/4 inches
9.5 centimeters X 14.6 centimeters

Japanese text:
san esu man nen hitsu
3 S Fountain Pens
heitai san no imon bun wo okurimaseu
Lets send words of consolation to the soldiers

Dating: War time

Price: SOLD

Reference number: B001


S.S.S. Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 3/4 inches X 5 3/4 inches
9.5 centimeters X 14.6 centimeters

Japanese Text (right to left):
nyu-gaku ni! shin-kyu ni! sotsugyo ni!
For school entrance! For advancement to the next gradel! For graduation!
san esu man-nen-hitsu
Three-S Fountain Pens

Dating: Pre-war or war time

Price: SOLD

Reference number: B002


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/8 inches
9 centimeters X 18 centimeters

Japanese Text (left to right and right to left):
shin-ko! daiya-pen tsuki
New sensation! Comes with diamond pen
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
sho-ko-sho dai-yo-hin-ten-kan-sa go-kaku hin
Item that successfully passed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry examination at its exhibition of substitution pens
kin-pen wo shinogu kaki-aji
The writing feeling exceeds that of gold pens
diamondo inki
diamond ink
juu-go no sonae-ni zehi-ippon
All citizens not on the front line ought to have one

Dating: War time

Price: SOLD

Reference number: B003


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/8 inches
9 centimeters X 18 centimeters

Japanese Text (left to right and right to left):
shin-ko
New sensation!
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
¥1.50 ijo
From 1.50 yen
diamondo inki
Diamond ink
shussei shoushi ni imon bun wo!! magokoro komete
For sending words of comfort from the bottom of your heart to officers and enlisted soldiers who went to war
tonomachi Uchida sho-ten denwa 611 ban
Tono city, Uchida book shop, telephone: 611

Dating: War time

Price: SOLD

Reference number: B004


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/4 inches
9 centimeters X 18.5 centimeters

Japanese Text (left to right and right to left):
shin-ko! daiya-pen tsuki
New sensation! Comes with diamond pen
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
sho-ko-sho dai-yo-hin-ten-kan-sa go-kaku hin
Item that successfully passed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry examination at its exhibition of substitution pens
kin-pen wo shinogu kaki-aji
The writing feeling exceeds that of gold pens
(Paragraph of Japanese text which I will not attempt to convert to Roman characters)
Description of how this pen was the only one chosen out of several thousand at the exmination of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry exhibition of substitution pens
¥1.50 ijo
From 1.50 yen
sai-shin sai-yu no kiko system
Latest, most superior system

Dating: Pre-war or war time

Price: SOLD

Reference number: B005


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/4 inches
9 centimeters X 18.5 centimeters

Japanese text: (right to left)
kaiteki
comfortable (pleasant,agreeable)
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
diamondo inki
Diamond ink
isa atarashiki rekishi kakan!
Come, let us paint a new history!
diamondo jigyou kabushiki-gaisha
Diamond Enterprise Inc.

Dating: Pre-war or war time

Price: $30.00 (plus shipping)

Reference number: B006


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/4 inches
9 centimeters X 18.5 centimeters

Japanese text: (left to right)
shin-ko
New sensation!
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
¥1.50 ijo
From 1.50 yen
diamondo inki
Diamond ink

Dating: Post-war

Price: $20.00 (plus shipping)

Reference number: B007


Well Fountain Pen Company

Approximate Size:
3 1/2 inches X 7 1/4 inches
9 centimeters X 18.5 centimeters

Japanese text: (left to right)
shin-ko
New sensation!
Well man-nen-hitsu
Well fountain pens
¥1.50 ijo
From 1.50 yen
diamondo inki

Dating: Post-war

Price: $20.00 (plus shipping)

Reference number: B008

Please also check out my Japanese fountain pens up for auction on eBay.

Ordering information

How to order:
e-mail me at:
tokyoruss@gmail.com
to confirm availability of the blotter.
Payment Options:
  • Paypal (click the Paypal button on the right)
  • Postal International Money Orders (you get them from the Post Office, and the payee is Rieko Stutler).
  • Cash (US dollars or Japanese yen). I cannot take responsibility if the cash gets lost along the way.

Shipping and Handling:

$5.00 USD for standard airmail shipping for any of the blotters on this page to anywhere in the world. If you buy more than one blotter at the same time, the shipping cost is still $5.00 for the whole package. I will wrap these blotters in plastic and sandwich them between two sheets of stiff board for protection.