The Hakase Event 2003
An array of Hakase pens on display at the annual event.
Each year in October, the Hakase Fountain pen staff leave their busy work benches in Tottori prefecture, and head to Tokyo for their annual event. This year it was held on October from the 24th the 26th. As usual, and event was held on the second floor of the dimly lit Pow Wow coffee shop as usual. I mention "dimly lit" as an excuse for the quality of these photos! Without a tripod, most of my photos were ruined by the slightest heart beat, and my heart was certainly beating this day!
Here is the street the bustling street leading up the hill to Pow Wow. I've been in Tokyo so long, I sometimes forget the excitement of just standing on a street corner in Tokyo.
The front entrance to Pow wow with sign announcing the Hakase event inside.
As customers stream in, the staff members sit down with them at one of the tables and discuss pens over coffee. Many people take this opportunity to have their handwriting style analyzed and recorded in person, and then order their Hakase pen. As I have mentioned in a previous article, Hakase pens are handmade, and take a year to complete.
President Masaaki Yamamoto analyzing a customer's writing sample.
Hakase craftsman Harumi Tanaka
Hakase president Masaaki Yamamoto, his wife and son were in attendance as well as craftsman Harumi Tanaka. This year I met the newest staff member, Mr. Kitamura who is learning the the ropes to become Hakase's new pen craftsman along side Mr. Tanaka.
Young Mr. Kitamura with Mrs. Yamamoto
He and Ryo Yamamoto (son of the president) will assure that the tradition and craft of Hakase Pens will continue and flourish in the new century. Incidentally, Ryo Yamamoto is fluent in English, which will allow the small company to meet the needs of international customers who come to Hakase via the internet.
Young Mr. Yamamoto discussing pens with another Hakase fan.
Another new addition this year was the display of Private Reserve inks. Hakase has become Japan's first (and only) distributor of Private Reserve inks. Now, the Japanese fountain pen community does not have to have a command of English in order to purchase these inks, and a small Private Reserve "boom" has resulted in Japan. Mr. Yamamoto reports that the green inks are especially popular.
Private reserve Inks on display
With that famous Japanese ingenuity that takes a good product and makes it even better, Hakase has created wooden carrying racks for the ink bottles. These racks stack, and are perfect for those who need to keep stocked up om their personal rainbow of colors.
If this weren't enough, Hakakse has also created a stunning red and gold pen and ink carrying box done up in urushi and maki-e. The Hakase logo is not just painted on -- it's sprinkled gold dust (maki-e).
One more new creation on display were natural wood pen racks, which resembled pipe racks, and keep the pens in a vertical position when not in use, to allow the ink to drain away from the nib so it won't dry or clog. Since the shape of these racks depend on the natural shape of the tree, no two racks are alike. The pens rest on felt pads to prevent scratching.
All in all it was an exciting afternoon, and it was good to see the folks at Hakase continue to experiment with new innovative ideas!
Contact Information for Hakase Pens: