My Big Adventure with a

Nakaya Fountain Pen
March, 2002

President Nakata on the left with staff member (and future nib meister) Ms. Ogawa and pen body craftsman Mr. Matsubara
Nakaya fountain pens are well known among pen enthusiasts in Japan and around the world. Each pen is made by hand by craftsmen who have been perfecting their art several decades with the Platinum Pen company before retiring and combining their talents to form this small and unique company.

One of the main reasons Nakaya Pen company was formed was to allow the technical expertise of these retired craftsmen continue to be used and not be lost. And now I hear that these Nakaya craftsmen are training younger people to take over their trade someday.

Nakaya is the original name of the Platinum Pen Company, and Nakaya president Toshiya Nakata is son of Toshihiro Nakata the current president of Platinum, and grandson of Platinum founder Shunichi Nakata. The Nakata family name, incidentally, is on the globe logo that is engraved on each gold nib. This logo resembles the original globe logo that was inprinted on those first Platinum pens.

Yesterday when my friend Ron Kimble pulled out his Nakaya original lacquered ebonite pen to show me at the Mitsukoshi Pen Fair, in no time someone came running over and exclaimed, "Ah, you have a Nakaya pen!"

Mr. Watanabe
I had wanted to join the proud ranks of Nakaya pen owners for quite some time, and when I saw their booth at the Pen Fair, I began to sense the inevitable, that this was the day . I talked and joked with the two craftsmen at the booth, Mr. Watanabe and Mr. Matsubara, and then had a long conversation with the president, Mr. Nakata. After trying several pens, I zeroed in on one gorgeous green pine needle celluloid pen with a fine nib. Mr. Watanabe the nibmeister then had me fill out a form asking questions about my particular writing style, angle of pen, pressure, size of characters, etc., while he closely watched my writing hand too see how I actually wrote. Based on the information on that form plus his own observations of my writing, he then proceeded to grind and tweak the nib to suit my hand. I also asked him to add a little more flex while he was at it! The result was a fine, smooth, slightly flexible pen that feels great, and is also stunning to look at!

I also received a certificate indicating which craftsman worked on which part of the pen, along with their official name seals.

I wrote with that pen all day, today, thinking to myself, "Yes, this is definitely one of the benefits of living in Tokyo!" Nakaya Fountain Pens does have a Web site in English, however, and it is possible to order their pens online by supplying them with information on your particular writing style and pen holding habits.

Well, now I can say with a smug grin, "I got mine!"

My new treasure
Photo taken from the Nakaya Web site

Mr. Matsubara turning some Jade green celluloid rods on his foot-powered lathe

Colorful rods of celluloid