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The History Behind the Yamamoto Fountain Pen Friendly Papers

The Yamamoto Fountain Pen Friendly Paper collection is a treasure trove of 18 different papers and textures. With each paper type is a little preface that explains the history and characteristics, which we found to be really interesting. If you haven’t bought the paper pad for yourself and want to know the backstory of each of these papers, sit back, relax and let us take you through each one.

HISTORY OF EACH PAPER

THIN PAPER BY KOKUYO

Developed by Kokuyo Corporation specifically for use in their day planner products. They set out to develop a new paper to meet all the demands of their day planner users, such as the need for the paper to be thin and easy to turn, to not cause liquid gel ink to bleed-though, and to not crinkle when rubbed with the firm eraser used by erasable pens. 

Upon much research and experimentations, Kokuyo finally developed THIN PAPER which is used in their ‘Jibun Techo IDEA Notebook’.

The Jibun Techo is a popular choice for those who want a journal to last them through and through as it’s not limited to one calendar year.

TOMOE RIVER 

Tomoe River is known for being thin and light. It handles fountain pens, ball-point pens and pencils well. The softness of the paper makes it easy for notebooks  to lie flat. It has gained worldwide attention as most fountain pen users’ paper of choice. 

Unfortunately, the Tomoe River paper mill announced in 2019 that it will be shutting down one of the factories they used to make this paper and will be outsourcing the manufacturing to another company. 

Tomoe River is a heavyweight in the world of notebook and paper with its papers able to take heavy inks without much bleeding, ghosting or feathering. 

NEW CHIFFON CREAM

New Chiffon Cream is a light-cream coloured book paper that is thick, light and soft. Book paper or high bulk paper was developed to meet the needs of publishers who wanted a paper that balanced portability with thickness. Its lightness makes it easy to cary without being brittle. 

In addition to these great properties, New Chiffon Cream is PH Neutral so it does not discolour over time, offering great archivability. 

COSMO AIR LIGHT

Cosmo Air Light is a micro-coated book paper that is well suited for printing. It is categorised as high bulk book paper and is used mostly for colour printing of magazines and catalogs. This paper is known for its gentle white colour that is not harsh on the eyes and for its accuracy of colour representation. 

The micro-coated surface allows for beautiful photo reproductions. Our fountain pen ink tests showed longer than average dry times but produced great colour rendition and accuracy especially for coloured inks. 

Cosmo Airlight, the paper in the Cosmo Note was a fan favourite during the Paper Buffet event held with the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers.

35NFC

35NFC is a food-grade-oil-resistant paper. Most oil-resistant paper use plastic film or fluorine resin but these are not the most environmentally friendly. 35NFC avoids these materials and produces its oil resistance through overlapping layers of highly dense paper.

The paper takes a longer than usual dry time but has great colour representation and no bleed-through. 

GLASSINE 

The Opaqueness of paper comes from the air pockets between the pulp fibers. It is the random reflection of the light that creates the white appearance of paper. To give paper greater transparency, one must reduce the space between the pulp fibers. 

When creating glassine paper, you must grind the pulp much more thoroughly than regular paper. Extreme pressure is also applied to the paper using a super calendar to further reduce space between the fiber, producing a very dense paper with high transparency.  

HALFTONE COLOR 99 WHITE

Halftone Color 99 is a paper that was developed for use in envelopes where confidentiality is of utmost importance. It is important for such envelopes to not show-through any of its contents.

Halftone Color 99 contains a special filler that provides 99% opacity to assure the filler that acts as a light diffuser, which prevents most light from seeping through the pulp fibers. 

KIN KAKU DEN

Kin Kaku Den was a paper they developed through extensive trail-and-error with the goal to create Washi paper suitable for offset printing. The name was inspired by the glimmering light reflected off of the main hall of the temple. 

It was commonly used in letter sets and for prayer writing by Buddhist monks. It is also used by the Ino Washi Museum for their pamphlets and entry tickets. Unfortunately they decided to cease operations due to the retirement of their paper master and the aging of their equipment.

BANK PAPER

Bank Paper was developed by Mitsubishi Paper Mills in 1960 for use as bank ledger paper. It was developed to provide smooth writing experience using a broad range of writing instruments, along with durability for use in an office environment. 

The ingredients of bank paper is a unique blend of several types of pulp and cotton, developed specifically to prevent any see-through and consistent texture for dual-sided use. The ‘Three Diamonds’ watermark is Mitsubishi Paper Mill’s stamp of assurance for their high quality manufacturing. 

SPICA BOND

Known for its strength and durability, and used in checks, stock certificates and important business documents. For the most sensitive prints, copper plates were hand carved and pressed onto Bond Paper. 

Spica Bond is a variation that was released in 1970 exclusively for Takeo Paper. It is believed to be modelled after the Speaker Bond Paper that was made back in 1940s. The manufacturer added a unique watermark to the paper to indicate their confidence in its quality. 

CHAMPION COPY 

Diazo copying (blue printing) is a printing process where the original document and photosensitive paper is pressed together, upon which light is shined through to burn the text onto the photosensitive paper.

Very thin paper is needed for this process. However the thinner the paper, the less durable the paper becomes and becomes difficult to handle. Mitsubishi Paper Mills Champion Copy was developed to produce a paper that is durable but has high see-through. 

TYPEWRITER PAPER

It is important for Typewriter Paper for copy with carbon paper to be thin and durable. Genta Yoshii (1826-1908) is known as the father of modern Japanese thin paper making. Mitsubishi Paper Mills Typewriting Paper was also developed to handle strong strikes from the typewriter keys while still being thin. 

This paper is produced using old equipment at the Takasago factory in Hyogo prefecture and is difficult to produce with modern mass-production equipment. 

AIR MAIL BOND WHITE

This is high quality stationery paper that has laid lattice marks and a brand logo watermark. While the laid lattice marks are a design reproduction of traditional screen patterns, it shows how the laid patterns were imprinted on the paper when the pulp was sifted over the screens. 

This Air Mail Bond reproduces the elegance of traditional hand-made paper through these design elements. In this case, the watermark is added using dandy roll during the manufacturing process.

PASSEPIED CREAM

A book paper that was developed for its smooth texture and ease of turning. ‘Passepied’ is the name of the classical French dance that was popular in Paris in the 17th century, characterised by its light steps. The naming of this paper is thought to capture that ‘light feel’ and the ‘effortlessness’ of turning the page. 

As a paper primarily used in books, the opacity has been increased to prevent the see-through letters on the other side. 

EASTORY COC

This paper was developed by Mr Uchihiro Ken of Kyoto Kami Shoji, a paper distributor based in Kyoto. He was moved by a 2013 article commenting on the resurgence of handwriting in the digital age.

Developed with the goal of producing a paper that was smooth for a great writing experience, no feathering, bleed through, fast drying and can be used on both sides. Through a long trail and error process with Oji F-tex, came about Eastory COC.

OK FOOLS 

Ok Fools was the first Fool’s Cap paper produced in Japan by Ohtori Paper. In Japan, the term ‘Fools Paper’ has long been used to refer to high-end writing paper and British Fool’s Cap paper was first imported into Japan in the late 1800s. 

The popular Japanese version was produced at the Oji Ogura Factory where the name OK comes from. While the current iteration is being made by Nippon Paper Industries Yatsushiro Factory, they have kept the OK name for brand recognition. 

COLOURED WOODFREE PAPER BLACK

Made by Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd, this unique paper sometimes allows you to see different colours appear depending on the colour on fountain pen inks used. 

Red inks may reveal yellow colours and blue inks may reveal red colours. This is because some of the reflective particles of the ink get absorbed by the paper. 

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