In the market for great paper, organized planners, or notebooks and folders for any occasion? Kokuyo Co. Ltd. has got your back. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the leaders in stationery from Japan, Kokuyo!
Kokuyo is well known for its Campus line of notebooks and paper, and in varying sizes as well. While other brands may make more “kawaii” type stationery, Kokuyo products have a nice minimalistic design but still come in many cute colors to customize your space. Kokuyo has a great line of office stationery and school supplies, ranging from pencil cases to creative tapes like their dotliners.
Today we’re taking a look at the history of Kokuyo as well as some of their best-selling products, so stick around if you want an in-depth look the next time you want to get some Japanese stationery!
In 1905, founder Zentaro Kuroda opened a shop manufacturing “wacho,” or traditional Japanese account ledgers. His shop was called Kuroda Hiyoshi-ten, or the “Kuroda Cover Shop,” and at the time, he was only 26 years old. After starting their manufacture and sale of Western-style ledgers, Kuroda changed the company name to Kokuyo, incorporating the Japanese word “yo,” for honor.
Kokuyo’s first major successes came when they introduced the Kokuyo Ledger paper. Before the 1920s, Japan imported most of its ledger paper from England. Kokuyo started working with a Japanese paper manufacturer called Oji, and launched their own Kokuyo ledger paper in 1930– the very first ledger paper to be produced in Japan. They also eventually introduced Japan’s first colored writing paper, and became national distributors for their paper products.
In 1972, Kokuyo rolled out specific products that made waves in popularity, such as their survey field notebooks, which became popular among outdoor enthusiasts, their campus notebooks, and their glue tapes. Later on, they created office furniture and other similar products, establishing a specific office research center in 1996, where they develop products according to a concept called “Universal Design,” which emerged in the 1980s. An example of these are their Punyo Punyo Pin thumb tacks– which feature a band of silicone around the pin so that you never end up poking yourself with the sharp points when not in use.
The Kokuyo Campus line is geared towards students, featuring sliding binders that hold lots of notebook paper and a few loose sheets, notebooks with plastic rings so that you don’t hurt your hand while writing on them, and their most popular product, the Kokuyo Campus loose-leaf papers.
As we touched on in our previous stationery article, Kokuyo Campus Loose Leaf paper comes in two types, “Sarasara,” or “Shikkari.” Both paper types are of extremely high quality and resist bleed from many types of pens including fountain pen ink. However, the smoothness of the paper differs in order to suit different writing styles.
If you happen to write with high pressure and prefer a bit of friction against your pen, you would like the Shikkari style paper, which is a little thicker, firmer, and has a little bit of a rougher surface to cater to that type of writing style. If you’re someone who writes with very little pen pressure, or just prefers an extremely smooth surface, then the Sarasara style paper is for you. While the paper isn’t “glossy” like other types of notebook paper, it maintains a smooth finish and allows your pen to glide onto the page, resisting smudging, smearing, or bleeding.
If you’re the type of person that is sick of messy liquid glue or inconsistent glue sticks, you might just be in the market for the DotLiner, Kokuyo’s Glue Tape. This comes in a little case like a correction tape, but instead puts out little adhesive strips of glue. It comes in two types, the blue “permanent” adhesive, and the yellow “repositionable” adhesive. While both of the glue types hold strong, the “repositionable” glue is great for scrapbooking or crafting, in case you need to move something around.
Not only are these practical solutions for people who don’t want to make a fuss with sticky adhesives that can get on your hands such as liquid glue or glue sticks, they’re also a lot more portable than those options, taking about as much space as a correction tape would. The adhesive itself is very high quality, and seems to have just the right amount of stickiness per purpose. The blue permanent type is still easy to work with in spite of the strength of its adhesive, and the yellow “repositionable” type can be unstuck without too much of a hassle, even if you’ve left it on for more than a day!
The best part? No adhesive residue on your fingers, and even if you peel them off and put them back on again!
If you want to cut down on using staplewire, or you’re just sick of getting the pesky staples stuck underneath your fingernails, why not try out the Kokuyo Harinacs Stapleless Stapler? These come in either 5 or 10 sheet versions, and don’t use any staplewire, instead using a system that creates a small perforation in the paper and tucks it into itself, fusing the papers together without the need for any metal staplers. This stapler prides itself in being good for the environment, cutting down on waste created by staplewires which use non-renewable metals– the stapler itself is also made with recycled ABS plastic!
Not only does it not use staplewire, the stapler also has an ergonomic shape which doesn’t require too much force to push down, unlike your traditional stapler. In addition, it also has a little clear window on one end so you can see exactly what you’re stapling down on so you never cut off any text.
The Kokuyo Kadokeshi eraser won the Kokuyo Design Award in 2002 for its innovative 28-corner design. Have you ever found yourself needing to erase with a corner, but all 8 corners of your regular rectangular eraser have been made blunt from your use? If you tend to erase with corners, never fret about losing one, for the Kokuyo Kadokeshi has you covered.
The eraser itself, other than having 28 different sides, is made of high quality plastics, and is latex and phthalate free. It comes with an included sleeve to keep it clean. Kokuyo erasers are generally great quality and work well for when you’ve pushed down a little too hard on the paper, or if you need to work in small sections.
At the height of the pandemic, many students and office workers had to turn to work from home setups in order to enhance their productivity. While the average user might be alright with a laptop on a desk, long hours at an uncomfortable desk chair or staring at a screen at the wrong angle could definitely cause you to be stressed at home.
In this series, Kokuyo showcased some of their office furniture line that could be adopted for a work from home setup. This includes their STANDSIT standing desk and a great line up of chairs that cater to both aesthetics and ergonomics. Not only does Kokuyo make great stationery and office supplies in most shapes and colors, but they also created awesome furniture for your home office or even for working around your home.
Which Kokuyo products are you interested in? Do you prefer your stationery practical, or super cute? Why not take a look at Zenpop’s stationery box for all kinds of stationery to suit your personal tastes, whether it’s an adorable theme or a unique item!