In the early 1960s, the space race and Hideo Shima’s radical new bullet train (above), perhaps leavened by the futuristic American automotive stylings of Harley Earl, spawned great changes in the Japanese aesthetic, and a new type of fountain pen burst onto the market. Called “pocket pens,” these pens appeared in myriad trim variations under dozens of manufacturers’ names. Their unifying characteristic was an extraordinarily long gripping section mated with a very stubby barrel, a design concept explored before and since by a number of Western manufacturers.
This book, the world’s first publication devoted to Japanese pocket pens, touches first on the “Big Three,” Sailor, Platinum, and Pilot, in that order, following them with the “rest of the pack,” ordered alphabetically. After the brand-specific chapters, the discussion turns to various features that were, in general, common to many brands (e.g., pens decorated with botanical or similar designs). Appendixes contain several types of information to assist the reader in identifying pocket pens.