Nakaya's origin dates back to 1999, when Toshio Nakata decided to start his spectacular project. Nakata's passion for writing comes from family, as his grandfather was the founder of the well-known Platinum writing brand. At no time did Nakaya want to be the competition of his ancestors, as from the beginning Toshio Nakata was clear that he wanted to offer handmade pieces with a nib adapted to each customer. To do this, he needed master craftsmen, and so he hired Sadeo Watanabe and Kohsuke Matsubara, formerly retired Platinum workers.
After two years in the market, visiting fairs all over Japan, the brand was discovered by Russ Stutler, an American graphic artist who was fascinated by the quality of Nakaya pens. So much was his astonishment at this Japanese brand that he wrote a review on Pentrace, the international website based in Ireland and dedicated to the world of fountain pens. This fact was decisive for the brand, as from this moment on its sales began to grow exponentially. Its success was perfectly understandable, as Nakaya offered extraordinary ebonite and hand-lacquered pens with the best quality urushi. In addition, they were equipped with a solid 14-karat gold nib that was totally customized and delivered with an admirable presentation.
By 2004, after visiting many international fairs, Nakaya had already become a reference brand in the world of writing. Today, Nakaya is synonymous with quality, and the brand still maintains its original idea, but now there are four main craftsmen behind the manufacture of these wonderful pens.
The visual appeal of these pens is spectacular, so much so that each Nakaya model requires a minimum of three to six months to manufacture. The bodies of the feathers and nibs are created in Tokyo, while Urushi's lacquer work is done in the Wajima region on the west coast of Japan. Maki-e's work is done both in Wajima and in Nakaya's workshop in Tokyo.
Nakaya pens have numerous customization options and are characterized by their multiple colors, large size and original stoppers. The rainbow of possibilities it offers ranges from darker colors like Heki Tamenuri (dark brown), Aka tamenuri (maroon), Midori-Tamenuri (graphite black with green piping), Midori (dark green) to more vivid and striking colors like Shubo (deep blue), Mizu-Iro (sea green), Toki Iro (pastel pink) or Ake Tamenuri(maroon red).
Many of Nakaya's collections use the most sophisticated of all lacquer techniques, the Maki-e, offering fountain pens with different themes, such as dragons, bamboo, fish or flowers. The Maki-e will be present, sometimes, even in the converter of the piece.
Nakaya Snow Flower converter, details made with Maki-e technique
Regarding Nakaya's packaging, it is very minimalist. His pieces are presented in a white cardboard box with the appearance of rice paper, and inside you can find a very simple wooden box with inscriptions in Kanji. Inside the box you can find the pen wrapped in the charming and characteristic blue kimono of the brand, along with a small box of ink cartridges, as well as a Platinumconverter. Additionally, Nakaya also offers handmade leather cases reminiscent of Samurai sword cases.
All Nakayamade with ebonite can also be customized through Kanji calligraphy made with the Maki-e technique. Available in four colors: silver, gold, red and blue. The usual location is usually at the end of the body, on the side opposite the nib. In Nakaya they will select the Kanji characters for you, either based on the translation, or on the phonetics of the word. In addition, in the grip section of Nakayapens, you can make an inlay called Zo-gan, applied with Maki-etechnique, something that became very popular during the golden period of Japanese pens in the 1960s.
Kanji detail in a Nakaya Long Cigar Aka Tamenuri fountain pen.
One aspect to consider with Nakayanibs is that, like most Japanese writing houses, they have a finer size classification than European fountain pens. Thus, for example, a NakayaMedium (M) is approximately equivalent to a European Fine (F). All Nakayapens can carry the size of the 14k gold nib of your choice (F, M, B, BB, FLEX M, FLEX F). The Music nib is available for an additional price, as well as the two-tone nibs, the pink gold nib, the rhodium nib or the ruthenium nib.