Simple innovations: 5 great stationary designs from Japan



The initiative to innovate and challenge the norm is not something that is limited to the tech industry. If we look to the area of design, Japan has a proud culture of evolving even the simplest of everyday items. Take a simple pen for example. You’ll be amazed by the endless number of items you can find at variety shops like Loft or Tokyu. Here are a just a few stationary items that I think are worth a look.

Kezuri Cap

Kezuri Cap is a pencil sharpener that works in combination with an empty plastic bottle. Waste material from sharpening fills up within the bottle, keeping your desk clean. A 500 ml PET bottle can hold the shavings of ten pencils, meaning you won’t have to change your bottle very often. Kezuri Cap comes in blue, pink, green, and yellow, and can be purchased for 315 yen, or about $3.


Sarasa Clip

Sarasa Clip recently released its limited edition English tea-scented pens in collaboration with Lipton. They come in ten different scents, including Apple Tea and Caramel Au Lait. They can be found in stationary stores all over Japan.


Aritayaki Ballpen

Aritayaki Ballpen is a beautiful pen that implements a traditional Arita ware in its design. This product takes over two years to produce due to the quality of pottery and the difficulty that goes with the expansion and contraction in the process. Aritayaki ballpens hit your wallet hard, with the cheaper version costing 105,000 yen (over $1000). There are other beautiful designs available too, which you can view over on official website.



Kids and adults in Japan often use mechanical pencils at school or work. Kurutoga is a new type of mechanical pencil that keeps the lead turning as you write, keeping it sharpened at all times. A variety of Kurutoga are available over on Amazon starting 472 yen, just under $5.


Air Press

This pen might come in handy if you spend time working near water, perhaps if you’re a swimming coach for example. Air Press from Tombow is suited for fast-scribbling, or writing on damp paper by pushing out compressed air to emit ink whenever there’s force. Air Press is available for 630 yen (about $6) on Amazon.



Harinacs (which rougly means ‘without staples’) is a paper stapler that doesn’t use the typical metal staple we are familiar with. Instead, Harinacs folds a part of the paper to bind sheets together, able to handle up to eight sheets of paper. There is no need to refill any staples, and its easy to throw documents into paper shredders since you don’t have to remove any staples. Over on Amazon, you can find Harinacs for 518 yen.