Thursday, November 23, 2017

Yatate

Originally, a “yatate” (矢立) is a stand for the arrows in the old tradition of Japanese archery, “kyudô” (弓道). But the word is better known as a container to carry a brush and a small deposit of water. It was used by merchants and educated people who had the need to write on the go.


"Benri-gata" type of "yatate". This is the type whose style was copied for the "yatate" pen. On this example, the brush container has some holes.


This type of "yatate", "ittai-gata", is better known.

With the apparition of the fountain pen, those traditional “yatate” became obsolete. However, the name was rescued to describe a particular type of fountain pen. On them, the cap is almost as long as the pen itself—nib, section, and barrel. When closed, the pen might look just like a rod of ebonite, but upon opening it, a full size pen show up.


A typical "yatate" pen made of ebonite. At first, it just looks like an ebonite rod. Picture courtesy of Mr. Ariel Zúñiga.


Only open it is possible to see that there was a pen inside. Picture courtesy of Mr. Ariel Zúñiga.

“Yatate” pens saw their glory days by the beginning of the twentieth century. By 1920 they were gone almost completely, and only the occasional retro-looking pen in this geometry kept them alive.

Taccia is one of the brands stationer Itoya uses for its own pens, others being Romeo, Mighty, Natsuki, Itoya. Taccia pens, interestingly enough, are available overseas. In Japan, though, its distribution seems limited to Itoya shops. Some of its models, mostly high end, implement Sailor nibs, whereas the least expensive ones use JoWo nibs made of steel.


Obviously, a Taccia pen.

The following model is called Taccia Covenant, and it is, in actual terms, a “yatate” pen made of plastic. The Covenant uses international cartridges and converters, and sports a very correct JoWo steel nib. The available nib points are F, M, and B. The feed, needless to say, is made of plastic.



The "Midnight Breeze" Taccia Covenant. Well, a "yatate" pen.

This model comes in three possible colors: marbled brown (“Parchment Swirl”) with silver clip and rings; marbled blue (“Midnight Breeze”) with silver ornaments; and black (“Jet Black”) with golden accents.

The long cap screws on the pen both when closed and when posted. Posted, the pen is quite thick and could become a bit uncomfortable to some users. Unposted, the pen is very comfortable.


When posted, it becomes a hefty pen.

These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 145 mm.
Length open: 139 mm.
Length posted: 182 mm.
Diameter of the body: 12.5 mm.
Diameter of the cap: 15.5 mm.
Weight (inked): 34 g (uncapped, 19.0 g)


The steel nib made by JoWo.

The current price in Japan is JPY 14000, plus taxes, and it does not fare well against the workhorses of the main three Japanese manufacturers of fountain pens—Pilot´s Custom 74 and Custom 91, Platinum´s 3776 Century, and Sailor´s Slim Pro Gear, Profit and Promenade. All of them implement 14 K gold nibs and cost between JPY 10000 and JPY 12000 (save for the Platinum Century 3776 with music nib).

But they are not “yatate” pens…


My thanks to Mr. Ariel Zúñiga.


Eboya Hakobune XL – Sailor Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, November 5th, 2017
etiquetas: Itoya, mercado, Japón, JoWo

2 comments:

Nikos said...

This is a wonderful historical write-up . Many thanks for showing us the past and present of "Yatate" pens

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Nikos. I try my best to be of interest. And you are positively biased!

Thanks!

BT

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