Trade agreements and contracts were being signed and the Japanese whose writing was poorly suited to the demands of commercial trade quickly had to simplify the lines of their characters and adopt international calligraphy standards. Many pen manufacturers were set up in Japan during this time.
Ryosuke NAMIKI, a mechanical engineer and professor at the Tokyo Merchant Marine Collage, was captivated by the ingenuity of these fountain pens which his contemporaries called "10,000 year brushes" because of their uninterrupted ink flow. However, at the same time Ryosuke NAMIKI remained convinced about their imperfections
Using his skills in industrial engineering, he created a high quality prototype of his own design. After forming a partnership with one of his colleagues, Masao WADA, he created the NAMIKI MANUFACTURING COMPANY and started producing fountain pens.
Japanese Maki-e Art dates back 1400 years and is a highly respected and rare form of art. There are but a few living Masters of this art form who continue to keep this tradition alive. A skilled Make-Shi (artist) has begun his learning at an early age and works as an apprentice to his master for many years before he may set out on his own.
Maki-e art features Urushi lacquer (sap from the Urushi tree native to Japan), along with gold powder and other precious metals and powders painted and inlaid into the most exquisite of designs that require great skill and precision.
Maki-e is an art of precision and hard work, befitting the character of the people of Japan. It requires tremendous focus and attention to minute detail. The Maki-e Shi use very fine brushes made of the finest hair from various different animals. There are many different brushes and spatulas that are used in the process of Maki-e depending on the technique being applied. In the process of Maki-e there are several steps that are taken and patiently applied to the object over months before an object can be completed.The many levels of technique that are found on pens to name a few are Hira Maki-e, Togidashi Maki-e, Taka Maki-e, Shishai Togidashi Maki-e and Bokashi Maki-e.
Pilot Maki-e Fountain Pens Currently Available .........