Pilot Pens



Pilot founder Ryosuke Namiki opened a shop and sold gold pen nibs



Ryosuke Namiki established Namiki Manufacturing Company with his partner Masao Wada



Namiki introduced a capless fountain pen with a retractable nib



Pilot launched the eco-friendly BeGreen series



Pilot introduced an entry-level fountain pen for consumers

“The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”*


The Pilot Corporation

The Pilot Corporation, founded in 1918 in Tokyo, is the oldest and largest writing instrument company in Japan**. It is the fastest growing pen company in the U.S. In 1915, Ryosuke Namiki, a Japanese professor, left teaching to open a small factory that produced gold pen nibs. He expanded his product line and in 1918, along with Masao Wada and started Namiki Manufacturing Company (Pilot Pen Corporation). Although Pilot Corporation still makes fountain pens, their offerings now include ballpoint, rollerball and gel ink pens, markers, highlighters, and mechanical pencils.


The Luxury Market

Pilot Corporation has a pen to fit each hand, including those who have a lot of money to spend, and enjoy beautiful objects. The Maki-e fountain pen utilizes Japanese traditional art in its design including a lacquer finish. The cream of the crop is the Emperor Collection that consists of an ink-stopping function and a body made of ebonite; they are hand-painted in gold, lacquer, and color pigments. There is a limited release each year, and if you’re lucky enough to procure one, you’ll need at least $12,000.


The Green Market

BeGreen, made by Pilot, is the world’s first eco-friendly pen. Each pen (and its packaging) is made from recycled materials in factories that meet ISO 14001 and 14021 environmental standards.


Is Written in Pen Set in Stone?

The Pilot Corporation has trademarked pens and highlighters with erasers – Frixion – which their website states, “Writes smooth and erases clean! No smearing. No tearing.” What makes this work? A patented rubber tailcap that makes the ink invisible when heat is generated from rubbing using an erasing motion***.


Did You Know?

  • Ninety-five percent of the time, the first thing a person writes with a new pen is his or her name.
  • Every second, 125 ballpoint pens are sold in the world.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, is a pen aficionado, who is also an adept calligrapher. His current favorite pen is the Nightline Maki-e.


* Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton, was a fiction writer who also coined the phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

** Pilot Corporation also makes stationery and jewelry.

*** The type of ink used in Frixion pens will disappear if left in a hot environment, such as a car on a summer day. You may be able to recover the writing by putting the paper into a freezer.




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