Atsushi Takizawa is a nib specialist. What does that mean? It means he repairs and adjusts the nib of the fountain pen to fix it when it’s broken or make it more suitable for the person using it.
Takizawa first encountered fountain pens when he entered high school and his father gave him one as a gift. Years later, in 1981, he joined Pilot and has been with them ever since. Though he started in the design department, repairing Pilot fountain pens around the world is his current job.
Why do you like fountain pens?
Unlike other pens like ballpoint pens, when you write you can feel the touch and it is so different from other pens. And I think because of that it has a kind of personality that can be transferred to the letters I write.
How do Japanese and Western fountain pens differ?
The basic structure is the same. However, the nib is different because the letters you write in Japanese and English are completely different, so you have to design the nib point especially for the characters.
Do you think children should be taught to use fountain pens?
Yes, I do think that we should teach children to use fountain pens because what I think is the ballpoint pen is all the same. There’s no variation. However, if you use a fountain pen it has more character. What we believe is if children use the softer nib they will learn how to write the Japanese characters more beautifully.
Do you think the popularity of fountain pens is fading?
I don’t think it will fade out, it will last forever. For pens – whatever it is, the pen or ballpoint pen or fountain pen – it is much easier to use than digital devices. So in terms of stationery I think pens will last forever.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get a fountain pen?
If you are a beginner I recommend you use the hard type first because it is more stable and you can use it anytime, anywhere. When you get used to it then you can try the soft one as well and you can enjoy more varieties with the softer nibs. Then, once you have a fountain pen it’s better to use it every day. If you leave it untouched for a long time the fountain pen is not happy and becomes not workable, so it’s better to use it as often as possible.
Mr Atsushi Takizawa will be in Singapore repairing fountain pens for Pilot customers until July 29.