Tokyo Paper Fair: An event where paper lovers can go crazy

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(Original Mai-bun.com article. Written by Takuya Takahashi. Translated by Bruce Eimon.)

Kamihaku (“Paper Fair”) is an event that gathers makers of paper products from all around Japan, and even some from outside of Japan. Its inaugural event took place in Tokyo last year (2017). It was such a success that not only did it spread to other cities in Japan, but it also became a regular annual event in Tokyo.

Here is my report from attending the second annual event, as organized around the three aspects of the show that really made it special. While I cannot begin to tell you about every single booth, I will show you some of the notable booths that caught my attention.

You got to love the ticket that was made to look like a train ticket

You got to love the ticket that was made to look like a train ticket

What makes it special #1: You get to purchase show-exclusive and pre-release products!

One of the attractions of the Paper Fair is that you get to purchase show-exclusive and pre-release products.

For instance, at the booth of Yamamoto Paper, a paper distributor from Osaka, they were holding a show-exclusive “paper picking” (think apple-picking) event.

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From a table stacked high with “Memo Towers” of various colors, customers were allowed to tear away as much paper as they like and pay by the height of their stack.

The freshly picked paper is wrapped in original wrapping paper and given a “date picked” sticker. How playful!

Another popular item at the booth was a hand-made mini-pallet to give your wrapped paper that factory warehouse look.

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While the line was too long to partake in the paper picking, I was able to buy a pre-wrapped memo-and-pallet set.

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They even sold a paper sample booklet made of all kinds of discontinued paper. This too was a show exclusive.

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Each page includes descriptions and background stories about each of the kinds of paper.

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At the HI MOJIMOJI booth, they were pre-releasing the miniature version of their wildly popular organization tool “WORKERS’ BOX”.

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Not only is it small and cute, but it is also just the right size for organizing your cards and small items around the desk.

At the KING JIM booth, they were handing out free illustration pins for anybody who followed their Instagram account. That was a no-brainer.

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What makes it special #2: You get to buy products from stores that are too far to visit in-person

The second attraction is that you get to see products from stores that are too far to visit or brands that are only sold in local boutique shops.

For instance, the popular stationery store from Taiwan, Plain Stationery (直物生活文具) had a booth at the show. Along with their original products, they were displaying carefully curated products from around the world.

I purchased two of their original products. The first was their “RESEARCH NOTES”, a pocket notebook that uses fountain pen friendly paper.

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The second was their playful rubber stamp “Handy Stamp” that is meant to be paired with your own hand-drawings to complete the picture.

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Next, I went to the Paper Goods Emoji booth, a boutique shop in Osaka. Here I bought their original letterpress cards. I’ve been wanting to visit their store, but hadn’t had the chance to get out to Osaka in a long time. I was happy that I got to see their products here.

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What makes it special #3: You get to meet the owners and designers behind the brands

The third attraction is that you actually get to meet the people behind the products.

At many of the booths, the designers and staff members, i.e. the people “inside”, were standing at their booths.

The couple behind HI MOJIMOJI

The couple behind HI MOJIMOJI

In some cases, even the owners of the businesses were standing and explaining their products to the visitors.

The president of Yamamoto Paper

The president of Yamamoto Paper

I cherished the opportunity to get to hear back stories about products from the people who were directly involved in making them. It was a fun shopping experience, and I can guarantee that you will blow past any budget you set for yourself on your way in.

★ ★ ★

The event in Tokyo this June was followed by one in Kyoto in July, and another one in Fukuoka in December.

This is a must-go event for anybody who likes paper products. If it happens to come to a town near you, I highly encourage you to check it out.

How good was it? My co-editor tells me her spending reached three digits (loot pictured below).

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I didn’t spend quite as much, but…ok fine, I bought quite a bit (my loot pictured below).

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Recommended for:

  • People who like paper and paper goods.
  • People who love stationery of all kinds

Information: Kamihaku 2018

Posted on December 24, 2018 and filed under Mai-Bun.