Welcome to Yatate Kokusai

  
Welcome to Yatate Kokusai a website dedicated to the appreciation of the Japanese yatate.  The yatate is a Japanese pre-modern, self-contained, portable writing instrument that was in common use from about the late 13th century until the arrival of the fountain pen in the early 20th century.
 
I was first introduced to the yatate while living in Japan. One Saturday morning I happened to stop at the Heiwajima Antiques Fair in the Ota-ku section of Tōkyō.  Heiwajima is a large, sprawling indoor antiques fair with about 280 dealers displaying an assortment of items that can only be described as eclectic.  At one dealer I noticed an object that I was not familiar with and asked if he could tell me something about the item.  All that we could muster with my poor Japanese and his English, slightly better than my Japanese, was that the item was an “ancient” writing instrument known as a yatate, crafted from bronze and that it would have contained a writing brush now missing.  Using that last bit of information as a bargaining point, we agreed upon a price and I was now in possession of my first yatate which started me on a twenty-year journey of collecting, discovering and enjoying the craftsmanship and beauty of that little known segment of Japanese culture — the yatate.
 
On the following pages, please enjoy the photos of yatate craftsmanship. Many of the yatate photos are from the   Tawara Art Museum, Ashiya, Japan collection and have been reproduced on this site with the permission of the museum.