Monday, 15 August 2011

Ever wondered where your ZIG pens come from?.....

Lot's of people know and love ZIG pens, but what do you know about Kuretake?


"Kuretake" in Japanese characters. As seen on our blog background!

How do you pronounce Kuretake?

The Japanese pronunciation is koo-reh-tah-keh

but in English we tend to pronounce it as kure-a-tack-ee

Who are we?

Kuretake is a Japanese manufacture of high quality inks, markers, and writing materials.  We were founded in Nara, Japan in 1902, where our Head Office is still based today.

Nara was the first permanent capital city of Japan, is steeped in history and home to some of Japan's oldest and largest temples. 

I was lucky enough to be invited to our Head Office in April, after we exhibited at the Japan Hobby Show.  We spent some time with our Japanese colleagues, got to look around the Kuretake factories and received some extra product training.  We also got to see some of beautiful Nara, which is such a huge part of our company's history. 

Our Marketing Manager Steph (left) and myself at Isuien Gardens, Nara. 

If you ever visit Japan, I strongly suggest you visit Nara, if only to visit Nara Deer Park, where the 1000 plus friendly deer bow to you! The deer are considered to be sacred, and guard the temples that are located in the park.

A deer in Nara park - very cute but very greedy!

Kuretake also has an office in Tokyo, and it's own range of scrapbooking stores, called DUO, located around Japan.  DUO shops sell Kuretake ZIG pens as well as a large range of other scrapbooking brands and products.  Kuretake is HUGE in Japan, and scrapbooking is extremely popular. Japanese scrapbooking is heavily influenced by US trends and the vast majority of the projects use English lettering, rather than Japanese symbols.

Japanese scrapbook layout

Kuretake and ZIG pens...

The ZIG Memory System is manufactured by Kuretake.  It's been around since 1997 and available in over 80 countries worldwide! We've worked with distributors in the past, such as EK Success, who distributed our products in the US but the ZIG brand is and always has been manufactured by Kuretake!

Kuretake are a market leader in the production of high quality inks, markers and writing materials.  We have some amazing facilities in Japan and are always working on new and innovative products.  We have the ability to bring a new product to market in a short time and are always looking for new product ideas, so if there is something you can't get hold of that you'd like us to try and make - please let us know!

ZIG Posterman factory in Nara

What else does Kuretake do?.....

As well as the ZIG Memory System, Kuretake manufacture a huge range of traditional Japanese inks, brush pens and other writing tools.  Not all of these products are widely available around the world, as they are very specialist, many being used for Japanese or Chinese writing.  It is however our intention to bring more of our Japanese ranges to the UK, Europe and the US.

Kuretake No. 13 - Fountain Hair Brush Pen

You can find many of these pens on the Jet Pens website. Jet Pens specialise in Japanese pens and art materials, and ship all over the world. 

Kuretake Manga Ink

So now you know where your ZIG pens have come from!

As always, we'd love to hear your views and see any projects you've done with our pens.

Dewa mata!  
(See you later)
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