Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook Review

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

2013 marked the 100th year that Kokuyo has produced western style notebooks and to celebrate they have released a limited edition notebook called the Century Edition which I picked up in the A5 format.  The notebook features 70 sheets of 100g paper with a 6mm rule.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The look of this notebook is exceptional.  The black cover is textured to feel like cloth.  The combination of the black “cloth” with gold print and diagonal text block pattern (they also do a woven pattern text block version) creates a luxurious retro look.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The the pastedown and  free endpaper is made from a single piece of thick red paper.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The luxury ruled ivory “Kokuyo Ledger paper” is designed to be used with fountain pens and is ultra smooth.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

It handles fountain ink without any bleeding or showthrough.  The dry time is surprisingly fast (for a smooth paper).  This isn’t an absorbent paper but I have been using this notebook as a journal and upon review I am not seeing any of the usual smearing I see when compared to my Tomoe River and Rhodia journals.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The Century Edition has tiny little signatures and the binding is so good that I cannot for the life of me find the stitching with the book open.  The binding lays quite flat on it’s own and improves with use.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

I haven’t been wowed by Kokuyo products in the past but this is the finest notebook I have ever had the pleasure of owning.  The cost?  1,000 YEN (about $10 USD)!  It’s not expensive and it makes a Midori notebook look like a sloppy first attempt (okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration).  I highly recommend  the Kokuyo Century Edition notebook.  I know I will be buying more in the future.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

11 thoughts on “Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook Review

  1. I like the overall design and I’m wondering where you bought it? So far I didn’t see any online stores who carry this notebook.

  2. Great review of a hard to find notebook (outside of Japan). Kokuyo paper is superb, especially with a fountain pen, and does not get the attention it deserves. My daily use notebooks are Kokuyo A5 soft 20-ring A5 binders with Kokuyo refills. The ring binder is small enough to not interfere with my hand yet I get the utility of being able to add and remove sheets.

      1. Here is a link to an English post on the Kokuyo corporate site on their vintage Western-Style ledgers which the Century Edition notebooks attempt to mimic. Perhaps the best part of this page is that they show how the classic hand-made edge marbling is done (hint, funori or seaweed glue and Ox bile are involved).


        For comparison, here is Kokuyo’s page about their vintage Japanese-style ledgers.


        And finally here is Kokuyo’s product page (in Japanese) for the :RECORD BOOK Century Edition” (as they call them) notebooks. Did you know they come in colors other than black?


        Have fun, David

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s