Tomoe River Paper: The Next Generation

An update on the Tomoe River paper situation (previously). Last month Tomoegawa sold all rights to the paper to Sanzen Paper, which has begun producing a new version of Tomoe River 52 gsm paper on its own machines. Fudefan has gotten his hands on a sample of Sanzen’s new paper and is impressed. He compared it to both old (pre-2020) Tomoe River and “new” paper produced on a different Tomoegawa machine. “Sanzen’s paper is impressive. It seems to take any ink you throw at it […] In terms of shading, sheen, and vibrancy, Sanzen’s paper consistently outperformed ‘new’ Tomoe River and was mostly on par with the old paper. […] There was slightly less ghosting (show-through) on Sanzen’s paper than on the others. It was also the only paper that didn’t suffer any bleedthrough, even with my ridiculous nibs. An impressive feat.” Stockpiling the old paper may not be necessary, in other words.

The Truth About Tomoe River

Recently there have been rumours that Tomoe River paper, prized by fountain pen users because it resists feathering and bleed-through despite being insanely thin, was about to be discontinued. A post at The Well-Appointed Desk seemingly confirmed the rumour, which didn’t help the general panic; but someone contacted the Tomoegawa company directly and got an answer that has clarified things somewhat.

It appears to come down to a confusion between Tomoegawa, which prints the paper, and Sakae Technical Paper, which sells notepads and notebooks under the Tomoe River brand. Tomoegawa discontinued production on the machine that made the paper Sakae used; Sakae declined to use paper from another machine, and announced the discontinuation of their products when their stock of original paper ran out. That doesn’t mean Tomoegawa is getting out of the business: they have plans to keep supplying Tomoe River paper once they work out production issues.

Update: Fudefan has information direct from Tomoegawa that explains what’s going on with the different kinds of Tomoe River paper, and the different machines that produce it. While the machines are being shut down, their plan appears to be to outsource production. [r/fountainpens]