Truly standing the test of time, the Tsubame Swallow Notebook is one of our favourite design icons of Japan. It’s incredible how it hasn’t changed since it was first launched in 1947 and yet still looks great on any desk.
Made with high-quality Japanese writing paper, its lines printed at a small Tokyo workshop and its pages securely thread bound, the Tsubame Swallow Notebook has long been a staple for many designers, artisans and artists. Most famously, it was the notebook of choice of the late film director Akira Kurosawa.
It’s the details that make it extra special. A classic ornate border illustration gives the simple flecked grey cover a noble aesthetic, matched by the glimmer of gold embossing on the black spine. The golden initials are of Tsubame founder Watanabe Hatsusaburo, a subtle reminder of the genius behind the brand.
Tsubame has been making the same kind of notebook since 1947, when its founder Watanabe Hatsusaburo, in the face of a surge of postwar mass manufacturing, saw a need for high-quality stationery in Japan. Using local paper makers and printers, and featuring thread binding, a decorative cover illustration and a gold-embossed swallow — his design became a hit, despite costing more than other notebooks. Today, Tsubame is a Japan Good Design award winner and is still so popular, it collaborates with numerous brands, from designers to Disney, to create limited editions of its original notebook.
Paper A5: Width 15cm x Length 21cm x Thickness 0.5 cm No. Pages: 40 Paper Type: 7mm Lined Made in Japan