If you are trying to determine when a Japanese pen was made, you might be helped by the fact that some Japanese pen manufacturers applied date codes to their pens. At the same time, however, there is a stumbling block: the traditional Japanese calendar that some manufacturers
used instead of the Western calendar that we are all familiar with.
The Western calendar counts years in the Common Era, which coincides with the Gregorian calendar; the latter designated the supposed year of Jesus’ birth
as the year AD 1. The traditional Japanese calendar, on the other hand, is based on the reign of the current emperor: when a new emperor ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne, a new era begins, and the counting of years starts over at 1. The first known branded Japanese fountain pens were made by Kiyozo Miyamoto, beginning in 1905, under the Oliver brand. The conversion tables on this page begin with 1901, which was Meiji 34.
As of this writing, among Japanese pen manufacturers, only Pilot, Platinum, and Sailor are known to have dated their pens, and of these only Platinum is known to have used the traditional calendar. It may in future be discovered, however, that other manufacturers did in fact date their pens.
Supposed, because Dionysius Exiguus, the monk who computed the date under the direction of Pope Gregory XIII, made an error. Jesus was actually born in the spring of 6 BCE.
The information in this article is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.