Jot down this Japanese stationery

Caroline Lobel and Claire Zhang

There’s a large variety of pens, highlighters and other supplies that are made in Japan that meet the needs of students, but many are unaware that they can purchase these goods for themselves. Japanese stationery is one of the more popular trends of the Asian culture boom as it becomes more accessible in the United States. With a large portion of affordable and high-quality stationery directed towards students, many at Dougherty Valley enjoy using the exotic pens, pencils, and more. To help you get your stationery fix, we have compiled a list of pens and highlighters that we think students would enjoy using.


0.5mm Zebra Sarasa Milk Pen

The Sarasa Milk pen set is one of the nicest sets of colored pens to own. This pack contains pastel gel pens that are ideal for note taking or bullet journaling.

This pack has a 0.5mm tip and comes with eight colors: milk blue green, milk green, milk blue, milk purple, milk red, milk pink, milk white and milk orange. The pen body is the same color as its ink, making it aesthetically pleasing to look at.

The colors come out nicely and are different from other pens because of the lighter colors. In addition to writing smoothly, it also has a soft, even grip. The pen also includes a neat clip to clip onto your papers.

You can buy these as a pack on Amazon for about $8. These pens are good for notetaking and are precise because of the thin tip.

Not only are Sarasa Milk Pens affordable, they also come in a variety of colors and they are very high quality.

Rating: 10/10


Pilot Juice Pen

The Pilot Juice Pen comes in a shocking 36-color range. The pen is offered in 0.38mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm, with six pastel colors, six metallic colors and 24 normal colors. Considering some of its smaller tip sizes, the Pilot Juice Pen writes surprisingly smoothly. The pen’s pigment-based, water-resistant ink glides easily onto paper for an amazing experience. Its vibrant colors and fast dry time make it perfect for the busy student.

Quite an affordable pen, a pack of 12 is priced at $11.80 on Amazon. However, it isn’t as easy to find in real life. Most mainstream American stores don’t sell Pilot Juice Pens, but they can be found at specialty shops.

A unique component of the pen is its spring-loaded clip, allowing users to effortlessly clip it to other items. With a higher range of motion than that of a normal pen clip, the Pilot Juice Pen can be clipped onto wider objects. The clip is also extremely sturdy and harder to break than the average pen.

Although they aren’t that accessible offline, Pilot Juice Pens are wonderful for student use. Their huge color range is perfect for taking notes, doodling, and more. This pen is the perfect addition to the collection of an avid note-taker or bullet journal fanatic.

Rating: 10/10


Muji Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pen

Known for its minimalistic design, the Muji Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pen is one of the more popular Japanese pens among students, but it is overhyped.

The pen comes in a variety of colors and sizes ranging from 0.38mm to 0.7mm. The ink smudges pretty easily and the pen writes erratically at times. However, the colors are clear, and the pen is pretty smooth for the most part.

The pen doesn’t have a grip and the ink runs out pretty fast. It’s also not very accessible to students because you can only purchase it in-store or on the Muji website; and they charge a high shipping fee is charged online, and the nearest store is in San Francisco.

Muji Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pens are pretty high-quality for their cheap price. The pen itself writes smoothly most of the time, but the ink does run out quickly. It’s also difficult for a student to get his or her hands on. Although this pen works sufficiently, there are better, more accessible pens to be bought.

Rating: 7/10


Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen

Easily customizable, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen is a joy to personalize. A simple cap allows you to easily slide refills in and out. It is slimmer than the average multi pen, making it easy and comfortable to hold. The multi pen takes the classic Hi-Tec-C gel pen and transforms it into an easy-to-use multi pen.

Prices for the Coleto are definitely steeper than  those for the average pen. However, the great quality of the inks and the reusable body component make it worth the price. It can be found on Amazon, but the prices there are higher than those in some specialty shops. We recommend checking out smaller online services, such as JetPens and Tokyo Pen Shop, for this one.

As with past Hi-Tec-C pens, the ink does have its dry spells. But once it gets flowing, you’re left with smooth, ultra-precise lines. There is a large range of colors to fit anyone’s needs. The collection also offers a mechanical pencil, eraser and stylus refill to choose from.

In conclusion, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen is an easily customizable pen with amazing ink. The diverse options and slim build make it ideal for a student. The pen writes smoothly and precisely, but it does have its downsides: the pen is not very accessible in the United States, and it is more expensive than your average pen.

Rating: 9/10


Zebra Mildliner (Highlighter)

You’ve probably seen Mildliners everywhere, from on social media to in class. These aesthetically-pleasing highlighters are water-based and dual-tipped. The bold tip is good for highlighting, while the thin tip is perfect for more precise tasks, such as outlining and underlining.

They come in a large variety of vibrant colors. The packs include Fluorescent Colors, Warm Colors, and Cool Colors.

While Mildliners typically come in packs of five, you can buy them individually at some places, such as at Ichi-ban Kan in San Francisco’s Japantown, where they sell them for about $2 each. You can purchase them in packs on Amazon for around $6-$27, depending on how many packs you choose to buy. Alternatively, they are also sold at Target by Zebra brand’s American branch for $17.

Although Mildliners are considered highlighters, most of the colors come out too dark. The Fluorescent Pack is the only pack that can be used as highlighters since its colors are light and pastel, but the ink runs out faster than others. Most Mildliners are used for bullet journaling or hand-lettering because they are more like high-quality markers than highlighters.

Overall, Mildliners are high-quality, affordable and easy to find. The colors come out beautifully, but they aren’t the best product to use for highlighting, specifically due to the dark ink.

Rating: 8/10


Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter

The Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighters are a solid addition to the highlighter family. The highlighter comes with a bold tip and a thin tip. It has a water-based, pigmented “Q-Dry” ink that allows it to dry three times faster than the average highlighter. It’s great for lefties as the highlighter rarely smudges, even when used on textbook pages.

A key feature of the Propus Window Highlighter range is the tiny, clear square on the bold tip of the highlighter. This window helps you know where you’re highlighting and prevents overdoing it.

The highlighter comes in fluorescent colors. A pack of 10 can be found on Amazon for $6-$7, while the full color range can only be bought at specialty stores.

Although the Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighters are high-quality and fast-drying, they aren’t very accessible in the United States. The highlighter is great for students and left-handed people. Its quick dry time helps avoid smudging and is great for highlighting semi-glossy pages.

Rating: 9/10


Pilot Frixion Erasable Highlighter

The Pilot Frixion Erasable Highlighter is one of the best highlighters you can get, because you can erase your highlights in case you made a mistake. The eraser is located on the end of the highlighter and feels like a rubber stylus. It’s a small rubber stub that erases due to the friction made when you rub the eraser on the ink, which lifts the thermo-sensitive ink from the paper. This means that the eraser doesn’t actually run out.

The soft color set comes with pink, orange, yellow, blue-green, blue and purple colors, and they all turn quite nicely. The ink works well on printed text and written text, just like any other highlighter would. It’s the erasable feature that allows this highlighter to be original.

The eraser works well only on printed text, because it can actually erase pencil. Regardless, the eraser still get its job done and works great on printed text.

You can purchase these on Amazon in different packs for about $5-$8.

Although the erasable feature doesn’t work well on handwritten text, this affordable highlighter still fixes your mistakes and highlights well on everything.

Rating: 9/10