The Many Joys of Japanese Erasers
This entry was posted on May 3, 2013.
For a while now we've been stocking these sweet Iwako Japanese erasers. We just had a new shipment come in, so now is as good a time as any to remind you guys just how cool these erasers are. In Japanese, these collectible trinkets are known as omoshiro-keshigomu, or literally "funny eraser." In Japanese, funny also takes on the connotation of amusing, and there is no stationery as amusing as Iwako erasers. Their appeal is three-fold: they're cute figurines to display, and they're fun to collect, they're even functional erasers.
Iwako and its designers are reknown for their attention to detail and precision in manufacturing. This is especially important because the erasers are in fact "puzzle erasers," in that each eraser can be taken apart into separate pieces. Each piece is cast in metal molds so that they fit together perfectly. Try disassembling your pieces and putting them back together! It can be quite a challenge with some of the more intricate pieces, like the fire truck and the ducks. You can reassemble them with different colors to further customize your erasers.
Iwako often open up their factories for tours to group of young Japanese students. These lucky students get to look behind the curtain and see how Iwako's erasers get produced. The factories are about as close to a Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory as you can get in real life. The kids get to see the molds from which these cute erasers are formed. Iwako themselves say that they sometimes take suggestions from students and make the into actual eraers.
Iwako also takes great care to make erasers that are environmentally friendly and safe. The materials used in each eraser are lead-free, latex-free and non-toxic. They're even recyclable, though we find no reason why anyone would dispose of these erasers, even if done so responsibly.
Inspiration can strike at any moment. Every eatery presents opportunities for new erasers idea. Food has been one of the more fruitful themes for Iwako. They have made eraser sets based on traditional Japanese food, sushi, dim sum, baked pastries, and fast food too. All of them look good enough to eat, but please do not eat, because Iwako erasers aren't food. The company seems to make food erasers based on the cuisine that is well known in Japan. With burritos recently making an incursion into the Japanese market, we hope to see a Mexican food set in the near future.
There is an indisputable charm in Japanese erasers. We commend Iwako's ingenuity to make everyday items all the more appealing by miniaturizing them in eraser form. The magic of Iwako erasers come from the intricate details in every piece. Look at the cherry eraser pictured above. The leaf marks are etched in convincing fashion, and the way the stems meet at the top is lifelike. And you can pull the cherry off the stem just like with a real cherry. It's oddly satisfying.
It's easy to take one look at Iwako erasers and immediately fall in love, consumed by the urge to collect them all. That's how I felt when I first saw these cute erasers at my local Japanese store. Not trying to tempt you, but if you're interested in starting a collection, we have themed erasers sets ready to purchase that are great starter packs. Pick up one of these massive sets and your collection is off to a good start at sixty strong.
Something about Iwako erasers compels people to want to share their joy with the world. These erasers, ostensibly made for students, are so simple yet the appeal is universal. Go on YouTube, type in "iwako erasers" or "japanese erasers" and you'll find many videos of people showing off their eraser collections, narrated by both adults and young children.
We like seeing everyday objects shrunken down into miniature size. The novelty rarely rubs off. Make a mundane object like a toaster in miniature size and we woudn't be able to help but ooh and ahh at it. Come to think of it, there hasn't been a kitchen appliance eraser set released yet. Someone write Iwako to get on it! Until then, we'll just have to enjoy all the amazing erasers they have already put out.