Desktop "Yamako Smart" 1946 Chrome Stapler


As often observed, Western innovations brought to Japan as imports were not taken on by the Japanese industry as static designs, but domestically re-designed, re-invented, advanced technologically, and made distinctively Japanese in flavour. Such is the case for the "Yamako Smart", a stapler, which most certainly began being produced as a copy of the early American stapler design by Hotchkiss, then called "paper fastener", known for its coil tail of centipede shaped staples. This stapler was first sold in Japan in 1903 by the stationery shop Itoki.

The Yamako Smart form can be found in Japanese stationery catalogues as early as 1918 but its maker the Yamada Kogyo Co., a company established in 1942 dates the design to 1946. Most probably the foundry parts were in existence throughout the 20s, but an essential technological part needed to make what is today specifically identifiable as the "Yamako Smart Stapler" wasn't imported from Germany we are told until the 40s.

Fascinating and probably controversially to most, prior to manufacturing staplers exclusively, the Yamada Kogyo Co, then known as the Yamada Air Industry Co., Ltd was involved in making parts for the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane used by the Japanese Navy in WWII as a frontline fighter, including for Kamikaze operations. Of course it is only natural that where one finds steels as a base material, one finds heavy industry, including for military purpose. 

Basically there is no denying that this stapler deserves its place in the museum of stationery classics. Not to mention its unique stapler design with its back to front handle, it is also a highly functional and high performing given its capacity to staple 30 sheets at once. 

10.2 x 6 x 21.2 cm

Chrome Steel
Staple Size:
24/6 and 26/6

Made in Japan

We recommend using these high-quality Italian staples for sharp and precise puncture.

Pictured here, an early version of the Yamako Smart in various early Japanese stationery catalogues from the Taisho period (1912 - 1926)