I am a fan of all of the Kokuyo papers that I have tried before, so when I came across this Kokuyo KB paper I grabbed a ream of it to try out. I knew that if it was anything like the paper in the Campus or Century Edition notebooks I would be quite happy with it. I sure hope so since I have 500 A4-sized sheets of it!
I definitely prefer notebooks to loose leaf paper, but there are times you just need a single piece of paper. Loose leaf is also great to have if you bind books or need to print on paper for later use. Currently, the only loose leaf paper that I use is either HP Premium28 or Premium32. Both of those are fountain pen friendly, but neither one is really fountain pen fun. My first impressions of the Kokuyo KB Business Paper (from now on I’ll just call it Kokuyo KB) is that is is likely fountain pen fun! It is super-smooth as you would expect from Japanese paper and seems to show off more of the ink qualities than either of the HP papers do. We’ll find out more info in the details.
As far as I know, this paper is only available as individual sheets in reams.
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Low
- Shading: Average
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Average
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Good
- Paper Weight: 64gsm
- Paper Size: A4, A5
- Sheets Per Ream: 500
Being loose leaf paper, this review is purely on the paper. There are no notebook features to review here, so the paper has to stand in the spotlight by itself. Fortunately, it can take the close scrutiny and still shine. As I mentioned above, the texture of the paper is quite smooth. It is not slick like some papers can be, but every nib that I used on it glided across the paper with no issues. I find it quite pleasant to write on.
Kokuyo KB also handles ink very well. I used a variety of nibs and inks on it and had no significant issues. As you can see in the ratings, there was no bleed through. I did see what may be a tiny bit of feathering with my wet nibs and very saturated inks, but honestly it could just be a bit of paper texture giving the line an irregular edge.
This paper does show some sheen and shading. While it is not the best paper for showing off your inks, it is by no means the worst. Along with decent shading and sheen performance, this paper has good dry times as well. It is a little thin (being 64gsm), so there is some ghosting, but not so much that I’d worry about using both sides of a sheet.Since this paper is loose leaf printer paper, I figured I should run it through my printer and see how it works. I have an inexpensive HP LaserJet printer that works great with HP Premium28 paper. The first sheet of Kokuyo KB paper I ran though it was not so successful. I forgot to change the width guides from Letter to A4, so the paper ran through crooked and ripped. Fortunately, it didn’t jam. For the second sheet I fixed the guides and it went through perfectly. Writing on it felt the same as before I printed on it. I’d say it works great as printer paper.
While it doesn’t have anything to do with the performance of this paper, I have to mention how good of a value this paper is. To find fountain pen friendly paper that is available in reams can be difficult, and finding paper that is actually enjoyable to use is even harder. Kokuyo KB is not only fun to use, but is extremely inexpensive. You can pick up a ream of 500 A4 sheets for the cost of a nice notebook. When I bought my ream, it came out to $0.04/sheet. At that price, you’ll have plenty of good paper to use and you won’t feel guilty using it.
Kokuyo KB is not the best paper I’ve ever tried, but is one of the most well-rounded. There are other papers that show more sheen and shading, others that have less ghosting and some with faster dry times. Still, this is amazing paper that does everything very well. The fact that it does show sheen and shading with little to no feathering or bleed through and has good dry times makes it almost a no-brainer for anyone who has a use for loose leaf paper. Unfortunately, if you only use notebooks this paper probably isn’t for you, but if you regularly use paper in your printer and like to write on it with fountain pens, you enjoy binding your own notebooks, or you simply need individual sheets of paper to write on, you should definitely pick up a ream of Kokuyo KB Business Paper.
It also comes in reams of A5 paper.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Interested in trying this paper before buying a notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.
Kokuyo KB Business Paper
- Sheen (higher is better)
- Shading (higher is better)
- Bleeding (higher is better)
- Ghosting (higher is better)
- Feathering (higher is better)
- Dry Time (higher is better)
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Amazing value, very fountain pen friendly
Cons: Only available in reams
Value Rating: 3.71 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.02
Who this paper is for: Anyone who wants a lot of fountain pen friendly paper without paying a lot per sheet.
Upgrade to this paper from: HP Premium32
Upgrade from this paper to: Tomoe River
In UK this paper is £25 for the ream via Amazon, so it isn’t cheap. I was surprised, John, that you didn’t dwell on the 64 gsm which seems unusually lightweight to me.
That’s too bad it’s more expensive in the UK, Noel. At least you have easy access to reams of Clairefontaine paper, which we don’t here in the US! The paper weight didn’t really bother me, so I didn’t find it worth dwelling on. It honestly doesn’t feel much different than regular copy paper.