The history and unboxing of Rare colorful Elite S-KaraKara Pocket Fountain Pen

by Wai Tat Jerry

Dimensions 尺寸資料
Length capped 含蓋:11.5 cm
Length uncapped 不含蓋:10.1 cm
Length posted 套蓋:14.2 cm

After the vast success of Elite S in 1968, Pilot launched a series of Elite S pocket fountain pen. One of those pens is what I’m going to talk about today: Elite S-KaraKara (からから/color and color).

Pilot Elite S-KaraKara(からから/color and color) pocket pen series

 

Elite S-KaraKara came in 1969. Its target clients should be students. Pilot released a pen set called “Happa KaraKara Elite-S” (ハッパ からからエリート-S) for JPY 3000. It includes one KaraKara and two colored caps and barrels.

「ハッパ からから エリート-S」套裝 “Happa KaraKara Elite-S” pen set.
“Happa KaraKara Elite-S” pocket pen set.

 

Why the pen set was named “Happa KaraKara”? “KaraKara”, which is a transliteration of the English word “color” and is pronounced as “Ka-La-Ka-La”. It is also an onomatopoeia of laugh in Japanese. In the TV advertisement for Elite S pocket pen in 1969, (Full article:Elite S短鋼廣告) Japanese television host Kyosen Ōhashi says a series of nonsense syllables ending with "Happa fumifumi". It soon became a popular slang in Japan and the sales of Elite S pocket pen took off. In order to make use of this trend, Pilot named the pen set as “Happa KaraKara”.

The first TV advertisement for the Elite S pocket pen aired in 1969. Full article, please click:按此.

 

 

 

 


 

外觀設計 The Design

Unlike the original Elite S, KaraKara got a colorful body in red, orange, magenta, yellow, deep sky blue, blue or purple.

Pilot Elite S-KaraKara(からから/color and color) pocket pen series 

My collection of KaraKara. The color of those deep sky blue caps gets a very slightly different. The one on the right is darker, the middle one is lighter, and the one on the left is lightest. Though it sounds weird, I’m not joking. Don’t know whether is Pilot designed it or just an accident.

 

Another interesting selling point of KaraKara is its interchangeable cap and barrel. Pilot announced that users can interchange those caps and barrels to form themselves a unique KaraKara according to their personal preference, mood, dress, etc. It helps explain why KaraKara was sold in set.

Red KaraKara and Black Elite S pocket pen

Original Elite S could also be interchanged with KaraKara.

According to my investigation, “Happa KaraKara” have a number of versions. They are arrayed in English capital letters and included different colors of KaraKara. For example, all caps and barrels in version A are in different colors; Version D contains KaraKara in deep sky blue, blue and purple; Version E has a red, blue and yellow KaraKara. (I’ve not yet figured out the pattern of those versions. If you have any information, let me know in the comment below. =))

 

 


  

套裝開箱 Unboxing

Here is a brief display of “Happa KaraKara” pen set:

Appearance of the pen set. Version, price and nib type of the pen are marked on the sticker.

Appearance of the

 

All you get from the pen set. That paper hidden at the back of the box.

“Happa KaraKara” pen set

 

Description, which is more like an advertisement, introduces the concept of design of KaraKara.

Description of KaraKara

The following are my Chinese and English translation of the description of KaraKara. If you have suggestion or a better version of translation, feel free to propose it!

You are making a pen that matches you!
Please match the colored caps and barrels freely and enjoy the variety of the color match. This pen is pleasing to the eye because you could match it with your mood and clothes of the day freely, just like an accessory.
- If you were wearing a sporty dress, what color should you match? What if it was dressy clothes?
- Is the pen match with your tie? Or you want to put it in your pocket?
- If you are girl, why don’t you try to match the color of the pen with your bag or notebook?
With your unique creativity, you could create a great new pen and have fun. The thing that you could show off to your friends is increased!

 

 

 

 


 

筆握與筆尖 Pen section and pen nib

Other than the colored cap and barrel, the section and nib of KaraKara also worth our attention. I find out that normal KaraKara tend to have a white plastic section with an 18k-gold nib. And the exporting version get a transparent section with a gold-plated nib. I am not one hundred percent sure about that. But if it is true, my red KaraKara with transparent section and 18k-gold nib would be a rare find.

Blue Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, white plastic section, 18K script nib.
White plastic section using in normal version.
Purple KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, gold-plated nib
Exporting version with transparent section and gold-plated nib. (Thank you Marco Yuen for providing the photo!)
Purple KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, gold-plated nib
Red Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, 18k-gold nib
Red Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, 18k-gold nib. The cap and barrel of it has some kind of different, making their color not match up.
Red Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, 18k-gold nib
Transparent section shows the technology of Pilot. It is also appropriate for caps and barrels in different color.
Red Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, 18k-gold nib
Red Elite S-KaraKara pocket pen, transparent section, 18k-gold nib

 

 

 

 


 

結語 Conclusion

Colored and interchangeable cap and barrel of KaraKara makes the line of Elite S pocket pen much more fun. It is enjoyable to see KaraKara in different colors lining up, which is sort of like a rainbow. Sadly, KaraKara is not well known, even it came in right after Elite S pocket pen. In the second-hand market, separate KaraKara could be found sometimes, but “Happa KaraKara” pen set is quite difficult to find nowadays. I’m so glad that I get two sets of them at once. Don't know if Pilot had produced KaraKara in green color or not? If yes, I wish I could collect it and form a set of "rainbow".

余維達 Wai Tat JERRY YU
2017/9/23 (Rewritten in 2019/02/15 ; 2023/06/01)



References:

  1. Andreas Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami (2012). “Fountain Pens of Japan”. Kaplan Pens and Books, NA.
  2. PILOT UNIQUE ELITE COLORED FOUNTAIN PEN, CLEAR SECTION:https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pilot-unique-elite-colored-fountain-117447074
  3. よぽけん日誌の画像|エキサイトブログ(Blog),ハッパ からから エリートS (パイロット):http://qprc.exblog.jp/7330077/

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6 comments

Lomarion 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 3:14

Thank you for translation of article about this lovely pen, they are so pretty <

Reply
Lomarion 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 3:16

message got cutted out * <

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Lomarion 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 3:16

I wish pens like this can return to the market because right now with all this stationary trends, traveler’s notebook, masking tapes and many many more colorful stuff like this in world outside of fountain pens, i think they can really find their new place in the market, atleast i wish for it

Reply
娛生 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 9:34

I believe that it is a dream of lots of pen-lover, not only you and me.

Reply
娛生 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 9:26

Thank you Lomarion! I’m so glad to know that my time used on translation is worth it.
I will translate other articles in this blog one by one as best as I can. Hope you enjoy!

Reply
Lomarion 2019 年 2 月 21 日 - pm 9:41

sorry for a little spam there, wordpress doesn’t like when I post symbols and cuts message because of that.
For sure going to wait for more new and previous articles to be translated! Keep up good work.

Reply

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