KOKUYO's Historical Episode

Western-style account ledgers

Western-style account ledgers

PHOTO : Western-style account ledgers by KURODA KOKKODO.

These western-style account ledgers made in the pre-war era symbolized the prestige of that shop or company. Sheepskin from India was used for the quarter binding, and real gold leaf for the back title. The vivid marbled pattern along the edges added to the dignified look of the book.

Product Developed in Line with the Trend of the Times

A western-style account ledger is, as the name indicates, an accounting book for a double-entry system imported from the west. The system of double-entry bookkeeping had actually already been introduced to Japan by the beginning of the Meiji period, around 1873-74, by Yukichi Fukuzawa. While Fukuzawa insisted that Japan needed to change over from the Japanese style to western style accounting system, practically the only companies that were willing to adopt the western system were those in the banking industry. Most other businesses refused to break away from the traditional Japanese system to which they had long been accustomed. Kuroda, however, realized that the world was gradually being swallowed by the broad wave of westernization. To him, it was clear as day that sooner or later the western-style bookkeeping system would become the norm, and in 1913, he began making western-style account ledgers. In the process of commercializing such ledgers, Kuroda himself learned how to keep a western-style account ledger, and hired a highly paid accountant to change the account processing of his own business to a double-entry account bookkeeping system. He then applied the knowledge he gained through these experiences to develop new products. Also, like he did for his wachō, he poured his efforts into improving the paper used for the new ledgers.

Headstrong, dedicated ardor brings about Japan's very first domestically produced ledger paper

Ōji Paper Company’s books of paper samples entitled “KOKUYO Ledger Paper.”
PHOTO : Ōji Paper Company’s books of paper samples entitled “KOKUYO Ledger Paper.”

All ledger papers at the time were being imported from England. However, as it was during the time of World War I, the very unstable global affairs had been making the steady provision of paper supply difficult. Out of a desire to prevent any inconveniences for his customers, Kuroda resolved to localize the production of ledger paper, whatever the cost of doing so would be. He approached Ōji Paper Company, a giant Japanese conglomerate, and requested the production of ledger paper. Although KOKUYO was a small factory with only around 60 employees at the time, Kuroda's enthusiasm convinced Ōji to agree to take part in this joint development project. After many trials and errors made over a period of nine years, the two companies succeeded in creating the first ledger paper made in Japan.


Marbling is used to decorate the edges of a western-style account ledger. It adds a beautiful, bright, and dignified appearance while preventing soiling. Its intricate patterns also act as a deterrent against tampering, as they help to easily detect any missing pages.

  • Up to five different color pigments are poured over liquid of funori (seaweed glue). Ox bile that is mixed into the pigments causes the pigment to spread out across the surface of the liquid, as seen in the photo.

  • The pigments floating on the liquid is stirred by moving a stick in an figure-eight pattern.

  • Various marble patterns are created by moving a comb in the mixed paint. The artisan's skills are especially tested here.

  • The edges of the book are coated with alum and dipped into the marbled liquid, rinsed with water, and dried.

List of KOKUYO’s Historical Accounts

  • Cover
  • Japanese-style account ledger
  • Western-style account ledgers
  • Stationery pad with high quality paperboard
  • bielomatik
  • From paper to metal
  • Company's building-wide office showrooms
  • Campus Note
  • Survey Field Notebook
  • Museum display cases
  • Goods distribution
  • Distribution and sales network
  • Furniture production
  • Universal design
  • Company name and trademark
  • KOKUYO's own steel product plant
  • Eco tube file
  • Dot liner
  • Our Eco-X Mark initiative
  • Testament kits
  • Harinacs
  • Towards Asia