Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Retro Push Button Japanese Pencil Cases

Pretty exciting on the outside.
I know that pencil cases probably aren't the most exciting thing in the world, but I'm secretly sort of in love with them. You see, when I was little in the early-to-mid 90's, it was all the rage at my elementary school to have a really ridiculous pencil case that had buttons on them that made various gadgets pop out. The coolest cases were pastel colored and had blobby animal mascots on them. This trend was on it's way out by the time our grubby little hands got a hold on these pencil cases, so their popularity was quick lived amongst my age group.

But even more amazing on the inside! Photo from Flickr.

I, of course, was not one of these cool kids with the magic push button pencil cases, but these ridiculous cases sort of stuck with me over the years and I have been trying to hunt one down. Unfortunately they tend be outside of my pencil case budget since everyone else tends to be nostalgic for them as well and are quick to snap them up when they pop up on Ebay. Even the new ones ("Deluxe Pencil Case" they are often called) on Amazon are going to cost about $25 after shipping, which is probably twice the amount that I've spent on pencils in the last decade. 

Check out how deluxe this is! On Amazon.

I'm pretty content with just looking at them online though, as there are a number of retro pencil case collectors out there who share a pretty impressive Flicker pool, and push button cases are sprinkled throughout the pool. But I still do dream of the day when I happen to visit a flea market that has one of these excessive exorcises in pencil holding for a cheap price.
Some of them were a bit more deluxe than others. From Flickr.

Some were relatively simple. From Flickr.
For a change, have some mint green! From Flickr.
The more I stare at them in their dreamy pink push button wonderfulness, the more I talk myself into thinking that I need a crazy place to put my pencils and I'm honestly probably going to give into my nostalgia one day and and just spend the $30 one of these is going to cost me. As far as collections goes, it's not the most pocket-emptying one you could have, it's just the fact that I know that some of these weren't that expensive back when they first came out, and I'm sure there are hundreds the world over just gathering dust in the backs of closets just waiting to be discovered again!

That's one of those blobby pastel animals I mentioned. From Flickr.


  1. Yes, I agree - vintage, magnetic pencil cases are wonderful and they bring back so many memories. Unfortunately, they are expensive, as collectors from all over the world are ready to pay a lot of money for them. The most expensive, with Beautiful Sunday images, produced by Japanese company Kutsuwa, cost about 200 USD each :-(
    BTW - there are some vintage pencil cases in reasonable prices on Etsy :-)

  2. now they came to india and now they are popular........

  3. where do I get Kutsuwa boxes in Mumbai? It is Japanese Pencil Box.

  4. OMG these used to be so popular with my sisters and their friends back in the late 1980s! I have been looking for them for years and so glad to have stumbled upon them here. They bring back great memories and I can't wait to purchase some (I intend to use it as a makeup box). Thank you for this wonderful blog :)

  5. HOLY CRAP. I literally forgot about these until now.

  6. I had one with Barbie. :)
    Where can i find one now?

  7. You can get these:
    They're a bit expensive, not the same as the ones above and kinda kiddish, but if you really want one, you should get one.