A HISTORY of MIDORI | About MIDORI™ | MIDORI | Japanese Design Stationery Company



  1. 1953: Advent of broadcast television in Japan
  2. 1954: Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line opens
  3. 1958: Construction of Tokyo Tower completed

1950 Midori Shokai Co., Ltd. Established.
The company’s first product is letter paper with the courier symbol.

Midori Shokai Co., Ltd. was established in 1950.
Midori means “green” in Japanese
and was chosen as the company name to represent the strength
of a plant spreading its green leaves in a field.
In addition to letter paper,
which remains central to the MIDORI brand to this day,
the company also expanded to other paper products,
including notebooks and sketchbooks.

1952 Company begins taking orders for and producing business diaries

Created in an era before company diaries,
MIDORI’s business diaries were initially adopted by automobile manufacturers.
This served as the starting point for the company’s production
of business diaries and order-made products for corporate clients.

* Photograph shows product from 1987.


  1. 1960: Color television broadcasts begin in Japan
  2. 1964: Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train line opens
  3. 1964: Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo
  4. 1969: Tomei Expressway opens

early 1960s Diary Free

These diaries were printed without dates to grant users even greater freedom.
The varied lineup included editions designed for older users and teenagers.
The diaries went on to become MIDORI’s main product line,
a position they retain to this day.

Multi-Year Diary (Ikusaigetsu)

The creation of the Multi-Year Diary lineup enabled users to write diary entries
for the same date in different years on a single page.
The lineup continues to feature a wide range of variations
for young and old users alike.

1961 Diamond memo

The first pocket-sized notepad in Japan
to enable users to write on both sides of each page,
the Diamond memo pad was a revolutionary product
and a hit among business professionals during
a period of rapid economic growth in Japan.

Why has this notepad retained
its popularity for over 60 years?

In 1961, Japan was in the midst of a period of rapid economic growth.
At the time, notepads were usually placed by phones or on desks.
The Diamond memo pad was the first in Japan that enabled use on the go by allowing users to write on both sides in addition to featuring a sweat-resistant cover and a size that was ideal for placing in shirt pockets. The series remains popular to this day.

1963 Company name changed to Midori Co., Ltd.

The company changed its name from Midori Shokai,
which was written in a combination of hiragana and kanji, to Midori in katakana.

1964 Nagareyama Factory established in Chiba prefecture

Midori’s Nagareyama Factory was completed in 1964.
In addition to acting as a center for various printing,
processing and binding operations, it serves as a base for managing the company’s products.
The factory’s employees continue to work with passion to overcome new challenges
and further improve the quality of the items they produce.


  1. 1970: Osaka Expo ’70 held in Osaka
  2. 1973: The 1973 oil crisis begins
  3. 1978: Narita International Airport opens


These decorative stickers printed on both sides were revolutionary
at the time of their introduction.
Their stylish designs were popular as additions to automatic doors,
which were becoming increasingly commonplace at the time,
and the windows of beauty salons and cafés.


These robust, lightweight containers were designed
to be sturdy enough for use by children.
The appealing design of these box-shaped cardboard cases saw them become
a breakout hit that revolutionized the concept
of school bags and remained in production until 1988.

While the Groovy Case initially took some time to gain traction in the market, it made its breakthrough soon after being featured in news programs. From that point on, the series continued to produce trend-setting designs and established itself as one of the top stationery items of the mid-20th century.

1979 greeting letter

MIDORI’s first venture into selling letter paper
and envelopes as a set for letter writing led
to the creation of a new generation of young fans.


  1. 1982: Tohoku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train lines open
  2. 1983: Tokyo Disneyland opens
  3. 1989: Consumption tax introduced in Japan
  4. 1989: Japan enters the Heisei era as Emperor Akihito is enthroned

1980 Color Message Cardboard

The first colored message cardboard to be released onto the Japanese market,
this product created a new cultural phenomenon by turning shikishi—an item that had previously been used for autographs—into a medium for writing heartfelt messages from groups of friends, families and colleagues. These items continue to be a central element of the MIDORI brand.

Released in 1980, MIDORI’s Color Message Cardboard dispelled the stereotype of shikishi boards as plain white squares and enabled users to express congratulations and gratitude more vibrantly than ever before. The initial release featured six variations, including heart design on a light pink board and a pastel-colored polka dot pattern. With the popularity of items featuring adorable characters at the time of its release, the series’ design stood apart thanks to its refined aesthetic. Over the next 40 years, MIDORI has continued to break new ground in this area with a range of innovations including heart- and flower-shaped die-cut Message Cardboard and the sale of Message Cardboard and sticker sets.

1981 KINTAKUN Series

The vibrant 1980s saw a boom in the number of video games
and characters enjoying mainstream success in Japan.
While fairy tale characters were the norm,
KINTAKUN Series was based on a Japanese legend of a boy with superhuman strength.
He appeared on a range of items that went beyond stationery
and became a widely popular character.


This series featuring animals depicted
in stylish colors stood apart from the competition upon
its release and gained a large following.


The NYANNEES Series featured adorable images of fluffy cats
on a lineup of items ranging from aprons to mugs.

1984 Pocket Diary

With lustrous covers incorporating pink and blue hues together
with illustrations, these stylish diaries designed
with female users in mind featured colored ruled lines and illustrations inside.
The diaries also featured a compact, slimline design and served
as the starting point for MIDORI’s current Pocket Diary.


As the market for sundries continued to prosper,
a range of mini domestic appliances were developed in an efforts
to expand the possibilities offered by stationery.
MASCOT CLEANER was a table top cleaner created as part of this series
of mini appliances that provided a unique gift idea
featuring functionality and charm in addition to appeal as a novelty item.
It received a Good Design Award for its design.

1987 Current MIDORI logo created

The new MIDORI logo was designed to reflect the origins of the company’s name.
The curved line at the top follows a “hop, step, jump, high jump” motion
that gathers momentum as it progresses, culminating in an upward motion
that expresses the strength to overcome adversity.


This item marked the expansion of the business diary market,
which had previously mainly catered to older men,
to provide more products targeted at younger users and women.
The innovative A5 slim size and format developed at this time are still in use today.


  1. 1991: Japanese asset price bubble collapses
  2. 1993: J League soccer championship established
  3. 1998: Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Nagano


This LETTER CUTTER features a safety-focused design
that prevents user contact with the blade and does not produce offcuts.
The design went on to win a Good Design Gold Award and Design Plus Award,
followed by a Good Design Long Life Design Award in 2005.

The Standex LETTER CUTTER was released in 1990. Based on opening envelopes in the manner of a paper knife, the newly-developed mechanism enabled users to open an envelope without producing offcuts simply by sliding the device along the top. An improved LETTER CUTTER Ⅱ was released four years later, featuring a transparent guide plate to facilitate cutter alignment and a new rounded body design that has been maintained to this day. In 2017, the color lineup was updated and the product was rereleased under the name LETTER CUTTER. Three colors are currently available, matte black and transparent pink and blue.

1991 Standex Tape Dispenser

This tape dispenser featured a suction cup designed to fix the device in place.
Incorporating a dial for toggling the suction function,
the revolutionary design garnered attention
for the ease with which it enabled attachment to the side
of desks and other office furniture, winning a Good Design Award,
Design Plus Award and iF Design Award in 1992.

1992 Embosser

Featuring a revolutionary cartridge system that makes the embossing of
three-dimensional initials and images a simple everyday process,
this item was awarded a Good Design Award and iF Design Award in 1993
and remains a perennial favorite to this day.

Based on the form of yukiusagi, simple rabbit snow sculptures traditionally made during winter in Japan, the extremely simple design is friendly and cute while remaining refined. In consideration of the firm pressure required for embossing, it features a sturdy structure with a lever that is easy to press with the fingers and a body that effectively absorbs the applied force.


Featuring a transparent color scheme,
the COLOR STATIONERY series was a fusion of design
and functionality that represented a new stage in the evolution
of widely-popular core stationery items such as staplers and scissors.

1994 Writeman Stationery Set II / III

Following the success of the first generation
of the Writeman Stationery Set of luxury writing implements,
the design was revised to change with the times
and featured the grained finish that was widely used
for the high-end consumer electronics of the era.
This item won a Good Design Award and Design Plus Award in 1995.

1998 Mini Cleaner

Useful for picking up eraser shavings and other small debris from desks,
this item has remained a perennial favorite since its release in 1998.

The Mini Cleaner was created to provide a piece of useful stationary that also added a touch of cuteness whenever it adorned users’ desks. In 2016, the material was changed from ABS to highly-durable polycarbonate while keeping the same functionality. With a lustrous and highly-transparent design, the vibrant coloring has given the Mini Cleaner a new lease of life.


  1. 2002: FIFA World Cup held in Japan and South Korea
  2. 2008: Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy
  3. 2009: Jury system introduced in Japan

2001 Multi Ruler

This compact 30cm ruler can be folded for easy storage inside pencil cases
and remains a longstanding hit to this day.

Designed to be folded and put inside users’ pencil cases, it was created to alleviate the inconvenience of carrying around a 30 cm ruler. The name Multi Ruler was chosen to show that it is a single item with multiple functions, including measuring angles in 15-degree increments, using the holes at 1 cm intervals as a guide for the length of lines during drawing, and opening the ruler to double the length. The design received a Good Design Award in 2020.

2002 PAPER CRAFT Sticker

One of MIDORI’s most popular series,
these handmade stickers are created through the application
of a range of materials and production processes.

2004 PAPER CRAFT Series

This series of paper items features various individually handmade pieces
ranging from stickers to cards.
The freedom to easily create unique personalized cards
and letter paper by combining different elements was well received by users.
Kinpu decorative envelopes made using a variety of materials
and featuring a three-dimensional design remain a popular item.

* Item shown in photo is PC Money Envelope Baby Shower White, currently the most popular product in the PAPER CRAFT Series.

4 million envelopes sold

While continuing to respect the existing simple design of elements such as noshi, tanzaku and mizuhiki, which are core features of kinpu decorative envelopes to mark special occasions, MIDORI created items that express feelings of celebration through designs centered around materials and processes that provide a sense of three-dimensionality. The varied lineup catered to occasions ranging from weddings to births. The PC Money Envelope Baby Shower White was created based on the adage that a baby who takes their first mouthful from a silver spoon will live a trouble-free life. Over 4 million of this beloved item have been sold throughout its history and it remains a popular choice to this day.

2006 Kami Series

The Kami Series, letter paper and envelopes
featuring bold designs featuring flowers
and other seasonal designs on washi paper,
was launched in 2006 and remains popular among its many fans.

The Kami Series is designed to look great even with small amounts of writing. The washi paper is specially created in careful consideration of the characteristics of the flowers from each season. The attention to detail in the design also extends to the aesthetics of blank spaces, a commitment to drawing by hand, and showing flowers as they appear in nature, with flowers that bloom in trees at the top of the page and flowers that bloom from the soil at the bottom.

2006 Swingbird

This self-righting correction tape dispenser
in the form of a chick won a Good Design Award in 2006.

2006 TRAVELER’S notebook

Born from a company competition,
the TRAVELER’S notebook was released in 2006.
The brand name was subsequently changed
from MIDORI to TRAVELLER’S COMPANY and went on to gather a loyal following
of fans both in Japan and around the world.


2007 Company name changed to Designphil Inc.

The company changed its name to Designphil Inc.
while maintaining the brand name MIDORI.

2008 MD Notebook

MD PAPER has been exactingly designed to be ideal
for writing since its creation in the 1960s.
The MD Notebook was created to make the most of the paper’s unique characteristics
in pursuit of a comfortable writing experience.

* Packaging shown is packaging currently in use. MORE

2008 D-CLIPS

By infusing regular paper clips with design features,
D-CLIPS turned a disposable item
into something users want to use again and again.
The popularity of this item went beyond specialist stationary retailers
and they can now also be found in general stores.


2008 Kirei Letter Pad

As the number of people who had never written
a letter continued to increase,
this letter pad was packed with features to enable users
to write beautiful letters from the very start
and became one of MIDORI’s most iconic items overnight.

The pad’s most striking feature is the inclusion of a “secret underlay”. Inspired by the fact that having a centerline to refer to helps to create beautiful handwriting, simply laying this sheet under the paper enabled users to align the center and size of each letter while writing. The spacing of the lines on the narrow ruled sheets were set based on measurements of the size and spacing of letters in correspondence received from customers.

2008 Message Cardboard with Sticker

By enabling group members to write their messages on the included stickers,
this revolutionary item allowed users to adorn their Message Cardboard
with vibrant displays more easily than ever before.

The Message Cardboard with Sticker was created to solve common challenges faced by users of Message Cardboards, including difficulty getting messages together and collecting messages from people who live far away. This new innovation enabled users to write from afar and keep their messages private.

2008 PAPER CRAFT museum

This new series of paper communication items expressed warmth
in everyday life through the excitement of choosing,
the pleasure of making, and the joy of giving.


  1. 2010: The Japanese space probe Hayabusa returns to Earth
  2. 2012: Tokyo Skytree opens
  3. 2013: Mt. Fuji is officially registered as a World Heritage site

2010 Origami Origami

Whether wrapping small gifts or creating table arrangements,
this item made origami into a means of expressing heartfelt emotions,
adding a new dimension to this traditional craft through the power of design.

2011 Memorization notebook

This dedicated notebook for memorization came fitted with
a red sheet for users to check their progress.
The unprecedented concept went on to become patented.

2013 Clear Faced Bag

These adorable bags transformed any item into a wonderful gift in an instant.
They became an overnight hit upon release,
providing an opportunity to meet greater demand
for small gifts in the stationery market.

2016 XS Stationery

Continuing on from the longstanding success of the COLOR STATIONERY series,
this item expands to new frontiers of integrating function with
design based on the concept of creating some of the world’s smallest products.


2018 Carton Opener

The versatile Carton Opener can be used for a variety of purposes,
from unpacking cardboard boxes to opening envelopes or cutting single pages
from magazines and newspapers.
The design has continued to be iterated upon since its release.

The original design is based on the Carton Cutter, which was released in 2002. Unfortunately, a number of issues saw this item discontinued after two to three years. Over a decade later, the product was reborn as the Carton Opener. The ceramic blade provides excellent longevity and is safely covered when not in use. In constant pursuit of an easy to hold shape, a foldable round design was also developed. The 2020 edition saw new evolutions such as replaceable blades and the inclusion of magnets on both sides for seamless adherence to surfaces. The design received a Good Design Award in the year of its release.

2019 Quick Open Memo Patto

The Quick Open Memo Patto is unlike any notepad that came before it.
With glue only applied to the left-hand side of the paper,
it enables users to open to the next fresh page immediately.
Peeling off each sheet in the manner of a writing pad also keeps used
and unused pages separate, helping users open to the next new page immediately.

This item was created to provide a new memo pad that went beyond MIDORI’s longstanding hit, the Diamond memo. The innovative design resolved a common issue faced by many users of ring memo pads by eliminating the inconvenience of holding new pages in place with clips or sticky notes.
The design received a prize in the Functionality Division at the STATIONERY OF THE YEAR 2019 awards and a Good Design Award in 2020, in addition to being selected for Volume 21 of the JIDA Design Museum Selection.

2019 Nonslip Aluminum Ruler

With its nonslip features,
this aluminum ruler is ideal for precision cutting work.
When the center is held down,
the nonslip feature on the back firmly anchors the ruler in place.
Holding down the ends lifts the nonslip section from the page,
allowing for smooth movement to a new position.
In 2019, the design was featured in the BEST100 at the Good Design Awards
and received an Honorable Mention at the Design Intelligence Awards (DIA).


  1. 2020: COVID-19 pandemic
  2. 2020: Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo postponed for one year
  3. 2020: Fugaku crowned the world’s fastest supercomputer

2020 Paintable Stamp

As people began to spend more at home as a result of COVID-19,
the number of opportunities to engage in writing by hand also grew.
These stamps featuring hand drawn designs can be enjoyed in a variety of ways,
from decorating notebooks and dairies to giftwrapping.
These stamps enable users who aren’t confident in their drawing
to create designs with a single push
and became popular items immediately after their release.