The company Edit, based in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, produces a variety of notebooks. Most of them come with specialized forms on each page, such as a cooking notebook with separate boxes for ingredient names, amounts, and cooking directions. The company’s more unique offerings include a pitcher’s notebook with a three-by-three grid to mark each throw as high or low, inside or outside, and a horse racing journal to record bets, wins (hopefully), and losses (inevitably).
The pages of Edit’s newest big seller are completely blank, though. What’s more, if customers follow the instructions for using it, they’ll never be able to refer back to what they wrote, because the pages are designed to feel good as you rip them into shreds.
As opposed to the cheap paper used in flyers and newspapers, many of us tend to think of the higher quality sheets of a notepad as something we shouldn’t tear. Edit created the product thinking it might resonate with people in today’s stressful society and help them relieve a little stress.
The sukatto notepad, or “the notepad for blowing off steam,” is the brainchild of Edit’s president Issei Mizutani. “I’d heard that shouting while you tear a piece of paper was a good way to relieve stress,” he explains. “I’d also read parenting blogs where mothers said they felt better after writing the things that were bothering them down on a piece of paper, then tearing it up and tossing the pieces into the air. I wanted to see if these things really worked.”
▼ The sukatto notepad’s simple, step-by-step directions
To test the ideas he’d heard, Mizutani started ripping up various pieces of paper. To his surprise he found that some of them felt really good to tear, and some didn’t at all. Impressed by this discovery, he began to wonder if there might be a good idea for a new product somewhere in the unexpected depth of the world of paper-tearing.
After destroying all the types of paper he could find in the office, he purchased a number of other paper products to continue his experiments. In particular, the paper Mizutani was looking for would need to produce a pleasing sound as it tore, have the appropriate stiffness to create a pleasing ripping sensation, and be pure white so that it could be easily written on. In the end, he settled on a type of packing paper also used in paper bags. Finally, Mizutani decided to bind the pages with a glue that would still allow individual pages to be easily removed.
Tha 30 sheets of the sukatto notepad are A4 size, the 210 mm X 297 mm specification that is the standard for business and academic reports in Japan. The company settled on this size to give users the feeling of writing a summary of the things that irritate them, before tearing the list up.
The sukatto notepad went on sale last February 15 at a price of 500 yen (US$5), and although it is only available by direct order through Edit’s website, the entire initial production run was sold out in less than a month. The company originally expected most of its purchasers to be women, but it’s proven to be especially popular with men, some of whom purchased 10 or 20 in a single order.