Hayama’s first own invention

In one corner of his house, Noboru began researching custom-made ink that had the perfect consistency for stencil printing, something no Japanese had ever managed to do before. After one and a half years, in 1954, Hayama succeeded in developing Japan’s first emulsion ink (i.e. water and oil-based ink)1

After this groundbreaking development, his company was not only a printing company, but also a colour manufacturer, and in 1955 he changed the company name to RISO Science Laboratory Ltd., thereby emphasising the development of new products. At the same time, he built a small ink factory in Setagaya, Tokyo.2

The newly launched RISO ink earned high praise from other printing companies, and Hayama’s company worked tirelessly to improve the quality of their inks. To do this, he experimented with the use of colours in certain temperatures and humidities. One of these experiments was to store the ink in the bow of a cargo ship that was used intercontinental. Would the RISO ink prove its quality in both the intense heat of the equator and the bitter cold of the Arctic? It was an unprecedented experiment.

After a two-year journey, the cargo ship returned to the port of Yokohama, and Hayama found that the RISO ink had returned completely intact and in perfect quality. 3 Appropriately, in 1958, the first “riso-graph” was released, a flatbed duplicator similar to the mimeograph, which would turn out to be worthwhile for office users in particular. 4

  1. Carleton Ellis, Printing Inks: Their Chemistry and Technology (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1940), 345.
  2. RISO KAGAKU CORPORATION, Corporate history of RISO; a 70-year Journey, video, http://youtu.be/l-2iBS8K2mk.
  3. RISO KAGAKU CORPORATION, Corporate history of RISO; a 70-year Journey, video, http://youtu.be/l-2iBS8K2mk. 
  4. John Z. Kormuki: Risomania—The new spirit  of Duplicating (Niggli, 2017), 13.