What is a System Techo?
“System Techo” (システム手帳) or system notebook refers to the 6-rings binder system which became ubuiquitous in Japan after being introduced to the Filofax system back in the 80s. This term is used exclusively for the 6-rings binder system that has been standardized in Japan, consisting of a “jacket” (leather) or “cover” (plastic) and filled with matching sized paper “refills” (inserts). It is available in the industry standard sizes as listed below with over 1000 different types of inserts produced by countless vendors retailing at stationery stores nationwide.
Personally, I’ve started using them since 2019 and have been enjoying the system in various ways. While the rest of the world tends to focus on thick bulky “let’s carry a brick with us everywhere”, the Japanese market tends to take a different more functional and practical take on using it. I’ve written several posts about this that I highly recommend reading for more insight on how to approach using this system with a different view:
- Ashford’s Planner’s Room Live No. 5 - summarizes an Instagram video on the general idea of what a system techo is used for, and an overview of all the common sizes available in Japan.
- Why you need a small notebook in your life - a summary of an interesting book about introducing a small notebook in your daily carry to capture ideas and live the productive life you desire.
- The「M5はノーカン」chant - why the M5 (Micro 5) size rocks.
I have a fairly extensive collection of Japanese-made (and otherwise) leather based system techos that I have amassed over the past few years. Approximately half were bought brand new while most of the regular editions were bought online from secondhand stores in Japan. I hope to eventually review a number of them in order to introduce its usefulness to the rest of the world.
- PLOTTER Pueblo 3-ring 11mm - Navy (My Review)
- RHODIA Organizer 3-ring 11mm - 2022 Limited Edition Color: Bleu Ciel (Press Release | Press Release 2
Micro 5 (5-holes)
- Ashford Modern Grace 13mm flap - Morning Gray
- Ashford Nina 8mm - Pink
- Ashford Rectangle Alter 11mm - Wine
- Ashford Toujours 11mm - Purple
- PLOTTER Bridle 11mm - Blue
- Shumi-bun Helios 8mm - Black (Photos)
- Ashford Deep Life Organizer A6+MINI6 13mm - Brown (Photos)
- Ashford Modern Grace 13mm - Venus Lake
- Ashford Neofinard 13mm - Rosegold
- Ashford Sylph 11mm - Pink
- Ashford Sylph 11mm - Taupe
- DaVinci Roroma Classic 14mm - Red
- DaVinci x Nagasawa Olive Leather 13mm - Green (Nagasawa Stationery Center special edition)
- Filofax Malden 19mm - Rose (Japan special edition color)
- KNOX IlButtero 13mm - Red
- PLOTTER Cordovan 11mm - Brown
- PLOTTER Pueblo 11mm - Black
- PLOTTER Sherling 11mm - Light Blue (limited ed.)
- Quovadis Timer14 L-Zip Cover 13mm - Powder Pink
Bible / Personal
- Acru Agenda Cover「星結いの輪郭」19mm (Photos)
- Ashford Deep 19mm - Brown
- Ashford Jem B6 Flap 11mm - Brown x Orange
- Ashford Modern Grace 15mm - Morning Gray
- Ashford Modern Grace Refill Pad Pouch 10mm - Venus Lake
- Ashford Rectangle Alter 15mm
- DaVinci Grande Yezo Deer 15mm - Brown (discontinued)
- PLOTTER Horsehair 11mm - Blue (discontinued) (Photos)
- PLOTTER Liscio 11mm - 5th Anniversary Online Store Limited Edition: Green
- PLOTTER Pueblo 11mm - 5th Anniversary Store Limited Edition: Rose
- Tsuchiya Kaban Tone Oilnume Multi-Pocket 20mm - Brown
- Tsuchiya Kaban Tone Oilnume Multi-Pocket 20mm - Koke-cha
- Tsuchiya Kaban Tone Oilnume Multi-Pocket 20mm - Olive Green (2022 Fall/Winter special edition)
HBxWA5 / Square
- Ashford LaLaLa 11mm - Cherry Blossom (discontinued)
- Ashford Modern Grace 19mm - Lovely Navy
- Ashford Rectangle Alter 15mm - Wine
- Ashford Tanalawn 15mm - Red (special edition)
- PLOTTER Pueblo Square 11mm - Green