Darker Hinoki 3 ply MAI GOUBAN Review

A preliminary review with details and pictures of the beautiful Darker Mai Gouban kiso Hinoki blade.


I just took some pictures of the beautiful Darker Mai Gouban blade, so I thought I’d share the pictures and my thoughts here. Darker discontinued this blade (so we were told), but luckily they seem to be back in production!


Here is a picture of the full blade, click to zoom into the full picture:

Darker Hinoki 3 ply MAI GOUBAN blade

This 3 ply Kiso Hinoki blade consists of two thick (almost 2mm) outer plies and a very thick inner core glued perpendicular to the fiber direction of the outer plies. This gives it almost the feeling a single ply blade without the extra thickness required and lower cost. You can clearly see the 3 plies pictures below:


To see how the fibers of the inner ply runs perpendicular to that of the outer plies, you can see the closeup of the tip of the blade here. Notice how the densely spaces plies are now on the outer plies, not on the inner plies as before:



As with all the Darker blades, they are made in Japan and J.T.T.A.A approved, with the metal plate at the bottom illustrating this:





  • 3 Kiso Hinoki plies
  • Dimensions: ~157 x 150mm
  • Thickness: ~8mm
  • Speed: Fast
  • Control: High
  • Made in Japan
  • J.T.T.A.A. Approved


The feel of this blade is very much like that of the single ply blades like the Speed 90 and Tanban. It does not quite have the power of the Speed 90, nor the very soft and ‘deep’ feel, but the feel is still quite soft, and like the 1-ply blades it gets a huge boost in power when you put a bit more effort into your loop.

Obviously with 3 thinner plies this blade is a lot cheaper to make than a 1-ply, and by gluing the plies perpendicular to each other, you can get better strength and stability with a thinner construction.

By the way, if anyone knows what the “MAI GOUBAN” stands for, I’d love to know!


You can buy this blade from OOAK Table Tennis Shop, the authorised Darker distributor.