The Curmudgeoclast

Thoughts, projects, and ramblings of Dave Astels

Fri 06 December 2019

100th Anniversary Iroshizuku Inks

Posted by dastels in fountain-pens   

2019 is the 100th anniversary year of the Pilot Pen company. To commemorate this milestone they created a limited edition of pens inspired by the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese lore. These are high end Namiki Taka-Maki-e (raised Maki-e) pens that are made by Japanese artisans, each pen taking a great amount of highly skilled manual work and time to produce. Only 150 of each pen was produced and they sold for 4800 USD each (or 33600 USD for the set of 7). That said, they are pens that are meant to be written with and have a lifetime gaurentee. As lust-worthy as these pens are they are out of the disgressionary spending range of many people, myself included.

However, there was a way to get a piece of this 100th anniversary celebration at a mroe reasonable price. Along with the pens, Pilot released a set of matching inks in the Iroshizuku line (which is one of my preferred ink lines). Each ink is named after one of the gods, and is a colour corresponding to some notable aspect of the god that appears on the corresponding pen.

So, i managed to get a set of fullsize (50ml) bottles on ink. I've used them to write to my penpals; filling my primary correspondance pen (a Sailor ProGear classic) with each in turn and writing the pen dry before moving on to the next ink (with one exception, as mentioned below). Now that I've had experience with all 7, I am writting up my impressions and thoughts.

Goulet Pens carries them (what remains of the limited run) for 30 USD per 50ml bottle. This is somewhat more than the standrad Iroshizuku inks which come in at 20 USD. That's something of a premium price, but it is a limited run of unique colours celebrating a major milestone.

Here then, are my thoughts on the seven inks.

Benzai-ten (coral pink)

This is a lovely, deleicate pink. I went full sakura with this. Using this for the letters, Iroshizuku Yama-budo (a deep pink-plum colour) for addressing the envelope, and decorating the envelope with cherry blossom washi.

Fuku-roku-ju (green)

This is a nice green. Bold enough to be clearly legible, but deleicate enough not to be too overwhelming.

Ebisu (light blue)

I would call this something of a baby-blue. Pale, yet with adequate presence.

Juro-jin (purple)

This is very nice purple. Like the others, it's on the gentle side. Like Fuku-roku-ju, it stands out well compared to Benzai-ten and Ebisu without being too assertive.

Daikoku-ten (yellow)

This is the only one of the set that I found completely underwhelming, although I suspected it would be. How do you make a strong yellow ink? I managed a couple paragraphs with this. One with my standard EF Sailor nib, and one with a Lamy 1.1 stub. Neither resulted in text with much presence. I'm not sure what I'd use this ink for. Possibly with a B nib on very white paper?

Bishamon-ten (red)

This one is a nice, strong red with good presence. It's a nice, classy red. Not as in-your-face as something like OxBlood, but it works great with my Sailor EF nib.

Hotei-son (black-green)

This is my favourite of the set, but then I'm a sucker for a good green-black. This ione is a rich, very dark green. It's noy unlike Noodler's Zhivago but with a more olive greenwhereas Zhivago has a foresty green.

In closing

The set has some good colours, several that I would label pale/pastel. I probably won't get much use from those. There's also some bold colours that I will get some use out of.