Shimbashi-iro – Pilot Iroshizuku

In December 2007 Pilot’s created exclusive line of inks called Iroshizuku. I believe they may well be the most well known fountain pen inks in pen world. These inks are supposed to work in any pen with any nib on any paper and in any situation. I haven’t tried all of them but so far the Iroshizuku inks I’ve tried were behaving flawlessly.

The colors were created by Kiyomi Hasegawa who after fifteen years of working in a stationary shop and communicating with Clients come to conclusion that not all fountain pen users are willing to write in black and blue. Wise woman.

The bottles are stunning although they have their issues: if the ink is left unused for some time the cap tends to stick and break when you try to twist it open. It happened to my bottle of Shin-Ryoku.

Anyway Iroshizuku line of inks counts 24 “standard” colors. Three inks were made some time ago for Tokyo stores: Edo-Murasaki, Fukagawa-Nezu and Shimbashi-Iro. Recently they were reissued to the japanese market. Thanks to Tinnjapan’s help I was able to get a threepack of 15 ml bottles. I’ve played with the inks for few days (since monday) and I will share my reflexions with you.

The inks can be bought in 50 ml glass bottles and in 15 ml bottles. Threepack comes in a plastic box.

I’ll start with the color I dislike.

Shimbashi – iro

It seems Shimbashi-iro is one of traditional japan colors. I always knew they had perverse minds.

As usually you should take my ramblings with a grain of salt 🙂 The truth is there are colors I viscerally hate (Diamine Soft Mint and Marine) but SHimbashi – iro isn’t one of them, probably because it’s less saturated and doesn’t make my eyes suffer that much. I jsut stronly dislike it.The color is bright and people with strange perception of reality might call it joyful and fresh. Whatever. Let’s focus on writing behaviour because that’s what defines if the ink is really good. I can forgive bad behaviour to inks I like due to their hue but not to inks I dislike. Sadly, I can’t say bad things about Shimbashi-iro writing performance.

The flow is consistemnt and good. It doesn’t feather or cause bleedthrough (unless you use bad quality absorbent paper). There’s no water resistance to it. I haven’t observed any hard-starts or skipping. It does shade but not dramatically. Saturation is average. Im most situations text written with Shimbashi-iro should be legible but in ambient light and if your vision isn’t what it used to be some effort will have to be put in order to decipher everything, especially if you tend to use extra-fine nibs.

Drops of ink on kitchen towel

Software ID

Color range

Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, eyedropper mode, broad nib

Leuchtturm1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, eyedropper mode, broad nib

Kokuyo Campus Myo, Kaweco Classic Sport, eyedropper mode, broad nib

(the quote is from Josiah Bancroft’s Books of Babel – Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx – if you like litterary prose, wild imagination, grotesque and fantasy tropes you need to try them. They’re excellent)

No-name calendar (crappy paper), Diplomat Depeche, broad nib

Water resistance


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