04 June 2015


Some time ago, I spoke about a rather mysterious ink made by Pilot in the 1920s. That ink, by the name of Bokujû (墨汁), was described as real sumi (墨) ink adapted to be safely used in a fountain pen. Sumi, let us remember, is the ink used in traditional East Asian calligraphy, and it is made of vegetable soot and animal glue. As a result, it is hardly compatible with fountain pens—its particles in suspension would quickly clog the ink channels of the feed.

Many years after that ink was made, other companies have tried to create similar inks in one way or another. Platinum’s Carbon Ink and Sailor Kiwa-Guro (極黒) might be the closest relatives—nano particles in aqueous suspension. Pilot does not make any pigmented ink, but named one of the Iroshizuku inks as Take-sumi (竹炭), bamboo charcoal, giving a indirect reference to the traditional ink.

And there is another sumi-inspired ink in Japan. Kobe-based stationery shop Nagasawa has an extensive catalog of inks made by Sailor. They are, in essence, Jentle inks in exclusive colors. But there is one unusual ink in this catalog also made by Sailor. Contrary to the case of Jentle inks, the smell of this one is completely different—it is scented, and its fragrance is that of traditional sumi ink.

The name of the ink is not really clear. The label says “Fountain pen black ink. Sumi scent”. The last two ideograms, 墨香, could be read as bokkô or sumi kaori.

The label reads "Fountain pen ink, sumi scent."

As for the color of the ink, it is a fairly deep black, neutral color. Its chromatography does not show any non-black/grey dye.

To my knowledge, this is the only scented ink made by Sailor. And of all fragrances, that of shodo (書道) ink was chosen. Not flowers, not perfume—sumi ink.

Pilot Custom 823, WA nib – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Nakano, June 3rd, 2015
etiquetas: Japón, Sailor, Platinum, Pilot, tinta


Unknown said...

Interesting! I'm not seeing that one on their page of Sailor-made inks.


Bruno Taut said...

I bought my inkwell through Rakuten in March 2015. It might be sold out by now, and nothing do I know about its continuity. You might send Nagasawa an email inquiring about it.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.



Anonymous said...

as someone who has been finding Sailor inks and posting them into the FPN forums I think this ink is still being made albeit in limited quantities so its still tied to the supply whims of Sailor and buying it while in Nagasawa pen den... typically I think this can only be bought in person or when a pen fair is being held then the ink will be available

Tinjapan said...

Old topic but informative.


Bruno Taut said...

Not much can I add. I bought this ink online, not in person.

Thanks, Tinjapan, for your continuous encouragement.


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