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Iroshizuku (Pilot)

Made by Pilot, Iroshizuku is one of a new breed of boutique inks.  The boutique aspect is, so far as I can make out, focussed upon charging rather higher prices than are strictly necessary for somewhat unusual colours which recline in relatively interesting bottles.  They’re nice enough, but in terms of functional performance, they’re not a vast improvement upon common or garden ink.  The Iroshizuku line is firmly planted in this paradigm

The name in direct translation means “colour drops”, and each ink has a similarly evocative name, usually taken from some natural inspiration.

Fuyu-Syogun:  Translated by Pilot as “Old Man Winter”, the site I defer to for my translations of kanji suggests “Jack Frost” and “General Winter”.  I find myself wondering if the latter is an actual figure in Japanese folklore; he’s certainly been credited with a role in Russia’s defence against both Napoleon and Hitler, and while not a part of Canadian mythology is certainly recognized by those of us who’ve heard the name.  The colour itself is a perfect mimic of a snow-filled sky, to the extent that I hesitate to use it in spring or fall for fear of like drawing like.


Shin-Ryoku: The kanji on the bottle simple mean “dark green”, while Pilot would have the meaning as Forest Green. Like Diamine’s Steel Blue, this ink hangs around on the borderlands between green and blue, which might make the western user ponder either of the translations.  However, it’s worth considering in this connection that in Japan the traffic signal that gets cars moving is known as a blue light.


Yu-Yake: a relatively muted orange, whose name means “sunset” (althought the literal meaning of the kanji is “evening burning”, which may offer some insight into the psychology of the people of ancient Japan).

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