Ishida Bungu is a stationary store based in Hakodate, Hokkaido (Northern Japan).  I came to learn of their inks only very recently via discussions of Hakodate Twighlight ad Gagome on the pen forums.  You can buy Ishida Bunga inks at via the White Rabbit Express service.  They do not ship outside of Japan.


In pursuit of my bottle of Pen & Message Cigar in the Winter/Spring of 2017, I decided to get the other 6 colours in the P&M set, as well as 4 inks from Ishida Bungu stationary store, namely; Hakodate Twighlight, Curry, Gagome (Brown Algae) and Old School Brown.  My thinking being if I spread the cost of shipping over more bottles of ink I’ll actually be saving money(!).



Although you can’t see much from the wet sample below, Gagome is often cited as an alternative to P&M Cigar.  I find it tends more to the grey/green than brown of Cigar.  This stony sheeny colour shifting ink is definitely my cup of tea.  I haven’t used it much as yet, but I plan to and will report back on my findings after a few months use.  So far my verdict is: awesome.


Close up of the box and the cap labels…

L1280141               L1280142


Here is a sample of Gagome on Hobonichi TR Paper wet and dry samples.  Check out the sheen…

gagome                 Gagome

Old School Brown

Old School Brown is a very flat smoky brown ink.  It doesn’t have any special colour-shifting Gagome– like characteristics or have any noticeable sheen.  Looks pretty much like a straight up brown.  It does however have a close resemblance to Omas Sepia, on Hobonichi paper at least.  I will post comparison pics of the two inks.  I find Omas Sepia a very soothing colour and I find School Brown very soothing as well.

The ink also comes in a very cool box with a picture of a pink colonial-style school building on the front (an old-school school?).  I presume the school is from the Hakodate area though it doesn’t say anything on their website.  Instead it says the ink is meant to evoke a sense of history and tradition, and instil a strong work ethic into your journaling, I mean studying routine.  On the bottle there is picture of a lovely old wooden staircase, presumably also from the school on the box.  I hope one day to own a big old house with a big old wooden staircase just like this…  Aside from the ink it makes for a lovely ornament.  Here it is…


Here is sample of School Brown on Hobonichi TR paper next to Omas Sepia.  Looking at it here Omas Sepia is clearly a lot reader but in person it is more a smokey dark brown like School Brown.

Hakodate School Brown.pngIMG_0078

Hakodate Curry


This is a curious ink and curious theme for an ink.  After some Googling I discover there is a famous Hakodate curry, often referred to as “English curry” which is traditionally served from a silver gravy dish.  I have noticed a definite colonial theme going on with these Ishida Bungu inks.  After further investigations I discover it is in fact a Beef curry.  Beef?  Yes I think this must be an “English curry” if it has beef in it.  For a Hindu this curry is looking worse and worse by the second!  Only the English would think of making a curry our of our most sacred and holy animal!  The colour does not resemble any curry I have tried.  More so it does not resemble the famous Hakodate curry either after which it is named, which is more red in colour- perhaps has tomato in it?  I know this as they helpfully placed a picture of the curry on the bottle’s label (see above).  Perhaps I will write down the recipe for Hakodate if I can find it in this ink and post it up next to a picture of the curry for comparison.  Interestingly, they did not use the same label for the outer box. Perhaps they feared it would scare off innocent Japanese ink browsers in their stationary store! >_<

Anyway getting back to the ink.  Hakodate curry is a yellow-brown ink which separates (shades) clearly into yellow- brown with a dark brown outline.  It reminds a lot of BunguBox 88 and Shosaikan’s Shin Zan, both of which similarly separate into yellow- green with a strong green outline (shading).  None of these inks have sheen as far as I’m aware- they are really all about the shading.  I am not a big fan of BunguBox 88 and much prefer the greener green of Kobe’s Souraken Green Tea– one of my all time favourite inks which I keep pretty much permanently loaded up in my Omas Paragon with BB stub.  It also reminds me a bit of Kingdom Note jellyfish Chrysaora Helvola, which is a very clear bight colour that I prefer.  I also notice some KWZ Honey aspect to it.

I’m not sure what I think of this ink yet as I just got it, but initial impressions are I’m not blown away by it.  It’s not like Gagome which I found immediately awesome, or even Old School Brown which was immediately soothing.  But perhaps it will grow on me.  Like “English curry” will grow on the Japanese?  Hmmm…

Here is a sample of Hakodate Curry on Hobonichi TR paper together with some comparisons.  Note the dark brown outline/sheen of Hakodate Curry where the ink pools around the edges…

Hakodate Curry.png


I thought it had more similarities to KWZ Honey below (note I “Kwizi” spelling” >_<…


These two- BunguBox 88 Green Tea and Shosaikan Shin-zan feel like a green version of Hakodate Curry, if that makes any sense…


Given the unusual colour range of Yellow-Brown that Hakodate Curry occupies I don’t have many similar inks for comparisons.  This Kingdom Note Jellyfish Chrysaora Helvola  is a much brighter version of it.  Perhaps my eyes will be able to discern colours better as I continue along my ink journey…not such great comparisons in retrospect :/