Pen & Message: Syuurushi (Red Urushi)

Pen & Message is a stationary store based in Kobe, Japan.  They sell some highly sought after inks including the holy grail Cigar; a colour-shifting, sheening ink like no other (apart from Sailor’s Four Seasons Rikkyu-Cha that you can purchase very easily and for a fraction of the price).  Despite the recent reissue of Rikkyu-ChaCigar is still regarded as the No.1 ink by many- the ink of all inks.  Plus since Cigar comes from Pen & Message it you get it in the cool diamond shape bottle- perfect for those with humoungous nibbed- fountain pens.

Because of the worldwide popularity of Pen & Message inks, you cannot purchase them directly on-line unless you live in Japan.  So if you cannot buy them in person at their store you would have to use a forwarding service such as White Rabbit Express, which is how I got them.  Be aware they are currently limiting ink purchases to 1 colour/person.  I bought 1 each of the 8 piece set as follows;

  1. Cigar (Brown)
  2. Old Burgundy (Burgundy)
  3. Quadrifoglio (Green)
  4. Vintage Denim (Blue)
  5. Saku (Blue)
  6. Sanyasou (purple)
  7. Suyuurushi (red urushi)
  8. Fuyugare (grey)

Here is a pic of the Pen & Message inks;


*Picture taken from their website

Three of the inks were made in collaboration with Writing Lab namely; Quadrifoglio, Vintage Denim and Old Burgundy;


*Picture taken from their website

The ink I will be reviewing today is Syuurushi, as you can see it has very stylish packaging…


…and the box


…and the cap.


Syuurushi or Red Urushi from Pen & Message is a very unique colour shifting ink depending on the paper you use.  Being an owner and user of urushi fountain pens from Nakaya and Danitrio, I love the idea of an ink based on urushi, in this case a red urushi.  On the Pen & Message website, they describe the ink as follows (please note this is a literal cut and paste job from Google translate so…);

Lacquer ware
I made it with consciousness of Hare's day. I imaged red and made it vermillion of my favorite Japanese lacquer so that I can use it everyday. The color changes slightly when writing and when dry.
It is a vermillion that is more like brown than it looks in the image, and when you write it in bold you can enjoy shading.

This is a very nicely conceived ink, as described above, and the colour shifting is not only observable as the ink dries, but also depends on what paper you use.  On Hobonichi TR paper Syuurushi has some characteristics of BunguBox Sweet Potato Purple with its purpley- tones sheening to green.  In contrast, on Original Crown Mill white card it resembles the brand new BunguBox Ink of Narato, with its deep red and sheen to illuminous green.  To me Syuurushi looks much more like the red urushi found on my Danitrios Genkai’s compared to it’s fascia-toned Hobonichi appearance.  I have yet to try it on Rhodia, but will post a sample of that as well for comparison later.  A pretty incredible ink all round, but beware it can bleed through a bit on Hobonichi paper.  To be safe I will use it exclusively in the Jinhao X250 I currently have it loaded up in.  Here is a writing sample on Rhodia reverse grid pad with the Jinhao…it has a surprisingly nice fine steel nib, though it was sold as a “medium”…


On Rhodia Syuurushi looks very much like red urushi.  Here’s a close up of the writing sample;


A very nice red indeed.  Here it is below with an actual red urushi fountain pen- the Danitrio Genkai in matt shu dame finish;


It is when you start using other papers that the ink starts to do strange things… Below is a dry sample on Original Crown Mill white mini note cards, this definitely has the look of Ink of Naorato about it with the other worldly green sheen…


Now things get really weird, the same Syuurushi but this time on Hobonichi TR Paper…definitely has some Sweet Potato Purple aspect to it, but even sheenier!


Here is Sweet Potato Purple just for confirmation of said similarities…ok SPP is definitely less pink and more purple (I guess the clue’s in the name!)…but sheen is similar.


Here is the dry time on Rhodia…


Here is my attempt at chromatography…


This is a very saturated red with not a lot of shading, but there is some.  It’s not a completely flat colour.  I would say the flow is about 5-6/10 on Rhodia, obviously much wetter on Hobonichi TR paper.  It’s a red ink and I only got it recently so I’m not sure how well behaved it it.  I’ll leave it in my Jinhao for a month and see how it copes.

All in all Syuurushi is a very intriguing ink.  A nice addition to my my rare Sailor ink collection.