Shosaikan is a very posh stationary store based in Tokyo, Japan. As far as I am aware, they have just two inks in their ink line, both made by Sailor. I grabbed this picture of the store from Google…
Unlike the Kingdom Note and Bungubox inks, who have all moved to the standard squat Sailor bottles, Shosaikan inks still come in the extremely ergonomic diamond/vase shaped bottles for easy filling. The only indication of the ink contents inside is a discreet yellow dot on the top of the plain Sailor box. The bottle itself has an unusual label, running from top to bottom, a bit like a filter strip, but classier.
Here is the bottle…
Some writing on Hobonichi TR paper- you can see how light Shin-zan is. You can also see the state of my cryptocurrency portfolio early January- thats not something you see every day on a writing sample. Yes I did buy Tron. Close to the all time high. I’ll leave it there.
Verdict: I love the look of these Shosaikan inks, from the the old diamond shaped bottles, to the unusual label and discreet Sailor box. However, when it comes to the ink itself, I was somewhat disappointed. Shin-zan, which translates to something like “deep into the forest”, sounds and looks very smart, but in the end disappoints. It manages to be both watery and dry. It feels like if left for a while in my nicer fountain pens, it would clog the feed. Which is why I reserve it for just one of my Sailor Pro Gear Slims, suitably made from a matchy matchy resin. To be fair I haven’t discovered any clogging issues, but the weird, rather unpleasant texture of the ink makes me rather cautious. From what I’ve read Shosaikan is a very smooth, upmarket establishment, but the ink is not at all velvety smooth, unlike Seiran.
As to the colour itself, “deep into the forest”, is a fair description, if we are talking about a bamboo forest, which in Japan it probably is. I would describe the colour as olive. On TR paper using my Hard-Fine 14ct Gold Pro Gear Slim, it underwhelms. On TR paper using my humungous and wet Oldwin Classic, it looks unsaturated and messy. The yellowy- green tends more to the yellow, and ends up looking like a much less saturated version of Bungubox Green Tea 88, another unusable ink in my collection.
I can see why Shosaikan chose this particular shade of green for 1 of their only 2 inks. For example on Original Crown Mill laid paper it looks extremely classy (see below). But I don’t tend to do much writing on thick card stock unfortunately, and it would end up costing me quite a lot of money to enjoy the full potential of this ink.
I have heard some people rave about this ink, perhaps those that go in for browns, greens, greys… but it isn’t for me.
However, Shin-zan’s non-identical twin Seiran is another matter entirely…
Swatch showing off that wicked green sheen…
The other Shosaikan ink- Seiran, is a real winner, with a lovely velvety texture a good wetness, very good saturation and a wicked iluminous green sheen.