Ink Review: Nagasawa Kobe Sannomiya

Review by Tina Koyama

I had never heard of Nagasawa, a stationery store in Kobe, Japan, but when I saw the bottle design for the Nagasawa Pen Style Inks on JetPens, I instantly thought, “Sailor.” Sure enough, the inks were developed by Sailor (one of Japan’s “top three” fountain pen manufacturers, along with Pilot and Platinum), and as a devotee of everything Sailor, I had to try some.

Choosing among the Nagasawa line’s 26 colors took lengthy hemming and hawing, but I managed to make relatively objective choices based on what was missing from my Sailor Shikiori collection (formerly called the Jentle line, which came in bottles that look identical to Nagasawa bottles but nothing like the current Shikiori bottles. Got that?).

While we’re talking about bottles, I noticed that the Nagasawa inks do not come with the little basket thingie inside the neck that is supposed to make it easier to fill certain pens. I always syringe-fill my pens and always have, so I don’t miss the basket thingie, which just gets in the way.

Now, on to today’s ink. Sannomiya, which means “panse” (that’s how it’s spelled on the box label, but I assume it’s the flower pansy), is a bright, cheerful violet. The closest hues I found in my collection are Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu (slightly cooler), Sailor Jentle Shigure (much darker and cooler) and Diamine Majestic Purple (warmer). I filled one of my broadest-nibbed pens with Sannomiya, and I love the rich hue.

One reason I favor Sailor inks is that they are fast-drying (essential for this lefty), and the Nagasawa inks follow suit. I didn’t test for specific drying times, but writing relatively carefully, I didn’t smudge the page written on Tomoe River paper. (Mind you, I was writing this sample more slowly than I normally do, but I’ve also been writing with it in my Leuchtturm 1917 journal at my normal pace, and I’ve smudged only a couple of times – not bad at all, for me.)

Unlike most fountain pen users, who probably prefer their inks to be more waterproof than water-soluble, I look for inks that make an interesting smear when washed lightly with water because I enjoy sketching with fountain pens, too, and using the wash for shading. This is another reason I favor Sailor’s formula – the washes are often surprising and complex. I see hints of both pink and blue in Sannomiya – the wash is not just a diluted version of the full-strength ink. (However, you’ll see in another ink I review later that not all Kobe inks are as complex.)

Sannomiya is a lovely purple that I enjoy both writing and sketching with.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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