Ink Review: Kuretake Ink-Cafe Meiji no Iro Araishu and Shikon

What? Another new ink line? Several new ink manufacturers seem to have appeared recently, although, like today’s example, most have been in business for many years. Kuretake isn’t new to the pen world or to ink, but their Ink-cafe line is new to the market.

I chose to review two inks in the Ink-cafe line – #536 Shikon is the first. This is a deep blue-purple ink, very saturated, and it sheens a bright gold on most paper types. As you can see in the photo above, I had a bit of trouble with the ink rubbing off the swatch and onto the rest of the card. This wasn’t actual smearing, but it is something that can happen with heavily saturated inks. I did not have the same issue writing on the paper samples.

Only a touch of the sheen shows up with Kuretake Ink-cafe #536 Shikon on Midori MD paper:

The gold sheen shows a bit of green with Kuretake Ink-cafe #536 Shikon on Tomoe River 52gsm (TR7) paper:

The sheen is fairly metallic with Kuretake Ink-cafe #536 Shikon on Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:

The second ink I chose from the Ink-cafe line is a bright red #532 Araishu. This is a vivid red with slight orange undertones – not quite as bright as Monteverde Strawberry Shortcake.

Kuretake Ink-cafe #532 Araishu on Midori MD paper:

I was surprised at how much of the orange undertones showed up with Kuretake Ink-cafe #532 Araishu on Tomoe River 52gsm (TR7) paper:

A faint silver sheen can be sheen with Kuretake Ink-cafe #532 Araishu on Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:


I was able to pick up a sample of each of these inks from St. Louis Art Supply – a store that is new to me! The samples are quite small – only 1.5mL – but cost on $2.50 each. Dip pen nibs, Kakimori nibs, and glass nibs (most) all fit into the tiny sample vials, but I don’t know of many fountain pens that would be able to draw from them.

The ink is priced at $17.95 for a 20mL bottle – $0.90 per mL. This may be a bit steep for a new ink line, but I am interested to try the remaining colors. I do love how bright Araishu is without blinding me.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were purchased by me. Please see the About page for more details.


Written by

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. I just acquired Mahogany Brown from a friend! I can’t wait to try it out in my 80year old Parker Vac. I’m bold, I know.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.