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Pilot-namiki 88th Anniversary "nioh" Limited Edition


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25 replies to this topic

#1 Shinchan

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 16:19

Review of Pilot-Namiki 88th Anniversary "Nioh" Limited Edition - Broad Nib

2006 marks the 88th anniversary of Pilot Corporation, which is an important milestone in Japanese tradition. 88, when written in kanji characters 八(eight), 十(ten), 八 (eight) resemble the character for rice (yone, also read as bei),while 寿 means birthday, hence the coined "Beiju" 米寿. From the very beginning of Japanese history, rice was respected by the people, for it was their food, their very livelihood and their source of happiness. An integral and fundamental part of Japanese society, rice symbolized purity and goodness. Thus the 88th birthday is a happy and joyous occasion which calls for special celebrations.

Pilot pioneered the nib pellet manufacturing technique in Japan in 1918. At the same time in this country, raw iridium was still being used. This innovation led to the acceptance of the quality of Pilot pens world wide. After the collaboration with the Alfred Dunhill Company of London, producing Dunhill-Namiki Maki-e pens, Pilot's reputation grew even further. Today, these Maki-e pens are some of the most highly prized and sought after pens in the world. To commemorate this occasion, Pilot had commissioned a specially-designed, limited edition run of fountain pens that feature the delicate tradition of Maki-e craftsmanship.Thus, the special Limited Edition Fountain pens with the motif of “Shishi- Komainu” (Guardian dogs– 88 pieces) and “Nioh” (Guardian gods – 880 pieces) were launched. These are both pairs of mythical entities that have become deeply rooted in the Japanese culture and loved by all as trusted guardians, talismans against evil, and means of purification. This concept is intertwined with the Oriental belief that the pair of numbers “88” signifies increasing prosperity and well-being. The Kokkokai artisans created these commemorative fountain pens by drawing on its traditional Maki-e craftsmanship handed down over the 80 years of its existence.

First Impressions :- (10/10)

The presentation box is elegant, yet very traditional. Made of clear straight grain softwood, possibly Douglas Fir, this box is embellished with Japanese master calligraphy and tied in a traditional way. From that alone I can tell that a lot of consideration went into the design of the packaging. No details were spared, everything was so intricate.

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It was a sight to behold when I lifted the top cover of the box for the first time. I was lost for words as I tried to relate to the masterpiece which greeted me, tucked snugly in the interior of the box. The box interior carries a bottle of ink, and a wooden certificate showing the edition number. Mine came with a serial # of 047/880.

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Appearance & Design :- (10/10)

The form of Buddhism that entered Japan merged with the ancient gods of Japan, and a harmonious synthesis of Buddhism and Shinto evolved. “Komainu” and “Nioh” are cultural concepts that originated overseas, but over many centuries they have become deeply enrooted in the culture of Japan and familiar entities to the Japanese people. A pair of “Nioh” guardian god statues stands at the Great South Gate of the Todaiji Temple in Nara. In the past, pairs of “Komainu” and/or “Nioh” guardian god statues were placed at both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples without distinction. However, in 1869 the Edict for Separation of Shinto and Buddhism required that “Komainu” should only be located at Shrines and “Nioh” gods only at Temples.

"Nioh" or Benevolent Kings 仁王 , also known as Vajradhara in Sanskrit, are the two forms of Taishaku Ten, and are said to be the two Buddhist guardian deities (Kongohjin; Kongoh = strong, Jin = god), also to be known as "Kongoh Rikishi". Their figures can be seen at Japanese temples, standing guard at the two sides of the temple gates. Both the featured "Nioh" guardians have strong builds, fearsome facial expressions to instil fear, and each hold a strong wooden pestle in their hands.

The "Nioh" god on the cap (shown with his mouth open) is known as Misshaku Kongoh, opening his mouth widely to exhale, expressing the sound “Ah”. He is also known as the mark of justice.This breath signifies the beginning of all things.

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The “Nioh” on the barrel (shown with mouth closed) is known as Nara-en Kongoh, closing his mouth to inhale, expressing the sound "Un". He is also known as the mark of knowledge. This closed mouth sound signifies the end of all things.

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These two sounds, when put together, signify the beginning and end of all things (Alpha and Omega). In Japan, this is known as Ah-Un breathing, which means "instant anticipation of another's intentions", an expression of empathy. In a larger sense, they represent everything that happens between the beginning and the end, a full life. This depiction of the Nioh figures, standing upright, strong and vigorous, on a gold dust earth, places them in a land and sky scape with traditional foliage and cloud elements. Flecks of gold, bronze and other pigments are applied in traditional Urushi technique, resulting in an dazzling effect that transcends both space and time. Note the real life-like effects produced by the raised burnished surfaces from the Urushi lacquering on the Nioh Guardians.

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The pen style, known as flat-top, dates from before the 1930's. This shape was probably inspired by influential pen makers' Parker’s Duofold Series' and Sheaffer's Lifetime series’ flat-tops of the post World War I era. Coincidentally, this flat-top pen style was also used for both Pilot’s 85th Anniversary Limited Edition "Hiten" as well as the 70th Anniversary pen.

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As with all limited edition Maki-e fountain pens, the artist's signature can be found on the pen.

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The artist's signature is also engraved on the box as well.

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Weight & Dimensions :- (10/10)

Weighing 37.5 grams and at 5 1/2" long, this is a full-sized fountain pen with a good heft. This is a bonus for me since I have large hands and I prefer my pens heavy rather than light.

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Nib & Performance :- (7.5/10)

The nib is an 18K gold plated monotone Broad. The 88th anniversary wordings were intricately engraved on the nib’s surface. Design-wise, this nib pales in comparison with the regular Montblanc Meisterstück 146 or Sailor 1911/PG nib. However, this anniversary nib exhibited a good amount of flex and was glass smooth, though it writes more like a medium. Very typical of Japanese nibs.

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Filling System :- (7/10)

Any pen that does not come equipped with a piston filler will not get full points from me in this department. This pen uses the CC filling system, and the pen comes equipped with the all black Push Button type CON-70 converter. The black CON-70 converter doesn’t seem like the standard issue, since the versions available for sale on the web have a silver base. This is the 1st time I get to handle a Push Button type converter, which is going to make the ink filling experience all the more interesting.

Cost & Value :- (10/10)

I bought this L.E from a private collector at a steep discount to the MSRP. This pen has an excellent quality build rivaling Montblanc and S.T. Dupont and carries a beautiful Maki-e theme featuring the life-like Nioh guardians. Yes, this Maki-e themed pen offers tremendous value for money for the price I paid.

Conclusion :- (10/10)

This is an excellent, beautiful and well made pen. Maki-e pens have always captivated me, and I hope to add more beautiful creations like this into my personal collection.

Edited by Shinchan, 19 October 2009 - 16:29.

“其疾如風, 其徐如林, 侵掠如火, 不動如山“

"Move as swift as a wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, unwavered like a mountain."



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#2 Siv

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 16:34

Excellent review and photos.

I don't know what impresses me more - your pen or the fact that you added more than 5 photos to the post :)
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#3 ParkerBeta

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 16:49

This has to be one of the most erudite reviews I've ever seen of a fountain pen. You've effectively used the pen to tell us so much about Japanese culture and tradition. Wonderful pen, and a superlative review!!
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#4 dandelion

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 17:00

Thanks for a very interesting and thorough review and great photos.
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#5 Shinchan

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 17:11

Excellent review and photos.

I don't know what impresses me more - your pen or the fact that you added more than 5 photos to the post :)


The restriction of 5 photos per post is no longer there, else I will need multiple posts :)

This has to be one of the most erudite reviews I've ever seen of a fountain pen. You've effectively used the pen to tell us so much about Japanese culture and tradition. Wonderful pen, and a superlative review!!


Thanks for your kind words, but it's hardly an erudite review. It's just bits and pieces of information found from the web which I had cobbled together for a readable review. Am glad you enjoyed the review!
“其疾如風, 其徐如林, 侵掠如火, 不動如山“

"Move as swift as a wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, unwavered like a mountain."



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#6 italiansallion

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 17:39

you are so lucky!!!!!!!!!

#7 dandelion

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 17:58

Excellent review and photos.

I don't know what impresses me more - your pen or the fact that you added more than 5 photos to the post :)


The restriction of 5 photos per post is no longer there, else I will need multiple posts :)

This has to be one of the most erudite reviews I've ever seen of a fountain pen. You've effectively used the pen to tell us so much about Japanese culture and tradition. Wonderful pen, and a superlative review!!


Thanks for your kind words, but it's hardly an erudite review. It's just bits and pieces of information found from the web which I had cobbled together for a readable review. Am glad you enjoyed the review!


Do not underestimate yourself! Even researching and compilation demand a lot of work!

Edited by dandelion, 19 October 2009 - 17:58.

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#8 rhk

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 19:05

What a great review! Now, i look differently at my Nioh pen! Ruud

#9 Brian

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 22:48

Bravo Shinchan. An excellent and well done review. Pilot/Namiki has produced many torpedo urushi pens, but precious few are flat tops. I like the subject matter and it is easy to see how one can get lost in the high artisanship exhibited by this piece.

#10 MYU

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:11

Shinchan, your presentation of the pen is superb! I like your progression from the box to the unveiling of the pen and its artistry. Very nice photos, too. You picked excellent compositions, angles, and lighting. Although I'm not much into the traditional maki-e designs (highly ornate drawings of people and dragons, etc), I find this pen quite attractive. The polished gold edge the cap is a really nice touch (something I'm going to include on a future custom pen, once I have the funds to order!).

I do agree that with pens of this caliber, there should be at least a piston filler mechanism or an eyedropper design. However, the CON-70 is probably the best converter on the market, working perfectly and holding an above average quantity of ink.

How does this nib compare to a Pilot #15 or #10 nib? I find the #15 to be a phenomenal nib, right up there with pens costing much more.

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#11 greencobra

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:45

Beautiful review, honestly a pleasure to read. And the pen, what can I say...breathtaking.
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#12 Shinchan

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:51

Do not underestimate yourself! Even researching and compilation demand a lot of work!


Hi dandelion, very true indeed! There's a lot of clutter available on the web and it took me quite a while to decide what was relevant to "pen" the review without digressing. But that's nothing compared to the time I spent taking the photo shots and selecting the ones to post. I took some 80 shots in total!

What a great review! Now, i look differently at my Nioh pen! Ruud


Hi Ruud, enjoy your Nioh pen in good health!

Bravo Shinchan. An excellent and well done review. Pilot/Namiki has produced many torpedo urushi pens, but precious few are flat tops. I like the subject matter and it is easy to see how one can get lost in the high artisanship exhibited by this piece.


Hi Brian, Maki-e pieces are always enthralling regardless of their themes, aren't they? :)

Shinchan, your presentation of the pen is superb! I like your progression from the box to the unveiling of the pen and its artistry. Very nice photos, too. You picked excellent compositions, angles, and lighting. Although I'm not much into the traditional maki-e designs (highly ornate drawings of people and dragons, etc), I find this pen quite attractive. The polished gold edge the cap is a really nice touch (something I'm going to include on a future custom pen, once I have the funds to order!).

I do agree that with pens of this caliber, there should be at least a piston filler mechanism or an eyedropper design. However, the CON-70 is probably the best converter on the market, working perfectly and holding an above average quantity of ink.

How does this nib compare to a Pilot #15 or #10 nib? I find the #15 to be a phenomenal nib, right up there with pens costing much more.


Hi MYU, sad to say I am very much an amateur when it comes to photography skills. However, this is another interest which I would very much like to pursue so that I can take better photo shots of my beloved FPs. This is my 2nd Pilot after the VP which I got earlier, so I am not able to comment on the nib comparison. Can try asking me about Sailor nibs though ;)

Beautiful review, honestly a pleasure to read. And the pen, what can I say...breathtaking.


Yeah, breathtaking is the word to describe this pen. I first saw this pen on display in Aesthetic Bay, a pretty well known pen retailer in Singapore, and was really impressed with the intricate maki-e artistry. Alas, the lofty price tag of the pen jolted me back to reality. Though I got this pen at a great price, it still costed me dearly. But it was really worth it.
“其疾如風, 其徐如林, 侵掠如火, 不動如山“

"Move as swift as a wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, unwavered like a mountain."



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#13 rokurinpapa

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 17:27

Excellent review and beautiful photos!I think your review of Pilot anniversary pen is a great contribution to FPN.
I will also post the review of Pilot65th next in the near future. By the way, how do you like Pilot90th?

rokurinpapa



#14 alvarez57

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 05:33

Bravo!

Very good review and pretty well researched. I love to see some history with the pen, whenever possible. The photographs are very good so as the sequence.

Althought the maki-e in this pen is not what I personally like, it is still very well executed and the colors are beautiful.
you do have a special pen there and again, thanks for a very informative and different review. ;)

Edited by alvarez57, 21 October 2009 - 05:34.

sonia alvarez

 

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#15 Shinchan

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 15:08

Excellent review and beautiful photos!I think your review of Pilot anniversary pen is a great contribution to FPN.
I will also post the review of Pilot65th next in the near future. By the way, how do you like Pilot90th?

rokurinpapa


The Pilot 90th Toki Raden LE looks fine, but just doesn't attract me enough.

Bravo!

Very good review and pretty well researched. I love to see some history with the pen, whenever possible. The photographs are very good so as the sequence.

Althought the maki-e in this pen is not what I personally like, it is still very well executed and the colors are beautiful.
you do have a special pen there and again, thanks for a very informative and different review. ;)


Thanks for your kind words. Will try to make it a point to do sufficient research before posting any pen reviews going forward.
“其疾如風, 其徐如林, 侵掠如火, 不動如山“

"Move as swift as a wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, unwavered like a mountain."



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#16 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 14:26

very unusual and nice pilot :)
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#17 breaker

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 17:53

very nice review
fantastic pen!
Cogito ergo sum

#18 nicholasyeo

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 18:52

Incredible photographs and review. Just stunning!

#19 Ipno Tizer

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 19:58

So come on then, Sinchan, how much would one of these set me back if I wanted one?

Chris B.

#20 mbosaz

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 06:57

Amazing Review. Thanks for sharing. 

 

I read a couple of things about this pen that I would like to ask you:

 

- Is the painting 100% hand made? An artist make 880 pieces? There should be some expected differences from piece to piece then.

- I read body is brass??

 

If this pen had raiden and gold inlay it will be my perfect pen...








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