This is the Danitrio Hyotan special edition maki-e F-49 Blue Dragon LE. Hyotan refers to the water gourd and the pen clearly mimics the Calabash shape. Due to its curvaceous nature the Hyotan has been dubbed the “Mae West”. One might think the pen awkward to grip but that is not so, it settles nicely in the hand and is a good writer. Lots of pens write well though. The standout feature of this pen is clearly the large, detailed maki-e dragon and it’s a beauty. Normally, this dragon is featured on larger pens like the Mikado and Genkai along with a more involved maki-e design. This pen brings the central figure down to a more accessible price point. Relatively accessible that is.
Dragons are common features of traditional Japanese (and Chinese etc.) artwork. Sometimes it is said that the number of toes or the horns has some meaning, and this may be so here, but for the most part one cannot distinguish Japanese and Chinese dragons by these features. Japanese dragons are often water dragons but can exist in the clouds. Unlike Chinese dragons, Japanese dragons can be good or bad. Chinese dragons are basically benevolent. I really wish I knew the back story on this dragon; there is definitely a story here, something cultured and cultural. Regardless, the multifold maki-e techniques are a joy to study and the sophisticated artistic sensibility is moving. It really is an impressive piece of work.
For Danitrio this is a medium sized pen but fully qualifies as large. Since the base is ebonite it’s not heavy. I reckon one could force the pen to post but that would be foolish. Posting would eventually disfigure the maki-e finish and that would be a tragedy. The 18k #6 nib is supplied by a plastic feed and a cartridge converter. These Buddhist flame style nibs are a bit soft sometimes bordering on springy. This one is a little bit soft and while it writes a nice consistent line it tends to make some noise, kind of like a squeaky sound. Odd but not off putting.
The artist is Yuji Ohkado and this is the only pen I have from him. I’d say it’s a pretty good start ha ha!