I knew the moment that I bought a Danitrio Densho I had to own a bigger Danitrio. There were only two choices larger than the Densho, the Mikado (Emperor) or the Genkai (Limit). Being a man of modest means it had to be the right decision. Should it be a Danitrio or should I look towards my ultimate dream in the form of a Nakaya? The news about Nakaya after sales was not always great, whereas I have only read good things of Kevin’s (Winedoc) service. In the end I decided that the Genkai might be a step too far. A pen that you could attach a mop head to and it wouldn’t look out of place! I have to say that there is little difference in the price between Genkai and Mikado, whereas the jump from Densho to Mikado in price terms is a heady one. The thought of a Tame-nuri Mikado was quickly put on the back burner when I realised the price. I started to worry about the possibility of damage if I was ever clumsy with it. I haven’t entirely ruled one out, but spending that sort of money is not something that I do easily. So the order went in for a raw ebonite Mikado ED with a medium nib and a clip. I can’t imagine having pockets deep enough to accommodate this pen, but it has the dual purpose of stopping the pen rolling off the desk and as a clip. I am not sure if I am ready for a pen pillow yet! It took just over two weeks from placing the order, after endless questions (sorry Kevin!) to it arriving in a USPS box in Shetland. Inside the USPS box was some packaging material, instructions and a matte black cardboard bo with DANITRIO written in the corner in gold. I opened the box and inside, carefully wrapped in packaging material was a beautiful glossy box, black with DANITRIO written in gold again. Opening the box you are presented with the Danitrio Mikado, an eye dropper and a cleaning cloth. The box itself is a work of art with a magnetic catch and brass hinges. Pelikan, amongst others, could learn a lot from Danitrio when it comes to the presentation of their higher range pens. This really is how it should be.
My raw ebonite Densho had been polished so I was keen to have a matte black Mikado as a contrast. Although the polished versions are more likely to show up damage, they are not a fragile pen by any stretch of the imagination. The Mikado is not a great deal longer than the Densho but there is a huge difference in girth, the Mikado being so much larger. You can see light machining marks on the matte Mikado, which are obviously not there on the polished Densho. I think that the polished pen is marginally more attractive in my opinion. The clip is silver coloured and requires a tug to pull it out. I can't see it being clipped onto anything too often.
The Mikado lies between the Genkai and the Densho in terms of size. I have a preference for large pens with a reasonable amount of heft, but there is no way that the Densho could be described as heavy so I felt safe ordering the Mikado. Other than the girth, the design is much the same as the Densho. The Mikado is a large thick pen, almost as thick as many marker pens, but to me it isn’t heavy. If you are happy with pens like the Pelikan 200 then this would be much heavier and may not suit. The pen weighs 43.8 grammes with some ink in it. I know that I should have weighed it empty, but I got carried away in my excitement to try it out.
A Densho and Mikado compared - Densho in the foreground
Two Pelikan 20x pens in comparison to a Mikado
I ordered the soft medium nib. I wanted a stub, but the only one available was a broad and I wanted to try out a medium stub. I didn’t want to spend any more on the pen so I stuck with the plain medium rather than getting the nib modified. I already knew from my experience with the Densho that the valve positioning, paper and type of ink made all the difference. I had found that one and a half turns was fine for Mont Blanc black, but with Pelikan 4001 black the valve needed to be opened another quarter turn. I filled the Mikado with Mont Blanc black after washing the residue of blue ink that Kevin had tested the pen for me with. The nib is broad for a medium, and I would say that it is a broad in reality. The nib is a huge size, the biggest nib that I have so far, but it fits in perfectly with the scale of the pen. It has a wonderful and “unique” design.
Sailor 1911 (Large), Pelikan 200 and Mikado nibs compared
ED (eye dropper) filling system. In the case of this pen it should be ear dropper, it holds so much. The Densho had impressed me with its capacious ink chamber and this pen is even bigger. A real writer’s pen. The flow is controlled by a valve in the pen using a knob at the back of the pen much like the knob on a Pelikan. It takes a while to get used to it as the nib is very juicy once it gets going. This is one of the reasons that I chose a medium nib after the broad on the Densho.
Sailor Sapporo Mini uses cartridges. Danitrio Mikado uses eye dropper. Who will be refilling more often!?
Cost and Value
At close to $300 shipped I couldn’t call this a cheap pen, but looking back on the prices that were being banded about on FPN in 2005 it would seem to be a good investment! I have already mentioned the jump in price from Densho to Mikado. If you can get your hands on the pens you could better judge which represents the best value.
I really didn’t NEED to buy this pen. If you have a Densho it should be enough, but I can’t help myself at times. There is something about whipping out a pen this size at a meeting when those around you are using pens that are supposed to impress because of their names. Not one other person in the room is likely to have heard of Danitrio. The only person in the room who has a pen this big with be the person at the front with the flip chart pens. The acid test for me is whether I would buy another if I lost the pen under review. It’s a hard one to answer because I already have the Densho. The Densho is a perfectly adequate pen and if you have one then another raw ebonite pen might be unnecessary for those of us who buy pens to write with rather than to collect. The Mikado is a stunning pen, but if it had not have been for the fact that my contract at work was ending with no replacement employment on the horizon I would have bought the tame-nuri version. What owning the Mikado has made me realise is that the pen that I yearned for, the Nakaya long writer model, may be narrower than I enjoy using and my sights may turn back to Danitrio for an urushi pen.
Edited by AndyHayes, 14 October 2007 - 16:21.