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Taccia Ukiyo-E Hiroshige Ainezu [Indigo-Tinged Gray]

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Taccia overview:

Taccia is a Taiwanese-American brand started in California, that has been recently been bought by the Nakabayashi company. Nakabayashi is a maker of a long list of home and office products who have, under the Taccia brand, begun making fountain pen inks. All Taccia inks are made in Japan.

There is some speculation as to whether Sailor makes the Taccia inks, but I have found no evidence to prove this. What I can say, according the the information I was able to gather is that at the time when Nakabayashi bought Taccia and wanted to release inks under that brand, they entered into an agreement with Sailor for the purposes of expert ink consultation. A couple of the Taccia standard line bear a striking resemblance to Sailor Jentle/Shikiori inks. Outside and within the standard line, they have a few unique inks. Also, Taccia inks I have tried do not have that "Sailor-made smell" you are all so familiar with.

The Ukiyo-e Ink Series was released overseas in 2019.

In March 2020, a second series of 8 inks was released. These are for Utamara Hiroshige and Kitagawa Utamaro. I saw the release post on the Nagasawa Instagram page and emailed them directly for order. As of this publication, other Japanese bungu retailers have received stocks. They were Y1,600 or USD15 for each 40ml bottle of ink. The below translated names in Japanese and English are credited unchanged to Nagasawa Kobe Stationary store.

Second Series Taccia Ukiyo-e Includes:

歌川広重(Hiroshige Utagawa

1.広重浅縹(Hiroshige asahanada

2.広重瑠璃(Hiroshige Ruri

3.広重中紫(Hiroshige Nakamurasaki

4.広重藍鼠(Hiroshige Ainezu

喜多川歌麿(Utamaro Kitagawa

5.歌麿紅桜(Utamaro Beni Zakura

6.歌麿青紫(Utamaro Aomurasaki

7.歌麿薄墨(Utamaro Usuzumi

8.歌麿梅紫(Utamaro Umemurasaki

I’ve only opened one of the inks so far, and that is Taccia Hiroshige Ainezu. Now let’s get into the review.

Online images are unhelpful. Taccia's own marketing materials do not give a fair representation of any of the inks I've tried. I would have sworn, from seeing their images and sample writing, that Ainezu was going to be a blue-black ink. I was way off.

Ink bottle opening will fit large nibs comfortably, they are 40ml glass bottles with metal caps. The packaging is lovely, and far larger than the bottle needs in space to fit, which is nice, as this means the box artwork is easier to admire.

Packaging & Bottle

Ainezu Packaging.jpeg

Each bottle comes packaged with a sturdy card. I've included both series below.


The good stuff.

Tomoe River Paper 52gsm White


This is a gray ink, through and through.

What I am able to cypher from the Kanji is that Ainezu means indigo-tinged gray.

The kanji: 藍鼠

藍 ai / indigo 鼠 nezu / dark gray

Ink Characteristics

1. Well-behaved

2. No feathering

3. No bleed-through

4. Acceptably wet

5. Smooth flowing, not gushing

6. Good shading in right pen [light to dark gray]

7. Easy cleaning with a few flushes

8. No staining discovered

9. Unexpected water resistance

Other Ink properties you might find interesting is the ink goes on as a super-dark gray, almost black. It lightens as it dries which makes writing easy on the eyes. This is the opposite effect of Montblanc Spider Web Grey, which goes on nearly invisible when wet and dries darker. I prefer the former over the latter.

As for the sheen, it is seen in the borders between light and dark, and is red and coppery. It does not overwhelm. The ink also looks quite light or dark depending on the paper and pen used. The shading also varies greatly under these conditions.

Rhodia Dotpad


Life Bank Paper


Mead notebook paper / college ruled


There is barely any feathering, which is quite good considering the wetness of the pen (and the terrible quality of the paper). It only shows up on close inspection. Even in this image it is difficult to spot.

Water drop test Rhodia


Water drown and dab test Rhodia


Rubbed in and swirled. Pretty good. Both water tests left for 2+ minutes. Ink also dry for 2 minutes.

Dry times


Pretty average.

Comparison Tomoe River Paper 52gsm Cream

Ainezu Comparison Tomoe rp cream 2.jpeg

That's it! I do believe that we should receive this second set at some point, as we have had everything except for the special editions and the jeans ink available outside of Japan.

Finally, of the newer ink manufacturers, Taccia is definitely a personal favorite. And I've been on a gray ink kick, so this was a welcome surprise. To be honest, I would't have really minded if it was another blue-black. I like those too.

And that's the end of my first review. Hope you enjoyed this. I may do the remainder once I’ve tried them and if this was helpful to anyone.

Happy inking and thank you for your time.

Edited by SashK
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Very nice look at this ink and discussion of the lineup. Over a year ago in Japan I bought a Nakabayashi ink at Itoya made by Sailor called Tetsukon. Can find a review on FPN. Great ink. The packaging for the Tetsukon ink is nearly identical to the Taccia Hokusai. Might be confusing if they still sell Tetsukon.

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Thanks for this excellent review! Looks like I'm going to have to find a retailer and add this to my wishlist - it's exactly my shade. :)

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Jandrese! I just saw your review. Yes that's surely Sailor packaging and bottle. They don't sell that ink outside of Japan. And speaking of confusing, the ukiyo-e ink series that has that artwork is for a red-brown ink, so not close to the color you bought. It would be nice if they just told us who was making the Taccia inks. Sometimes I'm sure it's Sailor, then I'm not so sure what the exact arrangement is or was. I might just drop them an email and see if they can clear this up.




Thank you LizEF! Very kind of you to say. I think you'll enjoy this ink.

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I have the Hokusai inks from the first series. Glad they are making other interesting inks. Too bad I don't like gray inks, even though this one seems to lean blue a bit. Can't wait to see what the others look like.


Anderson has the first set, so I expect they'll have the second set in due course.

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Hmmm. I'm going to maybe have to look for this ink. Not thrilled about the slowish dry time, but I like the color (it appears to still be legible even though it's a lighter grey) and that it seems to have at least a little water resistance.

Thanks for the review. And maybe not....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Thank you for such detailed review. For some reason the first image I saw reminded me of Sailor studio 123.....

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Great review, thank you! And what a lovely grey colour - I like it a lot. If you have other inks from this series, please show them to us. One thing I absolutely love about FPN is that in this one forum you get to know lots of never-heard-from-before inks. And that is absolutely fantastic.

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I will do my best to post a review of the remaining set. I also am pretty sure I first learned about Taccia inks through FPN.


The ink off the page has a little more oomph and character than what been shown here.


I guess what I'm saying is it's even better firsthand :)

Edited by SashK
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Thanks! Or maybe not X2.


Gee, and I didn't think I needed another ink...is it time to move off blue-black to grey? It's definitely time to put your review into a file I'm keeping called "ink wishes"!

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Looks like a beautiful ink. Very comprehensive review and presents the ink from different angles. I didn't know about it, but now I might pick up a bottle! Thank you for the introduction and the review.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Sure! I think you'll find it a worthy companion to blue-black inks. I use them, but it bothers me that they lose the blue component on cream paper, then I'm kinda not sure what I'm looking at. Is it now a strange, undefinable gray? Grays don't have this problem, they just become more gray.


@everyone! I'm currently working on Asahanada, but I'm taking requests on the next ink in this series because I have decision paralysis on which one to go for. :)

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Thank you! Great review, very nice looking ink, depending on the paper and on my screen, it seems to look like Takeda Jimuki Kyo No Oto Hisoku, on others mixed with Aonibi, which I really like; these do seem to have one physical property that sets them apart from my other inks, in that a newly filled pen will feel like the nib touches paper with no intermediation of ink, after a little while these inks seem to populate the feed and nib and you finally get the feel of a micro pillow of ink, although Aonibu never got along with a Waterman Carène; perhaps it would be called lubrication.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


B. Russell

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I have had Aonibi on my list for some time now, it is going to happen. I think Ainezu is less blue from what I've seen. I need me a Tekeda ink!

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Anybody have insight on when this series of ink will become available in North America? Love the inks from the first 8 so far!

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