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Four times black urushi


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Japanese pens are known for their nibs, and their lacquered finishes. In this review, I consider four modern pens, that have the same finish: black urushi. That is also where all similarities end.


Sailor King of Pens


Sailor introduced this pen two years ago. The first version, though, had two gold bands on the cap, making it rather similar to a Montblanc 149. Too similar, and the KoP had to be redesigned. To the credit of Sailor, this newer version is much better. The KoP is offered in different finishes, I have one finished in black roiro (ie, shiny) urushi. The shine is hard to caputer in pictures, but it is there! It is derived by polishing the urushi surface. The pen is large: 153mm length and its diameter at the cap is 16mm. The pen uses a cartridge or a convertor.






The nib is a two tone nib, medium in my case. It seems that this version of KoP is not offered with any other nibs than M or B. In any case, this medium nib is great. I have never driven in a Rolls Royce, but this is how smooth I would expect such a drive to be. The nib is a bit of a wet writer.

Despite its size, ht epen is not heavy: 38gr. This low weight must be due to the ebonite body. Finally, I should mention the rubber ring in the metal thread used to screw the barrel on the section. Should a cartridge or a convertor leak, the outside of the pen and the owners shirt should not be affected.


Namiki Yukari Royale


This pen is clearly different from the other three: it is heavier at 42gr, due to the base material. The barrel and section are made from brass. This pen is the same as the canvas used for the well-known maki-e pens. The length of the pen is 149mm and the diameter 14mm. The edge of the cap is a goldplated ring, so that the lacquer can't chip at the edge. My pen is equipped with a two-tone medium nib, that has a generous ink flow. The pen is a c/c filler and comes with a large capacity con-70 button convertor. The lacquer is truly flawless. So as not to disturb the flow of the lacquer on the cap, the clip is attached without the small seam that is seen on most pens.


Danitrio Takumi


The Danitrio pen is the smallest of the four at 148mm. This is a Takumi sized pen, so it is a c/c filler. Danitrio offers other sizes in black urushi as well. One feature that stands out once the pen is uncapped, is the signature and the red seal of the artist who lacquered the pen. It turns out to be the signature from mr. Koichiro Okazaki, who also laqceuered the Hellier pen offered by Kevin Cheng.






The pen has a two-tone stub nib. Not the flexible stub nib, but a regular stub nib. I was afraid a flexible stub nib would generate too mich ink for my somewhat small handwriting. Just like the Namiki pen, the clip is attached in the cap, no seam is visible.


Nakaya writer, portable size


The last pen in this review is my Nakaya writer model, portable size. It is finished in flwaless black shiny urushi. This pen is the lightest of all: it weighs only 24gr. Unique to this pen is the continuity where the cap meets the barrel.






In the other three cases, the diameter of the cap is larger than the diameter of the barrel where the cap meets the barrel. In other words: the cap is thicker than the barrel. Not on Nakaya pens: when the pen is capped, it is one continuous torpedo-shaped pen. This enables Nakaya use the whole pen as a canvas for maki-e, designs don't have to be pannelled on a cap and a barrel. This also makes the cigar models so beautiful: no discontinuity in form. One feature that I like very much is the small edge at the end of the section. This clearly imrpoves the grip when writing. The pen has a two-tone, flexible medium nib. The flexibility allows the user to vary the width of the line while writing.


Below are two pictures of all four pens.



From top to bottom: Sailor KoP, Namiki Yukari Royale Urushi, Nakaya writer, and Danitrio Takumi.



From left to right: Sailor KoP, Danitrio Takumi, Namiki Yukari Royale Urushi, and Nakaya writer.

Edited by MYU
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Rhk, Great info! Thanks.

You have a nice black quartet over there. I knew about Dani's Takumi, Sailor KOP and Nakaya writer... but your photos show the elusive Namiki Yukari Royale. I did not know about its size, but I imagined it was going to be bigger than Takumi... and I see that it isn't!

Once more I see that Danitrio (Urushi done on most by mr. Kogaku) and Nakaya are great Urushi values...

Thanks for sharing...


The Danitrio Fellowship

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Very informative comparison of four approaches to creating the classic black urushi pen. Of these pens I have only the Namiki Yukari Royale and the Danitrio Takumi, but in polished black hard rubber. I wonder, of these four pens which you would consider the best example of its kind (the classic black urushi fountain pen)?


Thanks again for a great review and comparison.

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Thanks for the nice description and very nice photos of these pens. Your photos are so good that I won't need to actually buy any of these pens in order to know them.

You've saved my hundreds of dollars...

Thank you, thank you, thank you :roflmho:

None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try.

- Mark Twain

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I wonder, of these four pens which you would consider the best example of its kind (the classic black urushi fountain pen)?


It depends on the purpose. For general writing (notes, math) I prefer the Nakaya. The Danitrio is filled with something else than blue or black, so that I can use it as a highlighter (Visconti sepia at the moment). The Sailor and the Namiki are best used for writing grander things: a letter, signatures, text for a paper. They all have their turn and come with me to the university. Ruud

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Beautiful pens Rudd, and a wonderful comparative review. I am going back at the photos to try to pick which one is my favorite but it is really hard to pick one. Leaning towards the Nakaya and the Sailor.



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Very nice comparison - thank you!


What is worth noting is that the two hand made pens Nakaya and Danitrio are the cheapest whereas the Sailor and Pilot are much more expensive... I say hand made for the Nakaya and Dani because I know that they are - does anyone know if the KOP and Yukari are also hand made?


Another thing I found interesting is the weight. I note you say that the Nakaya is the lightest and the Yukari is the heaviest - what about the other two? Similar to the Nakaya or in the middle?


Danitrio Fellow, Nakaya Nutter, Sailor Sailor (ret), Visconti Venerator, Montegrappa Molester (in training), ConwayStewart Champion & Diplomat #77

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Those are great!

Fool: One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth.

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Delicious collection, Rudd! Very nice photography as well. So, the burning question: Which is your favorite?


Thanks for providing dimension information on some of the models. Could you fill in the rest?


Sailor: 153mm length and its diameter at the cap is 16mm, weight 38gr

Namiki: 149mm and the diameter 14mm, weight 42gr

Danitrio: 148mm length, weight ?gr

Nakaya: ?mm length, weight 24gr


FWIW, here's a Nakaya comparative photo. The Portable Writer is the 3rd from the top:


(Writer is with a clip, Cigar is without a clip)

  1. Writer model long size
  2. Cigar model long size
  3. Writer model portable size
  4. Cigar model portable size
  5. Decapod Writer model
  6. Decapod Cigar model
  7. Piccolo Writer model
  8. Piccolo Cigar model
Edited by MYU

[MYU's Pen Review Corner] | "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small

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Delicious collection, Rudd! Very nice photography as well. So, the burning question: Which is your favorite?


Thanks for providing dimension information on some of the models. Could you fill in the rest?


I have done full measurements:


total weight/pen weight/cap weight (gr) diameter cap/diameter barrel/diameter section (mm) length (mm)


Nakaya 24/16/8 15/15/11 151

Danitrio 28/18/10 18/16/13 148

Sailor 36/24/12 18/15/13 153

Namiki 44/26/18 16/14/12 149


These may deviate a bit from the once posted earlier: my weighing scale has limited precision, and I don't want to damage the lacquer by measuring thickness too precise.



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Very useful review, thanks! Visually, I like your Namiki the best, because I prefer their old-style ball clips to the thicker straight clips of the other pens.


My only true urushi pens are my two Nakayas: the piccolo and the decapod, both clipless. I also have a Danitrio Takumi in raw ebonite and 4 screen-printed maki-e pens from Sailor, Namiki and Platinum. I wrote a maki-e comparison review of these some time ago, which goes nicely with your urushi comparison review.


You make a good point about Nakaya's caps being flush with the barrel; I think that this is an important part of their designs that differentiates it from Danitrio.



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very nice black urushi quartet

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


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