Some background on the seven Japanese Gods of good luck was included in my review of Fukurokuju. Also included in that review was some information on packaging and price. The 100th anniversary inks are becoming very hard to find even online. According to the Goulet Pens website they are receiving their stock of the ink in April (I’m writing this March 30) and it will be $US30 a bottle.
According to Pilot the ink is Hoteison but it can be found written as Hotei-son or even just Hotei depending on where and what one is reading. Hotei is the god of fortune, guardian of children, patron of diviners and barmen and god of popularity. According to Goulet pens he is also the god of matrimony but I could not find that written anywhere else. The name literally means cloth sac.
Hotei is depicted as a fat, smiling bald man with a curly moustache. He always appears half naked as his clothes do not fit around his fat belly. He is usually carrying a bag on his shoulder which is said to be full of fortunes for those who believe in his virtues of contentment, magnanimity and happiness
You can see why he is also known as the laughing Buddha.
Hotei was a real person, a Zen priest with an unknown birthdate but known to have died in 916.
It is not at all clear how Pilot linked the limited edition colours to each God. Hoteison is a very dark green black, not what one would associate with laughter and happiness, it is a very sombre colour. When I first saw this ink I thought it was black, this was based on the colour on the outside of the box. I couldn't understand why a limited edition ink would be black as you can buy black anywhere.
The retailer soon put me right and when you open the bottle it is clearly not black.
I really liked the look of it in the bottle and the col-o-ring and Tomoe paper swatches were not surprising though the col-o-ring did suggest a grey undertone.
I used a Pilot vanishing point aka capless with a medium nib for this test. I love the look of the pen and the idea behind it being capless, I have just never developed any joy using it. I think that despite the medium nib it is just too fine for me and I find when using it the clip gets in the way of holding the pen with any comfort.
I started with Clairfontaine paper – it is supposed to be fountain pen friendly and usually it is, I have no problems with it. Not here, feathering was a major problem.
As expected it behaved impeccably on Tomoe river. It is a lovely lovely green ink that I hope to use a lot.
I say hope as I was disappointed about how it behaved on Clairfonatine which is a good quality paper and at work the paper is likely to be of cheap quality. Consequently I tried again with copy paper (approx. 80gms) and was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t as much feathering so maybe that had something to do with my slow attempt at writing in Japanese and I was just laying down a lot of ink. There was some show through with the cheaper paper though.
Would I buy this again if I could? Most definitely, I love the colour, it can be used anywhere, the slight show through on cheaper paper does not put me off and it performed well under running water.
Thank you for this very nice review. I have now bought a bottle of this wonderful ink, the nearest thing to the now (I think) discontinued Sailor Miruai (sea weed). It writes beautifully as one would expect from an Iroshizuku ink. They are the "champagne" of the ink world and I will probably buy a second bottle to have a long-lasting stock!
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