iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink bottle

Ink of the Week – Iroshizuku Syo-ro

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 5 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at Iroshizuku Syo-ro. This ink made my list of Forever Inks and is one of my all-around favorite inks to use. I think it’s great for writing and doodling and enjoy using it in a variety of nib sizes. Interested? Let’s take a closer look at why I enjoy this ink so much.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink doodles

Some Syo-ro doodles

Iroshizuku Syo-ro

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. The name, Syo-ro, translates as “dew on pine tree”. I’m not sure about what that would actually look like, but I suppose this could be somewhat close. It is a teal color that’s probably a little closer to green than to blue. One of the things I really enjoy about this ink is how it changes color once it dries. It goes down a very blue color and dries much more green, so if you have never tried this and don’t immediately see the color you’re expecting, just let it dry and it will get there. Once it dries, it has some sheen. For me, this is just about the perfect amount of sheen… just enough to make things a little more interesting. It also has a bit of shading. With the sheen, it’s hard to tell what is sheen and what is shading, but if you like a little variety in your writing, you’ll probably enjoy what this ink has to offer.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink sheen

Here’s a good look at some sheeny swaths of ink.

Speaking of drying, this ink has pretty decent dry times, although they are longer than some other Iroshizuku inks I’ve reviewed such as Yama-budo or Murasaki-shikibu. I didn’t feel like I had to wait long for it to dry while writing or doodling with it. Thanks to the sheen, it will still smudge a bit once dry, but not so much as to make it dangerous.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink smudging

You can see a bit of smudging where I touched this ink once it was dry.

This ink doesn’t have an interesting chromatography. I was really hoping it would because of how it looks blue while wet but teal when dry, but it looks pretty much exactly the same when exposed to water as when it is not. It is fairly waterproof. While some of the dye will smear, what remains on the paper is still quite legible.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink chromatography

Here’s a look at the chromatography

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink waterproof

This ink is fairly waterproof

The Pens I Used

Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink pens used

Pens for the week (L-R): Esterbrook TJ, Lamy Safari, Omas Cinema, Waterman, Bonecrusher Velma

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink nibs

The nibs of the week (L-R): Esterbrook 9048, Lamy F, Omas M, Waterman 17, #6 JoWo

Esterbrook Transitional J (vintage) – 9048 fine flex nib

This fine flexible Esterbrook nib paired well with this ink, but it wasn’t as quite as fine as I remembered. Still, it was enjoyable to write with, especially when I flexed it a bit and got some variation in my writing.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink f nib writing

Fine Esterbrook nib writing sample

Lamy Safari – F nib

Wanting a finer nib than the Esterbrook, I inked up this Lamy Safari. It gave me what I was looking for. While it looks good, I don’t prefer it as much as the other nibs. I want this ink to go down wet to make it look more saturated.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink f sample

Fine Lamy nib writing sample

Omas Cinema – M nib

Now this is a wet nib. In the past, I didn’t think this Omas nib was as wet as my other Omas nib, so I wasn’t expecting so much ink! It almost looks like a broad nib. Still, I love it. This was my favorite combination of the week for both writing and doodling.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink m writing sample

Writing sample with M Omas nib

Waterman (vintage) – 17 flex nib

This is surprisingly fine for a medium nib. It was really enjoyable to write with without flexing, and even more fun to use with a bit of flex. It gave a lot more sheen and shading than the fine Lamy nib did.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink m flex nib

Writing sample with M Waterman nib

Bonecrusher Velma – B nib

Yet another fantastically wet nib. The broad nib on this Bonecrusher made this ink look great. It was a little impractical for writing, but not so much that I would reach for a different pen.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink broad nib

Writing sample with Broad JoWo nib

Paper

On cheap paper this ink tended to bleed through in every pen and it feathered in a few of the pens. On fountain-pen-friendly paper, things mostly fared better. On Leuchtturm paper all pens still bled through and most feathered. On the other two papers I didn’t have any issues except for some slight feathering on the Oasis. With these results, I’d stick to using Syo-ro on good paper in order to avoid feathering or bleed through.

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink leuchtturm paper

Writing sample on Leuchtturm paper

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink Profolio oasis paper

Writing sample on Profolio Oasis paper

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink g lalo paper

Writing sample on G. Lalo Verge de France paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

This is not a highly-saturated ink, so cleaning it out of pens was not extremely difficult. Something did happen that I have rarely experienced, though. Somehow my Esterbrook got a bit of extra ink in the cap, which then came down onto the body (you can see this in my pen nib photo). Once it dried, it actually stained the body and didn’t come off with water. I was able to remove it with a little soaking, but I normally do not like to allow water to come up past the section, as it can potentially seep into the body where the sac is and rust the j bar.

Conclusions

Iroshizuku Syo-ro is, like pretty much every other Iroshizuku ink, fantastic. It is well behaved when used on good paper, nice and wet, and has beautiful color. While I was looking at the color trying to describe it, I realized that, when used with a wet nib, it looks very similar to Emerald of Chivor, only with less sheen and no shimmer. I hadn’t ever made that connection before, but now I can’t unsee it. Teal inks are quite popular and there are many options out there, but I feel that the color of Syo-ro is fairly unique. Personally, I love it and it is one of my most-used inks. I hope this has sparked some interest for you as well and you give it a try!

iroshizuku syo-ro fountain pen ink compared to emerald of chivor

Here is a comparison of Emerald of Chivor (top) and Syo-ro (bottom)

Comments 5

  1. I love teal and had gotten a sample of this in my last Goulet order, now I’ll definitely have to try it! It definitely looks more blue than green in the sample vial, interesting. I’d had my eye on Emerald of Chivoir but seeing as a different shimmer ink clogged up my medium TWSBI Eco recently, one without it is a plus 😊 Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes indeed, the liquid ink looks very blue. I personally really like the color-changing aspect of this ink. Hope you enjoy it and, if you love the color and want more sheen and shimmer, at least you’ll know that you’ll also enjoy EoC!

  2. To. start, I have to say I really like the way you do your ink reviews–the doodles really add quite a bit. In 2019 Syo-ro was the very first ink I fell in love with. I was charmed by the Japanese translation of “dew on pine tree.” Syo-ro led me down the fountain pen path, experimenting with more Iroshizuku inks. I have used this ink often. However, I never knew about its subtle sheening property until I used it on an Endless Creative block notebook recently. I was just shocked. Paper really makes a difference. However, I only use good papers, so I do not know why it took 3 years for me to find this out about the ink.

    1. IIRC the translated names in this series are lovely & this one caught my eye too 😊 and I really enjoy the doodles also (makes me want to do some next time I journal). I’m partial to blue/green/teals in general but trying to avoid (too many) duplicates, lol! So pretty

    2. Post
      Author

      Thanks, Carol! I find myself doodling as much as writing, so it seems natural to include them. How strange that it took so long for this ink to sheen for you! I suppose on good papers like Rhodia and Leuchtturm it’s much less likely. Paper does indeed make a big difference!

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