This week we’re going to take a look at Iroshizuku Yama-budo. I’m not sure how we ended up with an Iroshizuku ink two weeks in a row since I only have four bottles in my collection, but I’m glad that this one popped up. It’s one of my favorite inks! I have used this bottle extensively since I first purchased it in 2017 and feel like I’m already quite familiar with it. Still, I’ve never had five different pens filled with it at the same time, so let’s see how this week goes!
To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. Yama-budo translates to “Crimson Glory Vine”, which Google tells me is a type of grape vine. While I don’t know how closely the ink matches the color the leaves turn in autumn, it does have a very grape-like color. I guess the best description would be a dark fuchsia, somewhere between pink and purple. It’s a saturated color and has a good amount of gold sheen that really comes out with wetter nibs.
As for chromatography, it doesn’t really separate out into other colors at all. If you’re looking to use this ink with water, don’t expect much more than slight variations on the actual color of the ink itself. It is also not a waterproof ink, although it would probably still be readable if your writing were to get wet.
Even though this ink is saturated, it doesn’t take much longer to dry than other Iroshizuku inks that I’ve used. I didn’t really experience much waiting time before I could turn the page while writing. Once dry, it smears fairly easily. This is usually the case with a high-sheen ink. You’ll definitely want to use caution around ink that’s already dry.
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:
Wing Sung 3008 – EF nib
I really enjoyed using this ink/pen combination. The Wing Sung nib is fine enough that the ink looks a bit lighter than with the other nibs, but it still shows some sheen. Although it’s not really what I’d call official shading, there is a bit of color variation. Definitely one of my favorite combinations of the week!
Pilot Metropolitan – M nib
This is a solid combination. The Pilot doesn’t have an excessively wet nib, but still shows great saturation and sheen. I felt like I had good control over the amount of ink going onto the page and I felt my writing looked good.
Parker Challenger (vintage) – flex M nib
Another great combination, this nib gave a bit more ink flow variation thanks to the slight line variation it provides. This gave the same “shading” illusion I got with the EF nib, only more of it. Some words had loads of extra ink and sheen, while others were lighter with barely any sheen. It felt good to write with, but I wouldn’t recommend a flex nib like this if consistency is your thing.
Pilot Elite 95S – M nib
This Pilot writes extremely wet. Thanks to how much ink it puts down on the paper, it almost looks like a broad nib to me. I didn’t enjoy writing with it, but found it to be one of my favorites for doodling.
Lamy Studio – B nib
This Lamy nib is on the drier side, so it paired pretty well with this ink. I got some real shading with it, but I think I prefer this ink to be less of a shader. Still, it was pleasant to write with.
On cheap copy paper, this ink did bleed and feather a bit with heavier applications, especially in the wet flex nib. Surprisingly, the Wing Sung EF, Metropolitan M and Lamy B all did quite well. On fountain-pen-friendly paper, this ink performed fairly well. All pens did well on Clairefontaine Basic paper and G. Lalo Verge de France, but on Leuchtturm paper the Challenger and Elite95S bled and the Challenger feathered. If you like using wet pens, be careful which paper you use Yama-budo on.
Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens
As with any red-based ink, Yama-budo takes a bit of work to clean out of pens. It is a highly-saturated ink, which makes it even harder to get out. When I filled the Parker Challenger with it, I knew it was going to be a challenge (no pun intended) to get out. I wasn’t too worried about the other pens, as I knew I could pull the converters and soak the nibs to get them completely clean. With the sac on the Challenger, that’s not really an option. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t a complete nightmare to clean. The Challenger seemed clean after a few flushes. To be safe, I let the nib soak overnight. The next morning a bit more red did come out, but then it ran clean. While vintage pens may not be my first choice to ink up with Yama-budo, it’s not as bad as it could be.
I love Iroshizuku Yama-budo. It has such a rich and beautiful color, not to mention a nice gold sheen. It’s a great compromise between a purple and red ink, having qualities of both while not really being either. I feel like it’s an easy ink color to use on a regular basis, while still looking like a “fancy” color to most people who see it. Although it’s an older and well-known ink, most pen people I know who see it either instantly recognize it and comment on how much they enjoy it or really like the color and ask about it. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I’ve ever come across anyone who doesn’t like it! Be aware that it is quite saturated and will sheen on most paper, but that sheen may come with smudging and possible feathering or bleedthrough on some papers. Still, it is an ink that I highly recommend if you’ve never tried it out before.