Kobe 53 fountain pen ink bottle

Ink of the Week – Kobe #53 Kitano Pearl Silver

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 2 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at Kobe #53 Kitano Pearl Silver. I originally tried this ink when I was writing my grey ink comparison. It was probably my favorite grey ink that I tried and I immediately bought a bottle of it. I use it fairly regularly and feel quite comfortable with it, so I’m excited to share it here with you!

Kobe #53 Kitano Pearl Silver

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. Kobe #53 is a light-grey ink that is neutrally colored. It takes its name from the town of Kitano, which was known as a pearl craft city and is where many of Japan’s pearls were processed. I’m not sure how the ink color came to be, but I guess maybe light grey is the closest ink color to pearl? Regardless, I think it’s a wonderful color. While I’m sure many people will find it too light to use on a regular basis, I like using it for both writing and doodling.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink doodles

It has fantastic shading and no sheen. I think the shading is one of the reasons I like this ink so much. While I wouldn’t call it severe shading (it doesn’t make writing hard to read), it is significant. As you will see, depending on how wet your nib is, this ink can appear quite dark or quite light.

This ink doesn’t have an interesting chromatography. When exposed to water it just gets a bit lighter. It is fairly waterproof and didn’t really change when I added water to dry ink.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink waterproof

Writing sample after being exposed to water

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink chromatography

The chromatography isn’t interesting

Dry times are fairly quick. Once dry, it doesn’t smear. Even during a hot day when my hands were a little sweaty, I didn’t notice any smearing or smudging once the ink was dry. That makes sense since water doesn’t really affect it much.

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:

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink pens used

Pens used this week (L-R): Pelikan M205, Waterman 92, Pilot Metropolitan, Omas Paragon, Pelikan M800

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink nibs

Nibs for the week (L-R): Pelikan F, Waterman flex, Pilot M, Omas M, Pelikan B

Pelikan M205 – F nib

This Pelikan nib makes this ink look like a pencil. While I normally think of it as a wet nib, it writes the lightest of the pens I used this week. I don’t like it for writing, but for doodles it’s fine since it brings out the shading.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink fine nib

Writing sample with Pelikan fine nib

Waterman 92 (vintage) – M flex nib

This Waterman nib is fairly wet and is is a great match for this ink. When not flexed, writing looks nice and dark. When flexed, the shading really starts to show.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink flex nib

Writing sample with Waterman flex nib

Pilot Metropolitan – M nib

This Metropolitan nib writes with a consistent wetness that doesn’t show a lot of shading. I actually quite like it for writing.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink pilot metropolitan

Writing sample with Metropolitan M nib

Omas Paragon – M nib

I love this Omas nib. It is wet and a joy to write with. It really shows off the shading of this ink and makes it look fairly dark. This is the pen I reached for most often this week.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink omas nib

Writing sample with Omas M nib

Pelikan M800 – custom grind B nib

This Pelikan is the wettest and broadest nib of the week. While this isn’t an extremely wet ink, it is still wet and was a little tricky to write with in this pen. I enjoyed it for writing, but preferred it for doodling.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink Pelikan B nib

Writing sample with Pelikan B nib


On cheap paper this ink performed fairly well. I didn’t see any feathering, even with the flex nib, and only minimal bleedthrough. On fountain-pen-friendly paper I didn’t see any feathering or bleeding, even on the Leuchtturm which typically bleeds a bit. I’d say this ink is safe to use on pretty much any paper you’d like.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink leuchttur

Writing sample on Leuchtturm paper

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink clairefontaine

Writing sample on Clairefontaine paper

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink g lalo

Writing sample on G. Lalo Verge de France paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

As you’d probably expect for an ink that is this light, it was not difficult to clean out of pens. With low saturation and a light, neutral color, I feel like even if a bit of ink did remain in the pen, it wouldn’t even effect the color of the next ink to go into the pen. I would use this in any pen that I own.


I love Kobe #53 Kitano Pearl Silver, but I know that it’s not going to be for everyone. The color is quite light and can be a little tough to read when used in a fine or dry pen. Still, I think it is really something special and always enjoy writing with it. It has enough shading to keep things interesting, doesn’t smear once dry, and performs well on most papers. Most people (myself included) love the variety of ink colors that you can fill a fountain pen with, but sometimes it’s nice to go neutral and use a grey ink. If you’re not opposed to a light-colored ink, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Kobe 53 fountain pen ink swirl doodle

This doodle was done with Kobe 53 and PenBBS 276

Comments 2

  1. This is an unusual one! I could see it being a useful ink for art when you wanted something light for doing distance drawing. 😊

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