Ink Review: Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu (Japanese Beautyberry)

This is the first time I have created a video version of my ink reviews. I’m still working on the format. Certainly future videos will be shorter. (Hopefully much shorter!). I have also instituted a new standard test template and ink processes, including the testing of the ink on three different types of paper. I’ve included which test was done on which paper in the photo gallery captions below.


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I love Iroshizuku inks.  All of the inks I have tried have been wonderfully-writing inks, with unique colors, excellent flow and lubrication, easy to clean, and overall, just enjoyable to use. While Murasaki-Shikibu behaves just as wonderfully as other Iroshizuku inks, I find the color of this ink to be relatively lackluster. It bleeds more than any other Iro ink I’ve ever used, it is lacking is much sheen or shading, and it’s a little unsaturated for my tastes.

I am a sucker for sheen, and this ink does display a hint of a gold sheen, but only on Rhodia and Tomoe River papers, and only on EXTREMELY wet pens. When it’s not sheening on an extremely wet pen, the ink is strangely spotty and rather matte in appearance.

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On Rhodia and Tomoe River the ink is well-enough behaved, but on standard multi-purpose copy paper, it starts to feather quite a bit, and bleeding becomes significantly more pronounced. It does, however, improve on the dry times.

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Overall, I found myself somewhat disappointed in this ink. The color is a bit different than anything I’ve seen before, and the behavior is decent on good paper. There’s just something about the rather lackluster appearance of the ink on the paper that doesn’t do it for me. If the ink on the page looked more like the ink in the bottle, I suspect I’d like this ink quite a bit. As it is, this is probably my least favorite Iroshizuku ink to date.

Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu

Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu Scores

  • Tristan_Noelmans

    I really like the “roses” you used to indicate the qualities of the inks on the papers. Also the graph in which you put them next to each other is very helpfull.
    And I really like you used plain copier paper, cause most of us use that the most due to work related notes.
    Just one small thing: could you make the titles darker on the rhodia paper? Now it is to light. As it is with the Staples paper, it is much better.

    • That’s already been updated in the template. I initially thought I didn’t want it to be too overpowering, but the grey text just didn’t work as intended.

  • Denise Rogers

    Matt–This is really good; it’s incredibly informative. I actually have this ink, but since I have mostly fine points, I hadn’t realized its possibilities. I’m going to have to try it with my Lamy Joy.

  • Heather

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of this ink, which helped me decide to go ahead and get it. I had been wanting to try an irokshizuku ink for awhile!