Pilot Namiki: Traditional Japanese Maki-e Fountain Pens

Pilot Namiki: Traditional Japanese Maki-e Fountain Pens

Namiki fountain pens are world renowned for their fine details, rare materials, and traditional Maki-e techniques. The brand is a luxury branch off of Pilot, the parent company that has given the fountain pen community such gifts as the Vanishing Point and 74  model fountain pen. 

Namiki Fountain Pens

Unlike Pilot’s sleek, modern designs, Namiki fountain pens embrace japanese Maki-e techniques. The brand is a 20th century take on ancient art. Its designs are characterized by three components: decorative beauty, japanese tree lacquer, and carefully crafted nibs. 

Original Art 

Namiki fountain pens are unique in that no two are alike. Each and every piece Namiki produces is handcrafted by skilled artisans. Some models are created by a small team of artisans for a period of a few months; whereas, other more costly editions are painted by the same person over a much longer period of time. 

It can take six months or longer to complete a single fountain pen, as artists use the Maki-e technique to layer designs into the body panels of these instruments. Historically, this process was used to make stunning pieces of pottery, decorative boxes, and other items for the wealthy and powerful in Japan. 

Namiki Original Art Maki-e

Maki-e involves building a design one thin layer of tree sap at a time. Paint, gold dust, pearl powder, stones, and other fine materials are added to create visual effects with depth and texture. It’s craftsmanship you can feel when you hold a Namiki fountain pen. 

Each one is beautifully decorated and signed by its artist. Because they are so special, it can be difficult to acquire Namiki editions, but we have several available in our collection

Rare Japanese Lacquer

Not all Namiki fountain pens have artwork adorning their caps and barrels. However, these solid models are no less spectacular than their patterned counterparts. In fact, the rare nature of the tree sap used to produce these pieces is cause enough for you to stop and admire them. 

Namiki Urushi Tree Lacquer

The Chineses lacquer tree or Urushi, as the Japanese call it, produces a greyish yellow sap that craftsmen harvest during the tenth year of its life. This sap is then used as an extremely glossy and durable resin. Nakimi pens utilize a version of this sap that dries black, but it is a very rare commodity. 

Each harvest produces only a small amount of sap, and there are a limited number of Urushi trees available. Each fountain pen goes through a time intensive process of lacquering, drawing, sprinkling and polishing up to 130 times!

Incredible Nibs

Like the artistic motifs reflected on Namiki fountain pens, the 18k gold nibs honor a longstanding commitment to excellence. 

Namiki Japanese Fountain Pen Nibs

Japanese fountain pen nibs are known to be some of the most pleasant and precise instruments worldwide. They are available in fine, medium, and broad sizes, but finding these variants can be tricky since the brand makes such exclusive pieces. 

Writing Experience & Features  

Regardless of nib size, your writing experience with a Namiki pen is bound to be exceptional. For the most part, they are cartridge-converter fountain pens. 

This means that you can either fill your Namiki fountain pen from a bottle of compatible ink using a converter, or you can more conveniently insert a Pilot proprietary cartridge into its barrel. 

Standard international cartridge sizes do not fit within Namiki pens, but they are so prized, that being selective about using higher quality inks is probably a best practice anyways. 

Namiki Models

There are a few variations when it comes to Namiki. Of course, there are the artist editions with their intricate designs, but the brand als produces the Royale model in solid colors and the much larger Emperor fountain pen.

Yukari Daruma Fountain Pen ~ $1,700

The original artwork on this Yukari Daruma fountain pen is inspired by the Daruma, a type of traditional Japanese doll modeled after Bodhidharma, founder of Zen Buddhism. The doll represents Bodhidharma's unyielding willpower and resilience.

Namiki Yukari Daruma Fountain Pen

It also embodies the Japanese proverb Nana Korobi Ya Oki (fall seven, rise eight) and is seen as a cultural good luck charm. In other words, it’s ideal for the person who has challenging goals and is determined to bring them to fruition.

Namiki Yukari Royale in Vermillion Red ~ $1,500

This Namiki Yukari Royale pen is unusual in that its body lacquer is red instead of black. There are uruki trees that produce resin in colors other than black, but it’s likely that these layers get their vibrant hue from some sort of dye. 

Namiki Vermillion Red Fountain Pen

Like all Namiki pens, it comes in a signature wooden box with a bottle of complimentary ink and a lifetime warranty. 

Namiki Emperor No 50 Carp on Waterfall ~ $8,500 

The emperors are the highest ranking and largest fountain pens Namiki produces. Purchased from a boutique showcase, this extremely rare No 50 Carp on Waterfall fountain pen model is a symbol of courage, one of the virtues most venerated in Japan. 

Namiki Hyakusen Murata Pen

It is said that fish that have braved death from exhaustion swimming up river become dragons. 

Unlike the two previous pens, this one uses an eyedropper filling system which allows for an enormous volume of ink. 

It also comes with a certificate of authentication, detail booklet, product registration, and autograph from its singular artist Hyakusen Murata. 

In Summation

Namiki is Pilot’s ultra high-end fountain pen brand. It’s the picture of decorative brilliance and Japanese tradition, and on many counts its fountain pens represent artistic integrity and precise performance. 

Namiki Fountain Pen Box

To find a Namiki that suits your personal style and compliments other instruments in your collection, let us know what you're looking for. We’ll go to work to find your perfect pen! 

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1 comment

  • lizzie

    very good pens

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