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Sailor Jentle “Oku-Yama” (red): Ink Review

On Scrively's Ink Reviews - Background Information (click to expand)

Sailor Jentle “Oku-Yama”: an elegant bordeaux-red with spectacular sheen

Sailor Jentle "Oku-Yama" Ink name: Sailor Jentle “Oku-Yama”
Unit capacity: 50 ml (glas bottle with ink reservoir)
Price: ca. 15 €
Price per ml: ca. 0,30 €

  Leuchtturm 1917 Spiral-bound Notepad
Color   Dark-red, bordeaux  Dark-red, bordeaux
Saturation  Quite high  Quite high
Shading  Muted, but exposes golden sheen under direct light and at the right angling  Muted, but exposes golden sheen under direct light and at the right angling
Feathering  None  None
Bleed-through  Might happen on the 2nd pass  On the 2nd pass
Wetness  Rather wet  Very well lubricated
Drying time  8-10  sec.  5 sec.
Smudging when dry  No  No
Regular smear test  OK   OK
Left-page smear test  OK  –

Handwritten review on Leuchtturm 1917 paper (scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Sailor Jentle "Oku-Yama"

Handwritten review on a Standard Spiral-Bound Notepad (scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Sailor Jentle "Oku-Yama" Sailor does have a good range of ink. Beside their regular “Jentle Ink” in blue, black, and blue-black, they do also make more colorful ink in a series that they call “(Jentle Ink -) Colors of Four Seasons”. There are 8 colors available in total, whereas each season of the year is represented by 2 colors.
[At the moment it looks like there are a couple more colors coming, since the Japanese-web shop of Sailor has already listed 8 additional colors].

“Oku-Yama” is the Japanese name of the color that I review here. Since I do not speak any Japanese, I can not tell you what that means, but what I gauge from the Sailor-website is that Oku-Yama belongs to the autumn-seasons’ colors. Since it is a very dark red, I imagine that the color might be a representation of autumn leaves. Yet, when I google “Japan autumn”, the colors look quite a bit brighter than Oku-Yama. But then what do I know about Japanese fauna and flora. Since I am no Jack of all trades, let me turn to something that I actually can tell you something about – which is the ink itself.

Oku-Yama is a very lovely dark-red. I would describe it as bordeaux. What I do especially like about this color is that it looks very elegant, muted, and even a bit serious. To me this is a great advantage, since it makes the color very versatile in terms of usability. While red might not be an ‘official’ color to be used in business or so, the darkness of the ink in my opinion still makes it very usable as an everyday-ink for notes and writing in all kinds of contexts. Having that said, the ink also is not ‘bright’ enough to be used as a color for correcting exams or editing documents. I would just find it too dark for that.

When it comes to shading, Oku-Yama definitely does show some shading from dark red to an even darker one, but the shading is rather muted. This is simply because the ink is rather dark and saturated, which naturally narrows down the spectrum across which it could potentially shade. What is spectacular, however, is the sheen of Oku-Yama – a property for which the ink has been praised repeatedly all over the fountain pen community. Again, the good thing about that sheen, which truly is spectacular, is that you normally would not really notice it. To me that is good, because it makes the ink more versatile again. Inks that truly sparkle all the time, e.g. the J.Herbin 1670 inks, are rather limited in use – who wants all their notes to glitter and shine all the time? Oku-Yama, however, does only expose its sheen in direct light and when you look at the paper from a certain angle. So you gotta work a bit for it, but what you get when you are really after it, is really awesome. I have recently tried to capture that sheen on Instagram:

And here is another unfiltered shot from some writing that I have done, at an angle:
Sailor Jentle "Oku-Yama"

Otherwise, Oku-Yama generally is a very well behaved ink. It is a rather wet ink and lubricates very well, which makes for an effortless writing experience. The wetness of the ink can cause an occasional bleed through – especially on a 2nd pass. Not a huge issue, but be aware of it.

The ink comes in a nice-looking flat bottle, which makes for a good surface to stand on a desk. That is good, because the bottle won’t run a risk of tipping over as you fill a pen. Also, it does have an ink-reservoir for easier filling as the ink level sinks. I can’t tell you how well this really works, since I am just a couple of pen fills in yet, and the ink comes in a 50ml-bottle.

What also needs to be noted, is the smell of the ink. As with the KWZ-inks, who also do have a pretty pronounced scent (however also not being intentionally ‘scented’ inks), you’ll notice that smell right away from opening the bottle. The smell is quite different from the one of the KWZ-inks, but does also tend towards a warm-sweet note. I personally do even like it. Very possible that I am just weird, but I do not find it unpleasant or even disturbing. When smelling the ink again for the review here, it rang a bell – the scent reminded me of something. After a little pondering, I finally opened the little box of water-/aquarelle-color that I keep beside my desk. And: bingo! It is pretty much the same smell than those aquarelle colors.

Pricewise, the “Jentle Four Seasons”-inks range somewhere in the upper third of the ink-price range, I would say. They are certainly not as inexpensive as a Diamine ink, but also not exactly as expensive as a Pilot Iroshizuku. All in all, the Sailor is a really great ink, so for me personally and considering the total package of color, general properties, shading/sheen and bottling, it is doubtless worth the money.

As for its ‘leftyness’, “Oku-Yama” also is great. Even though the ink lubricates very well, it is dry in 5-10 seconds (depending on the paper type that I tested it with), which really is on the faster-drying side. There also is no smudging once the ink has dried.

Lefty approved? Totally.







I hope this ink review was helpful – feel free to check out my other ink reviews as well.

If you would like to compare this color to any other ink color/brand, I would suggest to head over to GouletPen’s “Interactive SwabShop” – a tool that lets you compare over 500 different inks, while the swabs are done under similar conditions. This is a wonderful tool for “cross-color-brand-comparison” that I can highly recommend.


  1. Love the color and the great sheen. Sailor inks are proving quite intriguing to me, unfortunately, they are not available locally and getting them from the Internet is an expensive proposition. But sooner or later, I’ll get my inks!

    • Scrively Scrively

      Thank you! It’s a lovely ink, yes. You can normally get those pretty easily from eBay – straight from Japan at a good price, often even including the shipping.

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