Starting this month, Sailor is going to re-release Rikyu-Cha, plus seven other inks, worldwide to expand its Four Seasons ink lineup to sixteen total inks. I had read so much about Rikyu-Cha that I couldn’t resist buying a bottle from Japan early.
I have primarily used Rikyu-Cha in two pens, one a very wet vintage Pelikan with medium nib, and the second an Edison with nib modified by Mike Masuyama to write like a Sailor fine. Rikyu-Cha seems like a wet ink: dry times were very long in the Pelikan, though more reasonable with the Edison. I did get nib creep.
Rikyu-Cha’s color is a combination of olive green and cigar leaf brown. Whether the brown or green predominates depends on the pen, the paper and the lighting. But you do see both.
I really want to emphasize the mixed green-brown color of Rikyu-Cha, because based on photos I expected it to be a dark brown ink. At least with my pens and papers, in our light, the color is lot more olive green than I had expected. That may not come out in a lot of photos, but it’s clear in person.
Here is Rikyu-Cha on Rhodia paper with the Edison with extra-fine nib.
A wetter pen will bring out more of the brown, and more sheen. Here’s the Pelikan with medium nib on Tomoe River paper.
Here is Rikyu-Cha swabbed multiple times, starting with one pass of the ink, then adding passes up to four.
I should mention that Rikyu-Cha changes color as it dries. When first put on paper, Rikyu-Cha looks predominantly olive green, but it becomes more brown as it dries. However, that’s “more brown,” because even when dry, Rikyu-Cha always looks like a combination of olive green and brown.
The nicest thing about Rikyu-Cha for me is its shading and sheen. It sheens like crazy. It has rained every day here for what seems like forever, so I haven’t had enough sunlight in the last few weeks to take a sheen-errific photo. But trust me: I don’t tend to use sheeny pens and papers, so if I can see sheen, there’s sheen.
Rikyu-Cha cleaned up easily with just water, which I always love, but it still showed very decent water resistance on both Rhodia and ordinary paper.
However, Rikyu-Cha has been a poor performer for me on lower-quality paper. It does feather, and I saw showthrough and even bleedthrough with both pens — even the Edison with the extra-fine nib.
Here is a writing sample with the medium nib on the top line, and the extra-fine nib below, on Staples Sustainable Earth. Now that is a lower-quality paper, but not that bad. This amount of feathering is extremely unusual on Staples Sustainable Earth.
Rikyu-Cha has a nicely complex dye mixture. Here is paper towel chromatography.
I am a fan of muddy brown and green inks, but I still don’t have anything quite like Rikyu-Cha. Here are some comparisons.
That green-brown color space is complex, so I am going to caution that some people may want to sample Rikyu-Cha before buying. I didn’t get a lot of positive comments about Rikyu-Cha, honestly, not even from other ink fans. And for me it was a “like” rather than a “love at first sight,” which surprised me..
But I think a lot of people will love Rikyu-Cha. I think anyone who loves sheen will. And I suspect that using very wide nibs on sheeny paper like Tomoe River-type paper may be a good match for this ink. There’s a lot of pop there.