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Maruzen Athena Ink


Now available in both sepia and blue-black! Please note that, because I hand-carry these from Tokyo and don't plan on doing that again for the foreseeable future, once these are sold out, we will not have these anymore.

This ink is sold in the larger Maruzen stores in Japan and is not available through any US distribution channels. The sepia is a retro dark, rich brown/reddish sepia tone...if you prefer conservative ink colors, this is a nice change from blacks, blues and blue-blacks, and may become your new favorite ink! I think it looks great on cream-colored papers.

The bottle has the character of early 1900s medicine bottles... you'll want to save it long after the ink is used up. The volume is not printed anywhere, but I believe it is 50ml.

Just FYI - the box may arrive dented - it was a long and arduous task to get these all the way from Tokyo to California!


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Product Reviews

  1. Sumptuous Sepia 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd Jan 2019

    A true dark sepia that is well-lubricated and has performed well in every pen I've tried, including TSBIs, a Dilomat Aero, and a Sailor Pro Gear. This is a Sailor-made ink, so the outstanding performance isn't surprising. Shading is minimal but there is some water resistance, and you will get a rich, deep sepia that looks particularly gorgeous against cream-colored papers. The less absorbent your paper is, the more chance you will see a little shading. It's a pricey ink, even if purchased in Japan, but well worth it.

    As for the box being dented, I have purchased several from Nanami and had a couple sent as gifts. Thanks to Nanami's excellent packing, none have been dented or marred at all.

  2. Classic Blue-Black 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 28th Oct 2017

    To my eyes, this is the perfect blue-black that balances the blue tones with the black. The blue doesn't jump out, nor does the black swamp all color. It's a strikes a great mid-point, a true classic.

    The ink flows well in both fine and medium nibs. Works well with a Cafe notebook, a great pair.

  3. A great everyday ink 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 27th Oct 2016

    I like fine pens and fine paper, and therefore naturally fine inks. I have wanted to try the Maruzen sepia ink for a long time and was very glad when Nanami Paper made it available.

    It is a rich dark color (brown-black with a hint of red does not quite describe it). It dries fairly quickly. Colorwise is out of the ordinary, but it is an ink that can be used in the same office settings where black, blue, or blue black ink may be used. All-in-all it is an excellent ink.

    It is becoming a favorite ink. Does Maruzen make any other colors?

  4. A very fine ink 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd Oct 2014

    The Maruzen Athena Sepia ink is exceptional. I have been using it for about a month now and I’m impressed. It writes well on many types of paper, and on Tomoe River paper it’s heaven. Nice flow and dries pretty quickly. It gets some nice shading from larger nibs. I have used other sepia inks prior to this one, and they often would look very brown or rusty colored depending upon the paper and nib. This ink goes on dark and dries dark. It’s a sepia that isn’t going to be mistaken for a brown. I love this ink and use it everyday.

  5. A permanent part of my rotation 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Oct 2014

    This ink is divine. Nice and dark, so it can be used in the most conservative of settings, yet it has a lot of character that sets it apart from black or blue ink. Very good flow and great water resistance. It looks especially good on ivory/cream colored paper but to be honest, I use it everywhere because it's just that perfect! If I could only pick two inks to use the rest of my life, they would be this and Pilot Blue-Black, that's how good it is. You can check out a review of it that I wrote here: http://fp-physicist.tumblr.com/post/97295147820/ink-review-maruzen-athena-sepia

  6. Wonderful addition to my inks! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 8th Aug 2014

    This Athena Sepia ink is a remarkable ink. I have never really been a fan of browns, they always seemed uninteresting and lacking. This Sepia on the other hand is nothing like that. It is clearly not just brown. It has an additional dimension to it that sets it outside of the traditional brown range. It's not blackish brown either. It is basically difficult to describe! Shading is superb, drying time is very good. Performs flawlessly on Tomoe River along with every other premium fp friendly paper I use. I really do like it a lot. It is the ink write in my journal with so it is used frequently. I cannot say enough good things about this ink.
    And of course the same impeccable service I have come to know from David.

  7. A Happy Match 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 28th Jul 2014

    I've been looking for a sepia ink to use in my amber Custom 823, and this ink makes a very happy match! It flows smoothly and seems like a well-behaved ink. I can't compare it to other sepias out there -- the only other one I've tried is Iroshizuku Tsukushi, and I found that too milk chocolate brown. This ink has the gravitas I was looking for -- a dark brown-black. At first glance, the eye wants to say "black?", but then it immediately says no, that's not it, there's something more interesting going on here. However, the nib in my pen is a medium, adjusted by Mike Masuyama, so the flow is slightly on the wet side. YMMV. Paper like the Seven Seas writer or a Black n' Red seems to draw out the blacker tone of this ink; paper like Tsubame or Campus MIO seems to let the browner tone come forward. I'm not a fan of brown inks in general, but I wanted an alternative to blue-black and blue, and for me, this one's a keeper.

  8. vintage ink on steroids :D 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 22nd Jul 2014

    Gorgeous ink with lighting fast dry times. The shading only enhances the vintage feel of the experience; I'd definitely recommend to use it with a creme color paper like Tomoe River, it just begs to be paired with it. Give it a try, you won't be dissapointed.