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Thread: Pilot Kakuno Demonstrator F

  1. #1
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    Default Pilot Kakuno Demonstrator F

    The Kakuno is EXTREMELY light while also being a full size pen. It uses the same "Super Quality" nibs as the Pilot Metropolitan and Prera. The nib and feed are easily removed for cleaning and swapping (Plumix italics are said to fit also.) Kakuno nibs come with tiny engraved faces; the face on the demo version version is winking. As you'd expect the nib is very fine. (It's more of an EF than an F even by Japanese standards - see below.) and absolutely excellent. The demonstrator body is quite pretty as these things go - it's largely absent of mould lines, unaesthetic reinforcements, etc. It's faceted and, like the cap, seems to designed to resist rolling. The pen cost ten pounds on ebay including shipping form Hong Kong.

    The cap pushes on and off. It doesn't have a clip but the one Kaweco sell for the Sport fits perfectly. The Kakuno has three holes on top of the cap. Do NOT try to fill these as people sometimes do in the belief that the holes let the nib and feed dry out. The nib seals tightly inside an inner cap and blocking the holes in the outer cap may create a vacuum when you uncap, meaning ink will be sucked out.

    Early versions of the Kakuno wouldn't take the coveted Pilot CON-70 converter. Late versions will; all demos are late versions. The F nib writes a very, very long time on a single cartridge. (Based on figures Platinum publish for their pens I'd expect a 600m ish write-out length - so 5000-7000 words.) On the subject of ink, this probably isn't a great pen to eyedropper. Sealing the rear pen body would be easy, but the push fit nib and feed would create a weak spot in the sealing.

    The solid colour Kakunos come in "fun" colours for children but the clear Kakuno plus clip looks rather serious - it could easily pass for a technical pen or a piece of Bauhus design.

    Adjusted correctly the pen is more than usually ergonomic. The grip section is exceptionally long and there is virtually no step behind it. It is also segmented, but a much better design than the Safari - it's a hexagon with three large and three small sides and rounded edges between sides. It's extremely important to realise that the nib can be rotated to make the faceted grip fit your writing style better. Get the pen comfortable for the writing angle that suits you, ignoring nib contact with the paper, then gently but firmly twist the nib (ie as if you're trying to unscrew it) until you're happy with the result. Adjusted the pen feels both comfortable and precise; un-adjusted it can be downright annoying.

    Obviously you'd expect a Japanese Fine to write a narrow line. But even so the Kakuno might surprise you unless you are used to steel nibbed Pilots. Borrowed (with permission) from Goulet's excellent nib comparison page at

    The Kakuno F is about a match for the 3776, 1911 and Preppy EF -

    It's a LOT finer than a Safari or M600 EF -

    It's not very different to a Faber Castell steel nib EF though - although the Faber will cost you three times as much -

    It even matches a fine gel pen, at least when writing on paper that won't feather -

    A useful consequence of this narrow line is that the pen writes for an extremely long time from a single cartridge. Based on the figures Platinum provide for the 3776 then a 600m write-out length seems about right - that could be around 5000-7000 words. In my own experience the pen definitely writes a lot more than the 2000 words that I'd been expecting - I'd be surprised if it wasn't writing at least 5000 words.

    (See And yes, I am going to dedicate a fresh cartridge and notebook to measuring writing length.)

    The pen comes in white, black and gray solid bodies, usually with brightly coloured caps. Nibs are EF, F and M. The EF has the reputation of being not much finer than the already narrow F and definitely less smooth. You can also swap in italic nibs from the Plumix and Pluminix.

    There's some chance that you won't like the grip even after adjusting the nib. For what it's worth, the pen is designed for children and the adjusted pen is comfortable for me. And my hands are larger than average for a Western male and I hate, hate, HATE the Safari's grip. So the pen seems to work with a range of users.

    Japanese school children (the market the pen was originally meant for) obviously have excellent writing skills - the result of calligraphy practice with brushes? The F nib is a delicate, high precise writer. It's the complete opposite of the imprecise but sturdy Safari nib - the Pilot F is a lot finer than even a Safari EF and the nib is proportionately delicate.

    I can't imagine the Kakuno F surviving the average Western schoolchild. In the West this is a grown up's pen - the cheapest high quality Japanese F nib you can get in a body that isn't compromised by total size (the Prera) or grip section size (the short section and huge step of the Metropolitan.)

    The light weight, low cost, precise handling and high quality nib make this an obvious choice for artists and converts from fine gel pens, as well experienced users who want a decent Japanese fine - even extra fine - nib in a full size body without paying 1911 prices. And if you need a daily writer with a lot of endurance then the Kakuno should out-match even a piston filler like the M600 or Lamy 2000 - which may be carrying 40% more ink but (using the Goulet page and more information from that Platinum page) probably only write half as far per ml. Obviously you'll want to load an ink that combines a strong colour with good lubrication. Pilot Blue, Blue Black and Black are obvious choices; the first two had superior glide on really bad paper.

    The Kakuno should also be a good choice for people who want to write with risky inks: the clear nib section lets you monitor what's happening, CC filling makes for easy cleaning using a bulb syringe, the pen is cheap, and the nib and feed remove for cleaning - putting the pen one up over the Preppy. (Which admittedly costs less than half what the Kakuno does - although you'd have to be very lucky in the nib lottery to get a Preppy that writes to Kakuno standards.)

    Finally, the availability of Plumix nibs and the strong sense of orientation provided by the faceted grip should make the Kakuno an ideal pen for stubs.
    Last edited by ilikenails; January 7th, 2019 at 07:32 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Pilot Kakuno Demonstrator F

    Thanks. I agree.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Pilot Kakuno Demonstrator F

    I'm using one White Pink right now and I must say that this is a steal. It writes smooth as butter. I'm reusing the cartridge, wash and refill it with a syringe.


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