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Inktober × Kuretake

What colors do you visualize when you hear the word “black”?  

There are many different shades of black, including reddish black, bluish black, and infinite black.

Traditionally, sumi ink has a slight brown or reddish tint, but can also appear slightly blue. The reason for this change in color is due to the size of ink particles. Finer particles turn brown or red due to light reflection, while coarser particles appear bluish-black.    

Starting in 1902, Kuretake began developing and manufacturing traditional Japanese sumi ink, and by 1973 had branched out to include in it's collection the "Kuretake Fude Pen", Bokuteki Ink, multicolored water-based and alcohol based markers and various other crafting supplies, securing it's place in the art industry. 

Inktober is an art challenge where participants of all levels create artwork using ink, primarily black and white ink. The juxtaposition of using a deep black or bright white ink on paper of the opposing color evokes a feeling of simplicity and focus in a person.      
Many artists from all over the world identify with Jake's philosophy. Kuretake continues to embrace it's roots in traditional sumi ink making and also believes in the Inktober ideals and goals and thus formed a partnership. Throughout Inktober, we would like to convey the true, multicolored allure of black ink.

Sumi Ink & Kuretake

Kuretake has been making sumi ink sticks since its foundation in 1902. 

Originally from China, Japan was introduced to the sumi ink stick during the Asuka period (AD 593-710), and has been produced in Japan for over 1000 years.   For more than a century, Kuretake has been making sumi ink sticks, during which we have always been pursuing the question "What makes a great sumi ink stick?" 

Kuretake has created a number of excellent sumi ink stick products that will be handed down from generation to generation by examining every aspect of the process, from raw materials to manufacturing. 


Kuretake's craftsmen who support and preserve traditional ink stick production

Kuretake's sumi ink making process, which can be called an art form, is accomplished by multiple craftsmen, each person having a highly developed skillset.

Sumi ink sticks are said to be alive, as qualities change depending on the environment.  For this reason, craftsmen assure that the quality of the ink stick is stable and optimum by adding subtle touches to their work, making changes daily according to weather, temperature, and humidity.

The process of ink stick making

How to use the Ink Stick

Saiboku Shimbi

Kuretake "Saiboku Shimbi" is a colored ink stick which demonstrates the beautiful, vibrant colors used in traditional Japanese-style paintings.

The greatest feature of "Saiboku Shimbi" is the vivid color of its ink. You can adjust and express variations of each color from vivid and dense to transparent and calm as it best suits your artwork.


"Saiboku Shimbi"is a Japanese painting medium used primarily for Japanese-style paintings and colored ink paintings; however, it can also be used by illustration or watercolor artists. By incorporating the process of creating your own ink, the "grinding:" of the sumi ink stick, you gain a different sense and appreciation of the creative experience. 


© 2023 Kuretake Co.,Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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