If you are blissfully unaware of the recent price hike let me give you a quick run down. It used to be that you could only get Iroshi from JetPens, on Ebay or direct from Japan. In the US most were getting their Iroshizuku from JetPens for the high price of $22.50. But, this was doable because of the free shipping you got once you reached the $25 requirement. So, you ordered a bottle of Iroshi and a cheap pen and you got the free shipping.
Around the end of last year, Pilot US announced that they would start importing Iroshizuku, thus making it widely available on the US market. We all thought that was great until we found out that they set the MSRP at $35 a bottle! The ink was already expensive at $22.50, but $35 is ridiculous. Apparently, Pilot US will allow the ink to be priced as low as $28. That is still a lot of money for a bottle of ink.
At any rate, JetPens had assured us that they would continue to sell Iroshi at $22.50 because they had found a way to work around the Pilot US distribution network. Wel,l a couple weeks ago JetPens announced that they were essentially being forced to raise their price by Pilot US. They apologized, but notified us that the price would increase to $28 starting June 1. There was a mad dash to get Iroshi at the cheaper price; as of yesterday the price increase is now in effect.
Now, I know many of us were price out of the ink at $22.50, so $35 or even $28 is just way beyond the amount many of us are willing to pay. Many of us have decided that iroshizuku is not for us, so we are looking for alternatives (enter this post).
What follows is a list of inks that are in some ways similar to Iroshizuku inks. This list is complied from experiences expressed on FPN and from my own experience sampling inks.
NB: I'm only saying these inks are similar. They are not exact. Some of these inks are more similar to the Iroshi than others. These are the brakes. If you want the exact color you'll have to buy the Iroshizuku. There are properties of that ink that simply don't exist with any other ink on the market. This particularly applies to their green-blues and blue-greens. If you are in doubt I suggest that you order samples from Pear Tree Pens, Goulet Pens, or participate in the FPN Ink Sample Exchange so that you can "try before you buy."
If you like x, then you'll probably like y
If Ajisai, then ???
If Asa gao, then Visconti Blue or PR Lake Placid Blue or Diamine Sapphire
If Fuyu-syogun, then ??? [maybe Dia Prussian Blue in a dry writer. In the wet writer Prussian Blue is more blue than gray]
If Kiri-Same, then ??? [maybe J. Herbin Gris Nuage?]
If Kon-Peki, then Diamine Kensington Blue (in a wet writer)
If Ku-Jaku, then ND turquoise (standard line)
If Momiji, then Mont Blanc Love Letter
If Fuyu-gaki, then ND Dragon's Napalm or Diamine Coral or Diamine Vermillion
If Tsukushi, then De Atramentis Sepiabraun
If Yama-Guri, then R&K Sepia or CdA Grand Canyon
If Shin-Ryoku, then???
If Syo-Ro, then Dia Teal or Noodler's Coral Sea, Australian Exclusive
If Tsuki-Yo, then PR Ebony Blue or Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris or Diamine Blue Black or Noodler's Legal Lapis
If Tsutsuji, then ???
If Tsuyu-kusa, then ???
If Yama-Budo, then ND Saguaro Wine or PR Plum or JH Rose Cyclamen or Diamine Claret or Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
If Yu-Yake, then CdA Saffron or Noodler's Apache Sunset
This list is incomplete. There are several inks I or FPN haven't found a substitute for yet. As more information becomes available I'll let you know. If you have any ideas please leave a comment below or send me a Tweet and I will add them to the list!