I like to think I set an example and guide my children’s behaviour rather than imposing my will upon them. So, when presenting my son with a Pilot Kaküno fountain pen on his 11th birthday recently, I’d hoped he would be pleasantly surprised rather than think “here we go with more of dad’s pen obsession again”. Thus, with a desire to check out a Pilot (F) nib, what better excuse… um…I mean – with my son’s best interests at heart, I decided to buy the Kaküno.
The pen was purchased on eBay, as finding a stockist in my home town of Brisbane proved fruitless, as did searching the Australian on-line stationery stores (if anyone has had more success I would appreciate hearing about it). In considering the cost ($16.50 rrp) along with P&H, the price was more than reasonable for a pen of this quality. Included in the box were the pen, and a standard Pilot blue ink cartridge. There is also the option of using a Con–50 converter in future for bottled inks.
According to Jet Pens:
…Pilot designed the Kaküno pen, a simple fountain pen that is great for beginners. Thanks to its many features that help ease beginners into the world of fountain pens, kids and adults can experience the joy of writing with these delightful instruments. “Kaküno” means “to write” in Japanese and that’s just what this pen helps you do!
Look and Feel
The design of this pen is spot on in my opinion. A concern was whether my son would like the overall look, colour and shape, however I need not have worried, as he loves it. The pen is constructed of plastic, with a steel nib, and has a hexagonal barrel, clipless contoured cap (with a small ridge at one edge), and a grip area guiding the user toward a preferred hand position. Although the grip section is also hexagonal, alternate sides are longer, creating a more triangular and smoother edged shape overall. I found this approach to grip shaping more subtle and therefore more comfortable than the Lamy ABC grip.
The entire range has a grey barrel, with colour introduced through variations in the cap, with lime green, pink, red, blue, orange and grey available. As you can see from the accompanying images, we chose the blue cap. The nib? Well it has a smily face etched on doesn’t it – a fantastic feature for the target market which also provides a hint as to the correct nib alignment for writing. A great feature which in no way dominates the pen itself – more a sneaky nod and wink to the user.
The size and weight are perfect for both smaller or average sized hands, and can be used equally well by an adult or child, which I see as an advantage over the Lamy, which clearly looks like a “kids pen”. For something I hope my son will use for a few years yet, I think he would have outgrown the “look” of the Lamy sooner rather than later. My other consideration was the Lamy Safari, however when capped, would have been a little tall for his usual writing position. At the current time my son writes with the Kaküno uncapped, however I think this will most likely change as he grows and his hand becomes larger.
– Diameter – Grip 11.6 mm
– Diameter – Max 13.3 mm
– Length – Capped 13.1 cm
– Length – Posted 15.7 cm
– Length – Uncapped 12.2 cm
According to other reviews, the feed and nib are the same as those found in a Pilot Prera which I have not had the experience of writing with myself (are there any pens out there not on my shopping list!). I ordered a fine nib to ensure a quick drying, cleaner writing experience and the Kaküno writes flawlessly. I think this is vitally important in a pen such as this, for an introduction to writing with a fountain pen should be enjoyable, not alienate the user due to a scratchy nib, poor ink flow, smudging or just a “messy experience” in general.
As far as a hand written sample is concerned, I will invite the owner of the pen to contribute here. The following are my 11-year-old son’s true responses to the questions I posed (with a Kaweco Ice Sport (M); J. Herbin Orange Indien):
Overall, I could not be happier with the choice of the Kaküno as my son’s first fountain pen. My son loves the pen as well, which does make me happy. Whether or not he carries forward the same interest in pens and paper as I do (not sure whether that is a good or bad thing in any event!), at least using the Kaküno has been a faultless, enjoyable experience that opens up many possibilities or perhaps none, depending on his own interests.
Would I recommend the Kaküno to others? Absolutely, it is an ideal beginners (or anyone’s for that matter) pen, rather than simply a kids pen – a key difference in ensuring the pen suits a wide range of users, and has the ability to grow with a younger one. Indeed I (ahem), we (cough), – he will certainly be using this pen often, and for some time to come.
Reviews of the Pilot Kaküno:
– The Pen Addict: Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen Review
– The Well Appointed Desk: Review: Pilot Kakuno Fine Nib
– My Pen Needs Ink: Review – Pilot Kakuno
– On Fountain Pens: Pilot Kakuno fountain pen – great for kids and beginners