Masaaki Sakaguchi is an urushi artisan with decades of experience. He is a tame-nuri master and responsible for some gorgeous pens at ShiZen. 

Masaaki-san was born in 1967. He always had a passion for painting, so when he was old enough he started learning urushi and maki-e. His teachers were Kiyoaki Hiromasa and Masao Harima.

Artisan Masaaki Sakaguchi

Masaaki Sakaguchi at work

Today he is an urushi master who has submitted urushi artwork at the prestigious Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition) and the International Lacquer Exhibition. He has also won numerous urushi competitions.

In addition to fountain pens, Masaaki-san paints urushi on tables, sword sheaths, sword racks, tableware, opal watch dials, and other lacquerware. 

Urushi lacquer round box
An urushi lacquer box by Masaaki-san

Artistic inspiration can come from many sources. For Masaaki-san, he is inspired by the maki-e works of master artisan Masao Harima.

Masaaki-san has painted many of ShiZen’s new tame-nuri pens. Burnished (polished) to a mirror finish, the luster from Masaaki-san's tame-nuri technique is irrefutable. 

Kagayaki on M5 fountain pen
Kagayaki on M5 fountain pen

Tame-nuri is an urushi technique that, while relatively simple in execution, can result in breathtakingly beautiful pens. The artisan begins with a pen of a base color urushi (red, yellow, blue, etc.), and paints layer upon layer of translucent urushi over it. 

The result is a depth of color that nothing else can replicate. And with the passing of time, the pen will glow even brighter and become more beautiful. 

Masaaki-san’s signature, painted on the end of the pen
Masaaki-san’s signature, painted on the end of the pen


Explore all of Masaaki-san’s ShiZen pens today. Maybe you’ll find one that calls to your spirit. 

Tagged: artisans urushi