Assistance Identifying an Ikeda Cartridge

Trying to figure out which cartridge I got here, came to me on a Well Tempered Reference turntable.. 

Its an Ikeda with no cantilever, so one of the earlier generation cartridges I believe. It is that gold color that the 9TT is, however where the 9TT logo is there is just a kanji character. 

Vinyl engine has about 6 to choose from, but the pics are black and white and do not show the side of the cartridge where the logo is. 

Anyone got an idea which one this could be? Like I said looks exactly like a 9TT in color, but different logo and no cantilever. 

It is either a 9tt or a 9Gss. It the top plate is silver it is a 9tt, gold then 9Gss. They probably label the cartridges differently for different markets.
Certainly without a cantilever it does not do you much good. 
No it is a cnatileverless design. Like a London Decca. Stylus is there, and it does play very nicely. Just looks to be an initial offering from when Ikeda was first started again. 
So the bottom of the cartridge just has the label of Ikeda 9, with the Kanji character on the outer side of the cartridge. 

I found this pic on a Japanese site, and this appears to be it.

However I find no reference to an Ikeda 9 anywhere on the net. Is this the first Ikeda cartridge?
You are correct, this was the first series of cartridges Ikeda designed for his new company Ikeda Sound Lab, after the demise of Fidelity Research. As far as I know it is the only cantileverless MC in the history of audio.

The design matched the shape of the Ikeda headshell and came in a range of different colours. The top models had an integrated headshell (similar to the earlier Fidelity Research FR7 series), called the Supremo and the Musa. The gold coloured version was the top of the ’normal’ range, called Rex. The version with the Kanji character seems to have been a variation of that, perhaps aimed at the domestic market. But this is somewhat unclear. There were also versions made for the Jeff Rowland and Cello brands (in gold and silver colour respectively).

Either way, you have one of the best cartridges ever designed. So if it is still up to spec and the stylus is okay you are in for something truly special. Enjoy!

Nice score!
Sounds like it is a better deal than the TT itself might have been.
Enjoy it until it can no longer be used as I have never seen one for sale.
I know there are a few Ikeda users on here can possibly say more.

Great stuff, I usually get broken Grado carts on any TT I buy!

Just look at ALL Ikeda cartridges here, hope you will find yours.
The J.R. is just OEM for US market, normally overpriced compared to genuine Ikeda for Japanese market. 
BTW only cantilever-less design is worth the attention, some of them are very rare, this is what Ikeda-San assembled by himself, new Ikeda cartridges are no longer made by the master (RIP).

I was lucky to buy Ikeda 9 III on dedicated headshell for my FR64s tonearm with B-60.

And later purchased Ikeda IT-345 tonearm, it was the old arm, not the new CR-1.

No time to compare those beauties, probably next year.
@edgewear Thanks for the information! It certainly is appreciated. So as I read this the gold body cantileverless cartridges that Ikeda built were upper tier offerings, irregardless of what they were named?

The Kanji labeled cart was likely a domestic product, and probably a forerunner of the Rex in terms of branding, but looks to be the same architecture?

This cartridge sounds lovely, the owner who had this did not play it much. He was much more a digital guy, and had this table with about 150 audiophile pressing records total.

Ikeda Sound Labs no longer rebuilds these cartridges, so its going to be in the realm of the retipper. I wonder if those who rebuild London Decca would be a good choice for servicing it in the future. I also considered VAS as it is a domestic company to me. At the moment I am just gathering information, and trying to line up a future plan for whenever this is going to be required.
So I just hooked this up to prove things are working.

This table and cartridge are glorious!

Some of the best analog I have ever heard. I hooked it up to the Miyajima SUT and the Graham Slee phono stage. I had to use a pair of QED interconnects scavenged from my audio box between the SUT and the phono stage, and a pair of unshielded VH Audio interconnects between the table and SUT. Not a spec of noise.

Once the cartridge hit the record it was utter magic. This table and cart are not going ANYWHERE.

This is just lovely.

Did you ever looked on the link i gave you ?

However I find no reference to an Ikeda 9 anywhere on the net. Is this the first Ikeda cartridge?

All IKEDA cartridges are here and you can check specs and prices for each of them. There are so many variations of the 9 model as you can see, the latest are far superior to the old (first 9) and much more expensive. 

You can send your cart to Expert Stylus in UK as our Nandric did as far as i know.  
I have seen that list, however the images for the Ikeda 9 show one with an integrated head shell. I cannot tell if the one I have is an original 9 or a domestic version of the Rex. The kanji character on the side should be a distinctive marking, but no cartridge on that site shows a cartridge with that marking. To be honest the gold coloring is all i got to showwhere in the product line this cartridge sits
I think your sample with the Japanese character was called Rex Kiwami. The fact that it doesn’t show up on the Japanese catalogue chakster provided might suggest the Kiwami was the export version of the Rex and not the other way around.

Apart from the integrated headshell types, all 9 models look identical except for the colour of the body. But as the catalogue indicates, there were large price differences, with the 9C variations being much cheaper than the others. The specs are all in the same ballpark, but recommended VTF differs greatly between models. The Rex has the lowest VTF, which suggests a differently tuned suspension and/or compliance (if that makes any sense at all with a cartridge without cantilever).

The current Ikeda 9 series still looks pretty much the same, but these are very different cartridges. Although Ikeda San was still alive when they first appeared on the market, there are doubts if he was involved in the design (he was well into his 80’s by then). By most accounts the new models don’t compare favorably to the ’old’ ones, to put it mildly.

One more case in point to illustrate that new isn’t always better, in contrast to what manufacturers and reviewers keep telling us.....

If you go into any higher end audio salon in Tokyo you will find ikeda cartridges for sale off the shelf. They tend to be expensive even there. Among the many models there are several in the 9 series. Are you folks saying these modern post-ikeda-San products are inferior? Nandric is a big fan.
@neonknight the kanji can mean a couple things like “extreme” or “top”. 
@vortex  I have only seen one reference to this cartridge and it was at Audiocircle. 5th image down refers to it as a 9 Rex  Kiwami. This appears to be the same cartridge as I have. Any thoughts? 
@neonknight you can see one for sale here but even the Japanese dealer says it is extremely rare and information is limited.  You might want to email Ikeda directly for more info.

Put into Google translate:
Also, "kiwami" is the kanji on the side.  9 Rex doesn't have any meaning, so maybe only the model number.
Post removed 
this is what you mean ?

I think it’s just the same cartridge Ikeda made for Jeff Rowland for USA

IKEDA 9 Jeff Rowland (Limited Edition):
Recommended tracking force: 2 grams
Frequency response: 10-45,000 Hz ± 2.5 dB
Frequency response: 10 - 45000 Hz
Output voltage: 0.18 mV 0.18 mV
Cartridge weight: 16 grams Own weight 16g
List price $ 2500

some seller mentioned that it’s probably the same or nearly identical to Ikeda R from 1989 or REX from 1993 

I sent a photo of the cartridge with the kanji label to my son who lives in Tokyo and is a scholar in Japanese.  Here is his response: "I think it says “Tsuji” which is just a family name. I can tell you it has no functional meaning in terms of what the cartridge can do. It’s also so roughly written (like a signature) that I’m not 100% sure that it it is the character for “Tsuji”'.
I hope that helps someone.
Well, google translate APP on the iPhone can translate from the image or if you will point your camera on the object (text in any language). It’s a miracle, lol
Download it
I own 9 Rex in perfect condition (with VTF of only 1,5 g). My ''Amercan brother'' Don's (Griffith)  Supremo ( Rex in build in headshell)  was without stylus. The new stylus is reripped by
''Expert stylus'' Uk. Expert stylus also provide styli for Decca.
This btw is the only  repair which ''Expertstlus'' can provide. 

So Expert will do a stylus repacement, but no other work? I was wondering if the suuspension or other damping materials in the cartridge can be adjusted or refurbished when the cartridge gets serviced. Mine happens to be playing well, but I just wondered what could be done when its time to send it in for service. 
neonknight, I ever started a thread about ''irreparable cartridges''
among which Sony XL series and ZYX which have ''closed 
acrylic bodies''  with no possibility to get acces to the inside of the
cart. I lost this way my Sony XL 88 D. If cantileverless carts were
easy to produce we would have more than just two: Decca and
Ikeda. But I may have some good news if I get permission to
talk about. 

Neon, it seems you have anxiety about repairing a cartridge that at the moment sounds “glorious”. Unless something has changed since you initiated this thread. If not, why not just relax and enjoy?

Factoid: two years ago while cartridge shopping in Tokyo I saw an Ikeda cartridge for sale that also had a kanji symbol on its side. I can’t say whether it’s the same symbol on your sample, but it’s evidence that the kanji doesn’t necessarily indicate a vintage model. However the cartridge was very expensive, so you can feel good about that.

Yes at this time the Ikeda is performing properly, and I get the good fortune of listening to it. However, I do not know its history, when it was built, how many hours were on it, and to be honest if it really is performing properly. The question I have is how to have it serviced when the time comes? I listen to it now, and have the Ortofon MC3000 MK II as a casual listening cartridge. But it would be quite reassuring if I knew what the pathway for service could be so I would be prepared for whenever that day comes. Perhaps even be preemptive and have it inspected now before something audible occurs. The problem is there really is no pathway to follow as Ikeda does not service these cartridges anymore, nor does Ana Mighty. It would be good to know who I can reach out to when the time comes.