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Reife Leistung

Von all den Bleistiften, die ich in den letzten Tagen schlauchgeschützt und kurbelgespitzt mit mir geführt und benutzt habe, hat es mir der „No. 9800″ des japanischen Herstellers Mitsubishi/uni besonders angetan.

Mitsubishi 9800

(Bilder zum Vergrößern anklicken)

Die Rückseite der Faltschachtel informiert:

Largest Production Quantity in the World
No other pencil in the world is produced in such a large quantity as this. This is proof that the versatile Mitsubishi No. 9800 pencil is used by a great many people around the world.

It has a specially processed smooth lead which leaves clear marks. Mitsubishi No. 9800 is the best pencil either for writing or for drafting.

Vergleichende Zahlen zu Produktion und Verbreitungsgrad des 9800 liegen mir nicht vor und „specially processed” sagt mir leider gar nichts, doch seine sehr hohe Qualität kann ich bestätigen: Material und Verarbeitung sind wirklich hervorragend, ebenso die Abgabe, die Schwärzung und die Radierbarkeit – der 9800 ist einfach klasse.

Mitsubishi 9800

Aber es sind nicht in erster Linie seine Qualität und seine Gebrauchseigenschaften, die den 9800 in meinen Augen so ansprechend machen, sondern seine Gestaltung, die wohl ganz bewusst altmodisch gehalten wurde. Im Gegensatz zu den meisten anderen Bleistiften aus aktueller Produktion kommt der in sehr dunklem Grün lackierte 9800 ohne Strichcode und EAN, was die goldfarbene und weiße Bedruckung insgesamt wohltuend aufgeräumt und auch vornehm wirken lässt; allein der Zusatz „GENERAL WRITING” wirkt nicht so passend (”MASTER WRITING” gibt es übrigens auch).

Mitsubishi 9800

Die Typografie empfinde ich als gelungen und geschmackvoll, wobei der gebogene Hinweis auf das Gründungsjahr des Unternehmens und das in Schreibschrift ausgeführte „Matured” wohlüberlegte und gekonnte Akzente darstellen. Bei letzterem bin ich übrigens ganz der ideale Konsument: Ich habe überhaupt keine Ahnung, was „Matured” in diesem Kontext bedeuten soll, finde es aber prima ;-)

Mitsubishi 9800

An dem der Schreibspitze abgewandten Ende des 9800 wartet eine kleine Besonderheit, und zwar eine schwarze, flach abgerundete und sorgfältig angebrachte Kunststoffkappe mit weiß aufgedrucktem Härtegrad; diese erleichtert die Identifizierung des Stifts.

Mitsubishi 9800

Der in sechs Härtegraden von 2H bis 2B angebotene Mitsubishi 9800 kostet im Dutzend 504 Yen (zur Zeit etwa 3,75 Euro) und ist damit zudem sehr preiswert.

Nachtrag vom 26.9.11: Hier heißt es, der 9800 hätte nun einen Strichcode. Schade!

Stichwörter: Mitsubishi

18 Kommentare zu „Reife Leistung”

  1. Pencil Anna

    Eventuell soll das „Matured” speziell darauf hinweisen, das eben „matured wood” verarbeitet wurde, und nicht „scrap wood”, „waste wood”, „juvenile wood” oder Zaunslatten. :-)
    Wahrscheinlich war es früher bei Erstherstellung dieses Bleistiftes noch nicht unbedingt üblich ausgewachsene Bäume zu nutzen.

  2. Lexikaliker

    Nun, der Hinweis „Matured Micro Graphite Lead” auf der Packung lässt mich annehmen, dass sich „Matured” nicht auf das Holz, sondern auf den Graphit bezieht. Vielleicht will man damit sagen, dass es sich beim verwendeten um „echten”, alten und nicht etwa um synthetisch hergestellten Graphit handelt (aber das ist reine Spekulation).

    Apropos Zaunlatten: Laut dieser Quelle (die Du ja schon kennst) hat Musgrave in den frühen Jahren Zaunpfahle aus Zedernholz für die Produktion von Bleistiften wiederverwertet.

  3. Robert M.

    Interesting. We have a lot of Mitsubishi 9800 in Taiwan, but they do not have the finished and printed butt caps like on yours here–they’re simply cut off and left unfinished. It’s possible that Taiwan has mostly old-stock though.

    The 9800 is a very nice pencil on the cheap, and the quality of finish, even with the unfinished butt-end, is very good for such an inexpensive pencil. There are numerous knockoffs of it here in Taiwan by companies like Liberty, but they always lack the quality finishing that goes into the Mitsubishi.

    The only real complaint I have of the design and typography is that the quote marks in „Mitsu-Bishi” are both end quotes.

  4. Lexikaliker

    Robert M., thank you for your comment and the details from Taiwan. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were different variants of the same pencil depending on the target market.

    You’re right, the leading quote mark is typographically incorrect – I have overlooked that detail.

  5. Koralatov

    The dozen (HB) I bought a year or two back from also had unfinished end-caps. I think I actually prefer them unfinished — the black looks a little odd with the green body. These are lovely pencils, and I especially like that they have a slightly thicker diameter than modern European and American pencils.

  6. Lexikaliker

    You’re right – the cap looks indeed a little odd. However, it is an interesting design element that one doesn’t see very often.

    I wonder if the newer ones with the bar code have a slightly thicker diameter too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitusbishi – like many other manufacturers – have decided to cut ten pencils from a sandwich instead of nine (as far as I know this is the common reason for the smaller diameter).

    Have you tried the Mitsubishi 9000? Very good lead, great design, thicker barrel, no bar code :-)

  7. Koralatov

    Is the cap painted, or is it a plastic cap glued on top? From the photos above it appears that it may be a plastic one. When it comes to painted cap pencils, I think Staedtler are the only ones who have really managed to do it in a way that I like. The Mitsubishi Hi-Uni and Tombow Mono 100’s plastic caps are very well done as well.

    The 9800s I have are barcoded stock (I had to check to be sure), and they’re definitely a little bit thicker than a Faber–Castell or Staedtler, so I find them more enjoyable to hold. They just feel more substantial. The wood mine are made from is more reddish than the wood in your photos, and smells different, so I don’t think the ones I have are cedar. Perhaps they switched to another wood in later production runs?

    I’ve never come across the Mitsubishi 9000, but googling them found me a source,, which appears almost identical to (perhaps another storefront for Bundoki?). Strangely, they have different stock than both Bundoki and, so they may actually be a different company. I’ll have to place an order some time, and get a few of the varieties I haven’t previously tried.

  8. Lexikaliker

    I haven’t disassembled a 9800 yet but to me it looks like they have a plastic cap glued on. – Yes, Staedtler’s way also appeals to me, especially with their Noris 120 – the yellow-black-white-red HB, introduced in 1963, is a design classic. By the way, I was lucky to see about 40 counterfeited Noris 120 but none of these had that cap with the wavy corner.

    I don’t know which wood Mitsubishi has used for my 9800, and when it comes to identify wood properly, I am totally lost. It’s just too difficult to me, especially in view of all the possibilities to treat wood with dye, aroma, waxes etc.

    Regarding the 9000: I will be happy to add a few to your package!

  9. Koralatov

    I’ve never seen a counterfeit Noris, or even any blatant knock-offs, but it seems like a slightly pointless endeavour considering its relatively low price.  I was always slightly amazed that noöne thought to produce counterfeit Everhard–Faber Blackwings though — at $25/pencil that would seem to justify the effort.

    The Noris is “the” pencil that comes to mind when I think about learning to write and primary school in general.  They were (maybe still are?) the standard pencil for school use in the UK.  Right up until she retired from teaching recently my mother would only buy Noris pencils and Rasoplast erasers for her class.  (Around age eight I defected over to Bic Matic mechanical pencils.)

    Identifying the wood used is a difficult one, because the Tradition uses cedar and I believe the Noris uses… something else, but they both look the same most of the time (sometimes the Tradition has darker wood).  I hadn’t really considered that the wood could be dyed or scented to make it more pleasing, but it makes sense.  I’ve tried several no-name pencils in the office that were definitely not made of cedar or anything close to it — they were either very pale and hard or pinkish-red and smelled “soapy”.  I can’t even hazard a guess as to what they were.

    I’d be thrilled to try a 9000.  Thank you!

  10. Lexikaliker

    I assume that the counterfeiters just want to benefit from the Noris’ popularity, maybe also with better sales for the rest of their products in mind. – The price of the Noris is great. Some German retailers offer that pencil for about 30 Euro-Cent, and that’s a real snip. By the way: I have recently bought some older Noris 120, with the larger diameter, the lettering in capitals and without bar code and EAN (definitely my favourite variant). I assume that they are about 20 years old, and when comparing the lead of that older Noris with the one of the current variant I was surprised. I have heard that the lead has been improved but I haven’t expected the newer to be so much better – it is a world of difference.

    Thank you for sharing your Noris experience! (Of course I have used that pencil in school too.) It is interesting to hear that the Noris has been the standard pencil for schools in the UK – I have a UK-made Noris with the imprint „Noris School Pencil”.

    The wood is also treated with waxes and other substances so that it can be cut easier (I assume this is the most important reason for treatment). I have heard that the wood is impregnated in pressure vessels but I can’t even provide bitty knowledge.

    Regarding the 9000: You’re welcome!

  11. Sola

    Oh wow - I just checked my „vintage” 9800 and it says „Patented” instead of „Matured”!!!! So the imprint did change!! I will send you one later for comparison :)

  12. Lexikaliker

    Oh! That's interesting. Maybe the patent has expired in the meantime so they had to change the imprint. – Thank you! I am sure I will enjoy the pencil and the comparison.

  13. gianni

    I this pencil very different from the mitsubishi hi-uni?
    I use mostly H and HB

  14. Lexikaliker

    I find it very hard to tell the difference between the 9800 HB and the Hi-uni HB. Both are very, very good but I have the impression that the Hi-uni glides slightly smoother and is better for shading, i. e. allows more grey shades by reacting more sensitively to changes in writing pressure. However, the Hi-uni HB seems to be a tiny bit softer than the 9800 HB, and this could explain these differences.

  15. Guillermo de la Maza

    I recently got my first samples of this pencil and, again, seems am late to the party. The cap is no longer there, the barcode now is. The lovely green paint and gold foiling are still here, as are the couple of end quote marks and the asterisk-sided grade in white; cedar got lost along the way too.

    The box design is almost identical, save for a few Japanese characters that were added just below the Mitsu script.

    Performance-wise, I truly like the feel of the HB cores. It is smooth without getting waxy and the tonal value is spot on. I like this core better than that of the 9850 but kind of prefer the HB core on Tombow’s 2558. Compared to the Hi-Uni HB, I prefer the 9800 for writing only. The smoothness and graphite deposition on the Hi-Uni are better suited to drawing tasks in my opinion.

    Is this pencil still on your fav list?

  16. Lexikaliker

    Thank you for the details on the updated 9800. What do think which kind of wood is used now? My newer 9800s are still made from cedar. – I still like this pencil but it is no longer one of my favourites.

  17. Guillermo de la Maza

    I’m no expert at discerning wood, but it looks pretty much like the one used on the Mitsubishi 9000 pencils. The 9800EW does have Cedar wood and it looks quite different in color and texture to the standard 9800.

  18. Lexikaliker

    As far as I know the Mitsubishi 9000 is made from cedar too. – Wood for pencils is treated in different ways, and this alters colour and scent. Besides that, there are different qualities of cedar, and I wouldn't be surprised if their texture differs at least a bit.


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