Ein bemer­kens­wer­ter Blei­stift ist der über­di­men­sio­nale Jumbo-uni von Mitsu­bi­shi, der ein­zeln auf einer Karte abge­ben wurde.


Mit einer Länge von 24,9 cm und einem Durch­mes­ser von 11 mm (Schlüs­sel­weite 10 mm) über­trifft er sein nor­mal­gro­ßes Pen­dant deutlich.


Bis auf den Zusatz „Jumbo“ sind die Auf­dru­cke nahezu gleich; Strich­code und Blind­prä­gung gibt es auf dem Jumbo-uni nicht.


Er trägt aller­dings zwei zusätz­li­che Kenn­zeich­nun­gen, doch …


… ich habe keine Ahnung, auf was sich »85th ”Thanks­gi­ving” anni­ver­s­ary« bezieht; so ken­ne ich auch nicht das Alter die­ses Bleistifts.


Die Zei­chen „非売品“ bedeu­ten sinn­ge­mäß „Nicht zum Ver­kauf“.


Die Mine des Jumbo-uni ist 3,5 mm dick.


Ein schö­nes Stück!

18 Kommentare zu „Jumbo-uni“

  1. Gun­ther, I can help you out here. (From your posts I had thought you somehow spoke Japa­nese, but…?). The first page I hit upon says that the Jumbo-Uni was a limited-edition pen­cil pro­du­ced in 1971 to com­me­mo­rate the company’s 85th anni­ver­s­ary (Mitsu­bi­shi Pen­cils was foun­ded in 1887). It was not for sale but was given away as a free gift to cus­to­mers who bought 1-dozen packs. Evi­dently there was a ちびユニ(„shorty-Uni“) in 1981 too.


    „Thanks­gi­ving“ is pro­bably an embarr­as­sing mis­trans­la­tion. Japa­nese com­pa­nies do a lot of those „thank you to our faith­ful cus­to­mers“ kind of spe­cial campaigns/sales at every oppor­tu­nity and I would guess this was just such an event ;)

  2. http://www.nttcom.co.jp/comzine/no023/long_seller/

    This is a much more inte­res­ting and aut­ho­ri­ta­tive article.

    When Uni first went on sale in Octo­ber 1958, Mitsu­bi­shi exe­cu­ti­ves were in fact worried about its pro­spects. At that time, you could go to a public bath for 16 yen. A cup of cof­fee cost 50 yen. In that era, to price one pen­cil at 50 yen was auda­cious – a great risk. If the gam­ble fai­led, Mitsu­bi­shi would not be able to sell even its 30-yen pen­cils. But it was a runa­way suc­cess. It had rode the wave of the Japa­nese eco­no­mic boom at a per­fect time. The sales were such that Mitsu­bi­shi had to switch to boxes that could be machine-made in its sixth year of Uni pro­duc­tion because the ori­gi­nal hand­made boxes could not keep up with demand.

    The pri­cier Unis made bet­ter pro­fits for Mitsu­bi­shi, and the com­pany spa­red no effort in pro­mo­ting the brand. It put up dedi­ca­ted Uni cor­ners in sta­tio­nery stores. It also laun­ched a num­ber of free givea­way cam­pai­gns, such as the Jumbo-Uni in 1971 and the ユニ坊主 (Uni-bozu) era­ser (both pic­tu­red) in 1972. Child­ren often bought Unis for the giveaways. [..]

  3. That part was only the part con­cer­ned with the Jumbo-Uni. I think the fea­ture was part of an ongo­ing series high­ligh­t­ing top-quality Japa­nese pro­ducts („long-sellers“) and it talks about Japa­nese pen­cil pro­duc­tion and artis­ans and qua­lity con­trol too. It might be worth rea­ding – and if you need help feel free to ask :)

  4. Sola, thank you for these exci­ting details and for your offer! I don’t speak Japa­nese so I need every help I can get :-) I will try to access the page’s con­tents with an auto­ma­ted trans­la­tion; maybe this will help.

    Do you know of the brochure which was issued on the occas­sion of Tombow’s 100th anni­ver­s­ary in 2013? I was lucky to get a copy, and I find it abso­lutely ama­zing for several rea­sons. I men­tion this because both the arti­cles you have lin­ked to and the brochure include cul­tu­ral aspects which make a dif­fe­rent view and a bet­ter under­stan­ding of the company’s decisi­ons pos­si­ble (of course this is espe­cially inte­res­ting in view of the big dif­fe­ren­ces of Wes­tern and Japa­nese culture).

  5. Yes, I agree that there are dif­fe­ren­ces, but there is also a real affi­nity bet­ween Ger­many and Japan too, two great engi­nee­ring nati­ons :) There are simi­la­ri­ties in cor­po­rate cul­ture too, one based on small-and mid-sized firms taking decisi­ons for the lon­ger term… or so they say in the news, don’t they?

    I know there was a limited-edition anni­ver­s­ary tin set of pen­cils, but I didn’t try to get them or the brochure because I’m not a Tom­bow fan. I’m actually not that much of a Uni fan eit­her, but I have a spe­cial affec­tion for Mitsu­bi­shi because they were the pen­cils of my child­hood. If there are pages in the brochure you abso­lutely need to read and you find it a hassle to put through the trans­la­tor, scan it and email it to me and I will trans­late it for you. I still wasn’t sure yes­ter­day whe­ther you could speak Japa­nese or not ;)

  6. Gun­ther, I think I will work on the Com­zine arti­cle, I only skim­med it yes­ter­day and I would like to read it for mys­elf too. I’m pretty fast so it won’t take up much time. I will send it to you once I finish – but maybe you have other arti­cles you are curious about? Don’t hesi­tate to ask :)

  7. Yes, there is an affi­nity, but I think that the dif­fe­ren­ces must not be igno­red. I am not very fami­liar with Japan’s cor­po­rate cul­ture but e. g. in Ger­many the rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween com­pany and em­ployee is not as close as it is in Japan were it also shapes a large part of the employee’s free time. Bes­i­des that there are con­si­derable dif­fe­ren­ces in dealing with mista­kes (at least as far as I know). But I am no expert, and the cor­po­rate cul­ture both in Japan and Ger­many will most likely vary across a wide range.

    Thank you very much for your offer but for­tu­n­a­tely my copy of the brochure is in Eng­lish :-) By the way, the lay­out and the design of the brochure is stun­ning too. – May I ask why you aren’t a Tom­bow fan? I’m not a die-hard fan eit­her but some pro­ducts are really great. – Regar­ding child­hood: I have fond memo­ries of using Staedtler and Eber­hard Faber pen­cils as a young boy so this might have shaped my rela­ti­ons­hip to these brands :-)

    Re your trans­la­tion: Wow, that’s great! I would love to read it. – Thank you for your offer. There is not­hing which comes to my mind at the moment but if it is OK with you I’ll take up on your offer on the next occasion.

  8. The rea­son I’m not a Tom­bow fan is pro­bably cul­tu­ral. In Korea, Tom­bow was and is first and fore­most an art pen­cil. Art stu­dents live and brea­the Tom­bow 4B. Also, there are many vari­ants of the Tom­bow avail­able : the Mono 100, Mono R, Mono J, etc. etc. But it remains an artist’s tool and I am not an artist. Simple :)

    For ordi­nary stu­dents the tool of choice would be mecha­ni­cal pen­cils. Asian stu­dents are intro­du­ced very early on to mecha­ni­cal pen­cils, and there are many avail­able. This is where ano­t­her dif­fe­rence emer­ges bet­ween Mitsu­bi­shi and Tom­bow: Mitsu­bi­shi is a big com­pany and a major player, so it pro­du­ces all kinds of pens and pen­cils, so even if you move on from pen­cils you stay with the brand. With Tom­bow there isn’t that much of an oppor­tu­nity to deve­lop any kind of affi­nity for it, unless you hap­pen to study art. 

    I know that Tom­bow also has a long history behind it and it also makes gene­ral wri­ting pen­cils, and if you ask a Japa­nese per­son her ans­wer might be dif­fe­rent, but I doubt it. Mitsu­bi­shi is just too big and ubi­qui­tous and you come to love it :)

  9. Thank you for sharing the cul­tu­ral aspects which are almost unac­ces­si­ble to those not fami­liar with the lan­guage in these coun­tries. Yes, I can believe that a pencil’s image can cause people turn away from it.

    Re 4B: This exp­lains why this grade appears more often than other soft gra­des (at least I have the impres­sion). There are at least two pen­cils from Tom­bow and Mitsu­bi­shi which are only avail­able in 4B and 6B, inclu­ding this one.

    I was (and still am) sur­pri­sed about the variety of mecha­ni­cal pen­cils from Japan and their ingenu­ity (just think of Pilot’s Shaker mecha­nism or the Mitusbishi/uni Kuru Toga). Mitsubishi’s range is indeed remar­kable – I didn’t know how much they offer until I got a cata­lo­gue from 2008.

    Are there any sta­tis­tics about the mar­ket share of Tom­bow and Mitsu­bi­shi pencils?

  10. Re 4B: yes, this is indeed the „stan­dard“ grade for art stu­dents. Maybe in Europe stu­dents are freer to choose?

    I have orde­red the Pen­manship pen­cil too (along with the 9850, ano­t­her recent dis­co­very) and I am loo­king for­ward to it!

    There is an inte­res­ting page that shows the over­all sta­tis­tics for the year 2012-2013. The first graph shows the over­all figu­res for the indus­try, the second chan­ges in volume over the years, and the third lists the top 10 play­ers by sales figures.


    The vast majo­rity of the com­pa­nies lis­ted are Office Depot-type firms that sell ever­ything from stap­lers to fur­ni­ture. The con­su­mer brands fami­liar to us are: Kokuyo at No. 1 (wow), Pilot at No. 6, Mitsu­bi­shi Pen­cils (not to be con­fu­sed with the con­glo­me­rate) at No. 8, and pos­si­bly King Jim (makes label prin­ting machi­nes and plastic binders).

    Links below the list show fur­ther lis­ting by total sales figu­res, net income, num­ber of employees etc. and I am happy to see that Mitsu­bi­shi and Pilot make it to the top 3 in the bet­ter lists :)

  11. http://www.nikkei.com/news/print-article/?R_FLG=0&bf=0&ng=DGXZZO35917650W1A021C1000000

    This is ano­t­her arti­cle you might want to run on Google Translate.

    The gist of the arti­cle is that alt­hough the stationery/office pro­ducts indus­try is shrin­king year by year, the num­ber of bou­ti­ques, pro­ducts, fairs and over­all con­su­mer inte­rest have grown expo­nen­ti­ally, so much that people talk of a „sta­tio­nery boom“. Books and maga­zi­nes pro­li­fe­rate on the sub­ject. This curious phe­no­me­non can para­do­xi­cally be exp­lai­ned in part by the endu­ring reces­sion – as com­pa­nies cut down on sta­tio­nery expen­ses, indi­vi­dual con­su­mers seek that „small, ever­y­day plea­sure“ of having beau­ti­ful things around them, which is rela­tively inex­pen­sive com­pa­red to other goods.

  12. Re Tom­bow: I went through all the links in the first arti­cle and Tom­bow does not appear in any of them. Can it be that they are owned by a dif­fer­ently named com­pany. I don’t think so. I also don’t see Pen­tel. If I’m not mista­ken, it just means that they are very small ;)

  13. Oh and I for­got to add: the only Tom­bow pro­duct I remem­ber from my youth, apart from the Mono 100s, are the era­sers. They make fan­tastic era­sers, but this too is eclip­sed by the Ain!

  14. Thank you – this exp­lains the popu­la­rity of that grade. I am not fami­liar with the choices Eurpoean [art] stu­dents have so I don’t know if there is some kind of standard.

    You will enjoy both the Pen­manship pen­cil and the 9850. If you com­pare the first with the Mistu­bi­shi Hi-uni in the cor­re­spon­ding gra­des you will notice that the Pen­manship wri­tes con­si­der­ably smoot­her. If I remem­ber cor­rectly Mistu­bi­shi state that a spe­cial imp­reg­na­ting oil is used but I think that there is more to that pen­cil, e. g. a finer ground gra­phite and clay or – even more pro­bable to me – a dif­fe­rent pro­cess in which the mix­ture is kne­a­ded lon­ger and fir­mer as to com­press the mate­rial more and to break open con­glo­me­ra­tes. To use this pen­cil is an exci­ting experience!

    Thank you for the link to the sta­tis­tics; I will have a clo­ser look. – Unfor­tu­n­a­tely the second link doesn’t work.

    The phe­no­men you are describ­ing is indeed curious!

    The fact that neit­her Tom­bow nor Pen­tel appear in that list is strange – both aren’t small com­pa­nies, at least seen from here ;-)

    Yes, Tombow’s era­sers are great. I am not fami­liar with the Ain era­sers (their many vari­ants puz­zle me) but the best I have found so far is the Hino­de­wa­shi Matomaru-kun; its only draw­back is the fra­gi­lity but if you hold it close to the tip this isn’t a problem.

  15. Pingback: The Pencils of My Childhood: Mitsubishi 9800 and others | pencilsandotherthings

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