Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

In mei­ner Samm­lung ruht seit Jah­ren eine Kost­bar­keit aus Japan, die ich mir zwar schon oft ange­schaut, aber aus uner­find­li­chen Grün­den hier noch nicht gezeigt habe.

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Bereits die Ver­pa­ckung aus Stoff, Leder und Holz beeindruckt.

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Der so geschmack­voll umhüllte Blei­stift ist ein Mitsu­bi­shi Hi-uni HB, doch statt der übli­chen Lackie­rung trägt er ein Gewand aus Japan­lack (Uru­shi) und keine Kennzeichnung.

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Von die­sem Blei­stift wur­den vor etwa fünf Jah­ren nur jeweils 30 Stück in schwarz, braun und dun­kel­blau gefertigt.

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Durch eine Unter­bre­chung des far­bi­gen Lacks am Ende des Stifts ist die Mase­rung des Hol­zes zu sehen. – Das Design ist zurück­hal­tend und die Ver­ar­bei­tung exzel­lent, und so las­sen mich der Blei­stift und seine Ver­pa­ckung immer wie­der staunen.

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

Die­ses kost­bare Stück war ein Geschenk von Ste­phen von pen­cil talk, der es auch in sei­nem Web­log vor­ge­stellt hat. Thank you again very much, Stephen!

17 Kommentare zu „Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan“

  1. This pen­cil and its pouch amaze me too – it is truly a mas­ter­piece of pen­cil manu­facturing. – I won­der what the history of the pouch and its design is.

  2. Ja, wirk­lich, und so konnte ich es auch noch nicht übers Herz brin­gen, die­sen Blei­stift anzu­spit­zen und zu benut­zen. Wahr­schein­lich kommt er irgend­wann mal in eine Vitrine …

  3. Gun­ther, I hesi­tate to add this because if you got this from a fri­end you will alre­ady know of its pro­ven­ance, but I will do it any­way for the bene­fit of the rea­ders of your blog.

    This lac­que­red pen­cil was pro­du­ced in limi­ted quan­ti­ties to com­me­mo­rate the 50th anni­ver­sary of the Uni pen­cil. It seems many peo­ple bought it at the spe­cial anni­ver­sary sale held at Itoya. A spe­cial Uni pen­cil hol­der was also offe­red there.


    „The art of Japa­nese lac­quering is dying out in Japan for various reasons (cost, length of time requi­red, incon­sis­tent supply/demand, lack of suc­ces­sors to artisans etc.), but the big­gest and most serious of them all is that Uru­shi has lost its con­nec­tion to ever­y­day things. It is also dif­fi­cult to apply that art to mostly Wes­tern things we use in daily life. In that respect, the efforts of Mitsu­bi­shi are pro­foundly meaningful. To apply Uru­shi to a thing as com­mon­place and peri­s­ha­ble as a pen­cil is to cele­brate craft­sman­ship and qua­lity during that brief time, while it lasts.“ (loose paraphrasing)

  4. The aut­hor also men­ti­ons that for the Japa­nese peo­ple of his gene­ra­tion, Uni pen­cils were a luxury. When he was a stu­dent in middle school, there was an Eng­lish tea­cher who used to buy 1 dozen packs of Uni at the sta­tio­nery store oppo­site the school. He remem­bers thin­king at that time that Eng­lish tea­chers were pro­ba­bly bet­ter paid than tea­chers of other subjects.

    Some com­pa­nies and brands in Japan enjoy more pres­tige because of such strong affec­tion and posi­tive memo­ries peo­ple have like this. Mitsu­bi­shi and Pilot are two such brands in the sta­tio­nery world. Maybe it is simi­lar in Ger­many, for ins­tance Faber-Castell and Staedt­ler being the two great brands, and the others like Lyra and Sta­bilo have their own fans but are con­sider­a­bly smaller?

  5. Wow, that’s very exci­ting! These details are impres­sive so you don’t need to hesi­tate to add them. – By the way, I have that hol­der too; it is an extra­or­di­nary item.

    The detail about the tea­cher is inte­res­t­ing, and I enjoy that the aut­hor of the article has included it.

    Regar­ding the pres­tige: Yes, many Ger­man com­pa­nies and their brands cul­ti­vate such a pres­tige, and it is very important to them to keep it up. Just look at Faber-Castell and their efforts to main­tain their image of nobi­lity! Howe­ver, I have never been very impres­sed by it; Staedtler’s ratio­nal and tech­ni­cal approach has appea­led – and still appeals – much more to me (and I think that their pen­cils are bet­ter in many regards). I can’t say much about Schwan and Lyra. Both had a lot of really great pro­ducts but I have the impres­sion that at least Stabilo-Schwan’s time is over; they were bought by FILA and have laid of seve­ral hundred employees some years ago. It is a pity – I have old cata­lo­gues and books which show old pro­ducts, and it makes me sad to see what has been lost.

  6. That is indeed sad. I never knew Sta­bilo or Lyra at their best but I still have a good impres­sion of their cute designs – a sou­ve­nir from the Munich Pina­ko­thek many years ago was a Ferby-style pen­cil and I still have a soft spot for it ;)

    I don’t like Faber-Castell much eit­her but for slightly dif­fe­rent reasons. First is that their green pen­cils are too light and hard for my taste. And second is that they seem to make their foun­tain pens exactly like pen­cils, alt­hough foun­tain pens and pen­cils have a totally dif­fe­rent mecha­nism and aes­the­tic. I have the same pro­blem with Caran d’Ache – their pen­cils are superb and I love the brand, but the pens are pretty medio­cre (and over­pri­ced) as wri­ting instru­ments. Well, as objets d’art, they are wonderful :)

  7. I am espe­ci­ally fond of the old Sta­bilo micro 8000. Later vari­ants of this pen­cil – pro­du­ced in the Czech Repu­blic – didn’t come close. Stabilo’s Tone range, available from 1992 to 2003, was also very impres­sive. – As far as I know the Ferby colour pen­cils are still available but I don’t know how the cur­rent qua­lity is.

    I also find Faber-Castell’s pen­cils quite hard. Bes­i­des that, the green colour has become dar­ker over the deca­des, and tog­e­ther with the ver­bose prin­ting I don’t find their design very aes­the­tic. – It may sound odd to talk about a pencil’s design and whe­ther it’s plea­sing or not but to me it’s important :-)

    It is inte­res­t­ing to hear what you say about foun­tain pens from Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache. I am not fami­liar with foun­tain pens (I only use one, namely the Super5) so I will keep my eyes open. – Have you seen the new foun­tain pens from Staedt­ler, pre­sen­ted at last year’s Paper­world?

  8. Yes, they have arri­ved in Canada (where I am now). I have mixed fee­lings about it. My love for Staedt­ler is very new so at that time I wasn’t fee­ling very kindly towards steel-nibbed pens that cost upwards of $150! Japa­nese com­pa­nies still make fine gold-nibbed pens far below the price Staedt­ler is asking. And I have to con­fess that I hate the Wopex. It is uns­har­penable and it feels like pla­s­tic. So the pre­mium pen­cil wasn’t very impres­sive either.

    But I hope they will evolve. They still have to find a signa­ture shape that works for them, I think, and work on the mate­ri­als (in order to make foun­tain pens you need to learn to handle pla­s­tic well, a point which I don’t think comes natu­rally to pencilmakers).

    As for the modern Faber-Castells: I hate the http://www.faber-castell.com imprin­ted on the pen­cil :( I hope Staedt­ler doesn’t fol­low! And the Ferby I have is the stubby gra­phite one, the lead isn’t that impres­sive but I just love the shape :)

  9. It is true what you say about Staedt­ler – they have pro­du­ced foun­tain pens before (unlike some other brands), and they do make a lot of plastic-based pro­ducts. Still, I find it inte­res­t­ing that the two great pen­cil makers, Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache, tend to stick to wood and metal… 

    The phi­lo­so­phy behind the Wopex is lau­da­ble and I actually feel a bit uncom­for­ta­ble with mys­elf for not liking it. After all, it is cruel not to like some­thing just because it doesn’t „feel“ right, when it per­forms per­fectly well and con­ser­ves trees. My expe­ri­ence with the Wopex has been really brief so I must try it again in the near future :)

  10. I don’t belong to the tar­get group for Staedtler’s luxury range and don’t have appro­priate cri­te­ria so I can’t say any­thing about it. The foun­tain pen I use costs about 20 Euro :-)

    I find the Wopex exci­ting for its tech­no­logy, and it is always a plea­sure to learn more about it (e. g. to see new vari­ants). Howe­ver, the Wopex did not become my stan­dard pen­cil; I still pre­fer wood­case and mecha­ni­cal ones (alt­hough my favou­rite pen­cil, the Pen­tel Black Poly­mer 999, has a poly­mer lead too).

    Staedt­ler is not new to foun­tain pens, and since they also pro­duce the pla­s­tic housings for their pens, mar­kers, high­ligh­ters etc. (at least as far as I know) I am sure they know how to handle pla­s­tic well.

    Yes, I wouldn’t be very happy with http://www.staedtler.com on the Lumo­graph and the Noris eit­her. Howe­ver, those who look at a pen­cil this way may be in the mino­rity ;-) – „Ferby“ is the name for quite a few gra­phite and colour pen­cils (I espe­ci­ally like the two-coloured ones).

  11. Oh, I will try the colour pen­cils too. I think I have seen it in stores actually but didn’t know they used the new technology.

    One other thing about Staedtler’s line of foun­tain pens is that it so reminds one of Faber-Castell, you won­der how despe­rate Staedt­ler was. It is releasing a lot of models at once, inclu­ding one that costs more than 2000 dol­lars. Staedt­ler is an estab­lished com­pany with an illus­trious history, so maybe there was no other way of doing it, but for ins­tance you could compare it with the stra­te­gies of ano­ther foun­tain pen upstart like TWSBI of Tai­wan. As far as I know they star­ted out from one or two basic models, desi­gned it beau­tifully (trans­pa­rent pla­s­tic) but kept to steel nibs and the­r­e­fore the price(less than $50) down, and sold directly to cus­to­mers. Now that they have gai­ned a cus­to­mer base and exper­tise, they are releasing higher-end models, and no doubt a pre­mium model is in the works (pure con­jec­ture on my part). Any­way Staedt­ler seems to be taking a gam­ble but they may be big enough to with­stand any shocks. I would be thril­led to see them do well.

  12. As far as I know most of the new Staedt­ler pro­ducts are of wood and/or metal (they even use lea­ther for some). – Regar­ding the pro­ducts from Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache: So far I have only loo­ked clo­ser at the „Pen of the Year“ from Faber-Castell which was on dis­play at the Paper­world and has always fea­tured an unsual aspect (like the one from 2009 which was par­ti­ally made from hor­se­hair).

    The Wopex is much bet­ter than all extru­ded pen­cils before (I have writ­ten some­thing about ear­lier attempts from other manu­fac­tu­r­ers here), and even colour pen­cils made with that tech­no­logy have been intro­du­ced by Staedt­ler last year.

  13. Yes, try them! I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

    Your obser­va­tions are inte­res­t­ing. I don’t know the moti­va­tion behind Staedtler’s luxury range but I truly hope that it won’t result in a shock but will be a suc­cessful endea­vour. Bes­i­des that, I don’t know if there are still enough cus­to­mers to address with foun­tain pens and the like or if this will result in a pre­da­tory competition.

    I came across that trans­pa­rent foun­tain pen by TWSBI quite while ago. It looks very nice! I guess that in order to be suc­cessful in the future too they can’t but increase their assort­ment depth and include expen­sive pro­ducts, if only to address a lan­ger range of customers.

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