A.W. Faber Pestalozzi Krokier-Etui Nr. 7673 Mitsubishi Kouhitsu Shosha 

Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan

In meiner Sammlung schlummert 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!

Stichwörter: Mitsubishi

17 Kommentare zu „Eine Kostbarkeit aus Japan”

  1. Sean

    I’m as amazed now as I was when I saw it at PencilTalk in 2009…

  2. Lexikaliker

    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.

  3. Adair

    Einfach wunderschoen!

  4. Lexikaliker

    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 …

  5. Adair

    Dahin gehoert er genau, in eine Vitrine. So ein Schatz!

  6. Lexikaliker

    Jetzt fehlt nur noch die Vitrine :-)

  7. Sola

    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)

  8. Sola

    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?

  9. Lexikaliker

    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.

  10. Sola

    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 :)

  11. Lexikaliker

    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?

  12. Sola

    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 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 :)

  13. Lexikaliker

    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 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).

  14. Sola

    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 :)

  15. Lexikaliker

    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.

  16. Sola

    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.

  17. Lexikaliker

    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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