Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

Let’s continue celebrating the new year by looking at a rare and special pencil.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

Sold individually with a cloth pouch and leather strap closure, it is meant to be a masterpiece of pencil production.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

The pencil is a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB, finished with a traditional Japanese lacquering process. I am not privy to the technical details.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

The pencil was produced in black, navy blue, and brown finishes, with thirty pencils produced in each colour. There are no markings or text on the pencil. The only accent is a section of woodgrain near the cap.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

The pencil in the photo is the navy blue version, the only colour I was able to purchase.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

The charms are on the subtle side, and the design is very restrained and simple.

Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil

21 Replies to “Mitsubishi Hi-uni lacquer pencil”

  1. Very nice! Thanks for sharing images of your recent acquisition. It’s safe to assume that beautiful pencil will never meet sharpener nor pen knife that would threaten its pristine appearance.

  2. Lovely pencil, but the extremely limited quantities make me agree with the previous commenter…most of them will remain untouched collectible articles. Traditional lacquering sure can be beautiful (I’m familiar with the processes), but obviously mass-production isn’t much of an option. Being limited to 90 pieces definitely puts a dent in the hopes of most of us acquiring 2 or more (one to sharpen and use once or twice during particularly epiphanic moments, the other to keep in a safe place).

    I was really hoping the limited edition Hi-Uni HB or B would be something somewhat obtainable, not unlike the Super-DX. Ahh well, such is life!

  3. Congratulations, it looks like an ultra nice pencil – a Nakaya of pencildom. But how does it write? I mean who would ever use a limited edition pencil like this one? I’m not really a fan of L.E. – to me it is against the idea of the product, I wouldn’t know what to do with such an item, if I owned one – frame it and look at it in the long evenings of winter? Hmmm – but is sure is a nice pencil. And of course it takes some courage and shows some spirit to manufacture such an item.


  4. A wonderful looking writing instrument. I agree with the other comments; such limited numbers make this an extremely rare collector’s item that will likely never be sharpened and used. Since I’ll never see one in person, I’m glad that you were able to post these pictures!

  5. im just a sucker for pretty objects like these! such a lucky dog for snagging one! well, not so lucky, actually! its all due (directly or indirectly) to the hard work you put into this site, im sure!

  6. Absolutely marvellous! The wrapping is also very appealing – a real highlight and a proof that production and presentation even of high-quality products can be improved. I wonder what’s at the root of the performance of the Japanese designers and manufacturers. Thanks for sharing the nice pictures of an item that would certainly not be availabilty at ye olde stationery shoppe ;-)

  7. I disagree with many of the commenters here. Unless one planned on selling the pencil later in life, then how could one NOT sharpen it and try it? If only for a few words? Otherwise, why bother creating it at all? To not use it would be absurd; sacrilege, even.

    Plus, this pencil is another argument in favor of your publication: larger/better images, and you could show how it writes.

    Yet, as others HAVE said: Thank you for sharing your good fortune.

  8. I think this one is really nice, but I would be soooooo tempted to write with it.
    Would it have the same, normal HB core? is it thicker? Is the pencil the same size as regular Hi-Uni’s?
    One last question? Could you make a photo of the whole wrapping/cloth?

    Thanks for sharing this one!

  9. Please accept my appreciation for the many thoughtful comments.

    I’m surprised how positive most of the reactions are – this pencil is challenging to appreciate, and in some ways, an anti-pencil – not a commodity, not an office staple, not easy to acquire, and possibly, in the eyes of some, not to be used?

    In person, this pencil initially caused surprise – it seemed very ordinary in many ways. Yet, one realizes that superb understated finishing can constitute another sort of excellence.

    To answer some specific questions –

    To sharpen and use? I became aware of these handmade and limited run lacquered pencils perhaps a year or two ago. I decided to acquire some samples, and this pencil was not my first choice.

    It turns out – there may be several options. They are hard to obtain outside of Japan, but it may be that the supply sources require introduction to the potential demand from elsewhere.

    Despite this – would it be wrong to sharpen a creation like this? I’ve had the same debate about handmade journals, and think not. They were meant to be used!

    So I do anticipate sharpening a fancy lacquered pencil – whether this one or another. I’ll have to work at finding an appropriate paper to pair it with!

    It being a Hi-Uni finished by alternate means – it should write like any other Hi-Uni. In fact, this was an appealing aspect for me – it isn’t an unknown – just an alternate finish of a standard pencil.

    At least some of these pencils (and this particular one) were sold by Itoya in Tokyo. If the colour scheme appeals to you, they still have (Mitsubishi) lacquered mechanical pencils available.

    Alec, I will try and get a photo of the full cloth enclosure.

    Finally, this post saw the blog’s two thousandth comment! Thank you Speedmaster!

  10. Hi PencilAdmin,

    Thanks for the long comment and the promised picture.
    I have to admid I ordered one as well, hopefuly black.
    I even thought of ordering two, just one to try and use and one to collect and preserve.
    But the price stopped me from ordering two.

    2000 comments! that is a nice milestone, congratulations!

  11. I am extremely glad to hear/read that you will indeed use the pencil. I hope you are wrong about it being like any other Hi-Uni—instead, I hope it is as special as its finish.

    However, I am extremely bummed about missing out on being the 2000th comment by only hours. Ah, well.

  12. Hi Stephen,

    Wow! this is truly a masterpiece. I tried itoya website but it is in Japanese. Do you have a “cheat sheet” to order this extraordinary pencil. Thanks

  13. Hi Samy,

    Ito-ya only ships within Japan, and these pencils are sold out at their online shop. (There may be other vendors.)

    I anticipate a similar pencil line being available in the fall of 2009, if you can wait. As well, there are other “small run” and even hand lacquered pencils out there. None of these are available online, even within Japan, as far as I know.

    There seems to be some interest in pencils of this calibre. If only there was a “commission your own super high end lacquered pencil” online ordering form somewhere out there!

  14. I have checked through acontact in Japan who went to Ito-ya and found the pencil sold out. I hope to get one of the new ones the pencil admin mentioned in the Fall

  15. I don’t think I’d ever want such a nice pencil, I’d never want to use it. If I ever get something like this I’d want it to be something that would last forever. Or at least something I don’t have to shave pieces off of.

  16. Hi,

    This is great site, I had no idea there were so many choices and now I am hooked, both to your blog and also want to try various choices you have presented.
    I am curious to know, how much one of these cost (if one was able to find one in Japan).

    Thank you

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