Mitsubishi 9800 Pencils

£2.50

The box has hardly changed since 1946, when the Mitsubishi Pencil Company released the 9800, a design classic of Japanese stationery and still one of the best in terms of looks and performance. Mitsubishi was established in 1887 after its founder Mr Masaki having seen a pencil in 1878 at the Paris World Exhibition, sought to replicate the product (then a newly mass manufactured implement). Before then, stationery products were exclusively imported from Germany but Japan going through rapid modernisation and industrialisation during what is known as the Meiji Restoration became able to develop its own industry. 

Graphite from Kagoshima prefecture, the most southern part of Japan, was mixed to clay from Tochigi prefecture (region neighbouring Tokyo), encased in the best wood from Hokkaido (the northern island of Japan) and voila the Japanese pencil was born. All together it took 15 years in research and tooling development for Mr Masaki to set up his factory - but how wonderful that, where in most places pencil making has mostly disappeared (in the US, for example), it remains a thriving and quality industry in Japan. 
Artists and pencil lovers alike turn to this nation to produce the best available. The 9800 is top of the list - dark, ultra smooth, good looks in packaging and lacquer alike - it comes highly recommended for sketching and writing. 

2B Grade