24 Comments

  1. Henrik

    Thanks – it has been some time since we had a review of a pencil – like in the “good old days” when the revolution was young and the future was bright :-). Us light writers have too few pencils to choose from, but this one does it.

  2. These are definitely among my favorites; the epitome of Japanese pencil-making today. They and the Mono 100s are so close, but I think the Hi-Unis (unii? uniorum?) just barely edge them out. Truth be told though, that opinion vacillates. :)

  3. Have you tried their penmanship pencil? For me at least, it’s the smoothest pencil I’ve ever tried—including the Eberhard Faber Blackwing.

  4. John

    You had six references to Palomino pencils in a review of a Mitsubishi pencil. Puleez! I start to doubt your objectivity.
    You could have mentioned Tombow pencils, another excellent Japanese pencil that resembles Mitsubishi in style and quality.
    I’m surprised you did not know that Japanese pencils tend to be softer than European pencils marked at the same degree of hardness.
    If you are in New York, you can get some versions of the Mitsubishi at Kinokuniya, and Tombow at Pearl Art.

    • I compared the Hi-Uni (an unfamiliar pencil to Americans) with the Palomino (a pencil a lot of readers are familiar with). We don’t review pencils in a vacuum. If I had said that the Hi-Uni is dark and smooth, those adjectives are pretty relative.

      It’s also no secret that the blue HB Palomino is one of my favorite pencils. We never claim to be completely unbiased (if that’s even possible). I reference a pencil that (A) I like a lot and that (B) is something familiar to a lot of Comrades. The point was: If you like the Palomino (a pencil a lot of people like and have used), you might like a Hi-Uni (a pencil fewer readers have tried).

      There’s nothing nefarious going on.

      Where did I say I didn’t know that Japanese pencils are softer? I believe I said that they are:

      “I should mention that these pencils are also noticeably wider than most pencils. I am told this is a quality of Japanese pencils, along with darker cores. If you’re a wide-fingered Comrade like me, this is a good quality. They are certainly not so much wider as to be difficult to sharpen. On the contrary, they fit better into my favorite (German) brass KUM wedge than my (German) Faber-Castells do.”

      I mentioned that Japanese pencils are wider, as I’ve read is the norm, along with darker cores. How is pointing out that one knows about the darker cores indicating that I “did not know that Japanese pencils tend to be softer”?

      I would compare the Hi-Uni to Tombows if I had some to compare them to. Certainly we can publish a review of a Japanese pencil without referencing all of the rest? The Tombow Mono 100 is not as familiar to as many readers (I suspect) and certainly not to myself as, say, a Palomino.

      If you have helpful comparisons of a Tombow and the Mitsu-bishi, please do share them with everyone (I don’t mean that sarcasitcally).

    • Eloise Hartley

      I’ve also long questioned the objectivity of “Jfg” regarding Califonia Cedar’s products — too often they’re referenced in an ecstatic, breathlessly supportive fashion.  I also note that not a word was said on this blog about the recent plagiarism controversy in which CC was involved, nor has their probable fabrication of Blackwing users been mentioned.  For such a niche community, these omissions are difficult to explain away convincingly.

      • As much as I enjoy having my integrity questioned, I should address this.

        What is “too often” to mention a product I like, even in any breathless fashion? We were the first blog to feature the Palomino, an exciting product in 2005, when American pencil pickins were becoming slim. It was a boon to pencil fans, and I am still a huge fan of this pencil. If I’m supposed to subdue my fervour for a certain pencil/brand because some people don’t like them, that runs very contrary to the “objectivity” to which you seem to be assuming that I aspire. There are quite a few pencil blogs in English (and other languages) on the internet, and we all tend to focus on different pencils, manufacturers, countries of origin, etc. What’s wrong with that?

        We always provide HONEST reviews. If I say that I like something, it’s because I do, not because I have some secret tie to CC wherein I market for them. We don’t trade good reviews for free stuff or money. A review on this site is the report of one’s experience with and opinion on a pencil (or sharpener, or paper, etc.). Ignoring the pencils I like (and no one’s questioning my high regard for Field Notes or KUM sharpeners or my very open bias toward American pencils like those from Dixon or the unpainted pencils I often favor, etc.) because of who makes them would be dishonest.

        I’ve stayed out of the CC controversy largely by accident, as I was on a busy hiatus from active blogging (as happens from time to time) when most of it was “news”. Frankly, the controversy was largely where it is now (wherever that is) when I heard about it this spring. Having considerable respect for the folks involved, I’ve chosen not to take a side. I don’t think I need to “explain away” my “omissions” “convincingly.” Having a pencil blog does not necessarily implicate me or anyone who contributes to this site in every pencil-related controversy in such a way that I (or anyone) should need to answer for it.

        I am at a loss. On the one hand, you want objectivity in a pencil review. On the other, you want the CC issue addressed. These seem to run slightly contrary in that I’m supposed to suppress my opinion on a pencil/brand and then provide an opinion on an issue on demand. (And if it’s not an opinon or taking a side, what is expected regarding the controversy? Restating what other people have said?)

  5. Henrik

    tempted to quote John Cleese: “whatever you do, DON’T MENTION THE WAR”… I’ve been a reader of this blog almost since the start, I’m grateful for all the money and hard work you put in it – it is a pleasant and interesting readl. Questioning your motives seems a bit unfair, liking products from CC is, hopefully, not a crime – keep up the good work.
    Regards Henrik

  6. Matt

    You can pry my Palomino from my cold, dead hand. Mitsu Hi-Unis, as noted, also quite good. People do love a controversy.

  7. Jeff Adler

    A friend will soon be bringing me back twenty Hi Uni 2B pencils from Japan. I have yet to try a number of differet pencils I got recently., These include the Tombow Mono Graph MONO 2B, Staedtler Mars Lumograph 2B (German and Indonesian versions), Mitsubishi 9800 2B, Staedtler Noris 120 2B, Staedtler 168 2B, Venus Velvet 3557 #2, General’s Test Scoring 580, Faber castell 9000 2B (Germany), Faber Castell SV 1111 2B (Indonesia). Some I have used recently and like: General Layout 555 -nice and dark if sharpeed enough and pressed hard, Apsara Platinum Extra Dark – nice and dark, Koh-I-Noor Toison D’Or 2B – smooth and dark, Bazic 2B – not as dark but smooth, J Staedtler Half Moon #1 – very old stock but dark and smooth – a few of these are on the verge of splitting. The Apsara pencils came with an eraser and sharpener with each ten pack. The plastic sharpener doesn’t look like much but is a long point single hole type and works beautifully.

      • Jeff Adler

        I am really just getting started. Untik recently if I wanted a darker line I just looked for a #1. Now I see that art type pencils up to about 2B are much nicer to write with. There are well known dealers and there is also eBay. Sellers from the Far East often charge little or nothing for shipping. You just have to be patient in waiting for the order to arrve.

  8. kp

    We get Hi-Uni & both flavors of the Tombow here (Mono J and the Mono 100). Both are excellent pencils. Never warped. Amazing finish. Cores are dead center. Japanese pencils run a tad softer and blacker in their grades than German pencils and are generally thicker. The Faber Castell Castell 9000 of the same grade feels much harder and also slender compared the Hi-Uni or Tombow. Tombow seem a bit harder than the Mitsubishi and the Palominos (finally available here) are softer and darker still. I used the Staedtlers and Fabers till I found the found the Tombows. All mentioned are wonderful pencils but my favorite was the Hi-uni. Until the Palominos arrived on the scene. Now I feel conflicted as I bought a box on sale and just love them. HB, B, 2B the orange graded pencils w/o the eraser. They were on sale and I rolled the dice and I adore them. I don’t know or care much about the ethical BS surrounding the company but they make a fine pencil, even if they gold rubs off and the pencil grade is only printed on one side. (grrr). But I still have boxes of Hi-Unis and I like them a lot and use them happily. They are so well made i pause before sharpening them. heh. Also lovely are these green Tombow Mono Js for their anniversary in the metal box. Those are also on sale here and I couldn’t resist a couple boxes of those. I think I like the cheaper Mono J even more than the Mono 100 (seemingly their premium pencil with a cap like the hi-uni). Seeing these in Green makes me wish they would ditch their boring black finish.

    • Jeff Adler

      I use the Hi-Unis and the Mono 100s. For writing fast I like the Hi-Uni 2B. For regular writing I like a B grade and the Mono 100 B is also very nice. I recently got some graded Palominos – the all orange B and the orange 2B with the black cap. An eBay seller has a nice odd lot of assorted Mono 100s which I also bought. Most of the mail order stores will sell individual Mono Js and regular Monos but not Mono 100s. I agree that the Hi-Unis are softer than the Mono 100s for the same grade. The Palomino Blackwing and Blackwig Pearl pencils are somewhat soft and require frequent sarpening. I have the Palomino Blackwing 602 as well as an original 602 but i haven’t tried them yet.

  9. monita

    suggestions plz:

    I’m confused which pencils do I prefer.
    1. mitsubishi hi uni pencils
    2. steadler mars lumograph
    3. Koh-I-Noor Toison D’ OR 12
    4. derwent graphic pencils
    5. royal and langnickel premier sketch pencils..

    CAN ANYONE SUGGEST ME HERE….

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