In Asia, there is a lot of emphasis on penmanship. So much so, that there are specific pencils for that exact purpose. I suppose in Asian countries the intricacy of their handwritten language necessitate a need for such tools. The penmanship pencil offers a smooth, dark graphite that glides across the paper and provides ample feedback for your writing experience. I would relate the writing experience to writing with a crayon and marker combined into one. What is equally great about these pencils is that they do not smudge much like other darker lead grades. This is very useful if you want to use them to take notes or journal (note: I have tried these on a few different paper types, but not all). Today I am going to take a look at the two main penmanship (pencilship?) pencils; the Tombow MONO and the Mitsubishi Uni:
At first glance, both of these pencils are beautiful. From the striking finish to the inscriptions on the side of the pencil, they are a writing implement you are just drawn (no pun intended) to. Like most Japanese pencils I have used, the attention to detail is phenomenal.
The cores of both of these pencils are nice and thick with the Mitsubishi core being a tad bit thicker. Both were sharpened with the Classroom Friendly sharpener:
Writing with the Tombow proved to be a dream. The pencil was nice and smooth and laid down nice, dark lines. Compared to the Mitsubishi, the Tombow provided more feedback when writing– the actual sound of scribbling resonated much more so than the Mitsubishi. This may have had to do with the fact that the Tombow was a lighter pencil overall weight-wise. The graphite laid down was almost identical to the Mitsubishi and did not smear. I also preferred the color scheme of the Tombow as I like bright colors, but my opinion is entirely subjective. The Mitsubishi on the other hand was heavier, provided almost no feedback when writing, and the finish, while not as attractive as the Tombow was better. The thicker lacquer and the larger core most likely added to the overall weight of the Mitsubishi as I feel both of these pencils are made from the same wood. Another positive is that the Mitsubishi is a bit easier to find than the Tombow. Both CW Pencils and JetPens carry the Mitsubishi, while only CW Pencils carries the Tombow.
I really cannot say that there is a clear winner here. Both pencils perform well and I think it comes down to which is more aesthetically pleasing to the user. Here are links for both pencils at CW Pencils: Tombow and Mitsubishi