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Uni-ball (brand of
Mitsubishi Pencil Company Ltd.)
Uni ball red logo.svg
Mitsubishi Pencil HQ Building March-2019.jpg
Mitsubishi Pencil Co. headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo
OwnerMitsubishi Pencil Company [1][2]
Introduced1979; 41 years ago (1979) [3]
Registered as a trademark inUnited States (Serial #73615530) [1]

Uni-ball and Uni are brands of pens and pencils,[1] made by the Mitsubishi Pencil Company Limited (三菱鉛筆株式会社, Mitsubishi Enpitsu Kabushiki Gaisha, TYO: 7976) of Japan. The brand was introduced in 1979 as a rollerball pen model, then expanding to the rest of Mitsubishi Pencil products.[3]

Mitsubishi Pencil Company distributes products in over 100 countries through subsidiaries, such as Mitsubishi Pencil Company UK. Distribution in the United States, Canada and Mexico is by uni-ball's North American Corporation in Wheaton, Illinois. In Germany they are sold by Faber-Castell, in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East by Hoshan Pan Gulf,[4] in India by Linc Pen and Plastics Limited (LPPL)[5][6], and in the Philippines by Lupel Corporation[7] Despite its naming and the nearly identical logomarks, Mitsubishi Pencil Company is unrelated to the Mitsubishi Group,[8] and has never been a part of their keiretsu.[9]


The company was founded in Tokyo by Niroku Masaki in 1887[10] as the "Masaki Pencil Manufacturing Company".[2] After World War II, it was renamed "The Mitsubishi Pencil Company".[2]

Masaki Pencil started to export its products, first to Mexico in 1927, then expanding to other markets including Belgium, Egypt, Portugal, Argentina, India and Netherlands. At the end of World War II, the company introduced the "9800" pencil. In 1959, Mitsubishi released its first ballpoint pen, while its first mechanical pencil was launched in 1961.[3]

In 1966, they began creating performance pens and by 1979 they developed the first "Uniball" rollerball pen,[10] which was the first ballpen with water-based ink and metallic tip. This pen would be a great success in Japan and North America. One year later, the company launched the "Paint", an oil-based marker.[3]

While mainly focused on making pens, in 2008 they developed a new mechanical pencil that rotated the graphite lead every time it is lifted from the page to sharpen it into an even cone shape. This line of pencils is named as Kuru Toga.[11] The name Kuru Toga is a portmanteau of the two Japanese words 'kuru' (turning) and 'togaru' (to be sharpened).[12]


Uni M7-552 mechanical pencil.

Although Mitsubishi Pencil started as a wooden pencil manufacturer, the company is no longer specialised in that product, focusing on mechanical pencils instead. Uni-ball's writing implements brands include Jetstream (hybrid-ink ballpoint pens), Vision, Air (rollerball pens), Signo (pigment ink gel pens), Onyx, Kuru Toga (mechanical pencils),[13] Paint, Posca, Chalk, and Prockey (marker pens).[14]

Wood-cased pencil brands include Hi-Uni, Uni and Mitsu-Bishi. Some other pen lines (mainly intended for the Japanese market) are Power Tank (pressurised ink cartridge), Eye (roller ball), R:E (erasable ink), Laknock, Clifter (ballpoints), Style Fit (multi-pen system), Shift, M-552 (mechanical pencils), and Propus (highlighters).[15]

Uni-ball's range of products include:

Category Products
Writing instruments Ballpoints, gel, rollerball pens, mechanical pencils, woodcase pencils, refills, markers, highlighters
Office supplies Correction tapes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Uni-ball, trademark of the Mitsubishi Pencil Co. on Trademarkia
  2. ^ a b c "Creating a Unique Advertising Tool with Uniball". ThePenGuy. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d About us on Uni Mitsubishi Pencil Vietnam
  4. ^ "Hoshan Pan Gulf".
  5. ^ "Linc Pen & Plastics Limited".
  6. ^ "Uni-ball India".
  7. ^ "Lupel Corporation".
  8. ^ "About Mitsubishi". mitsubishi.com. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  9. ^ Vanderbilt, Tom (21 May 2015). "Letter of Recommendation: Uni-ball Signo UM-151". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  10. ^ a b Who we are on Uni-ball UK
  11. ^ "Our Story". Uni-ball. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Kuru Toga: A Comprehensive Guide | JetPens". www.jetpens.com. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
  13. ^ All products on Uni-ball USA
  14. ^ Catalog on Uni-ball Australia
  15. ^ Web Catalog on Uni-ball Japan

External links[edit]