About the company
Mitsubishi colored pencils are made by Mitsubishi Pencil Co., Ltd. Mitsubishi Pencil Co. was established in Tokyo in 1887. They also make the Uni-ball pens that are sold worldwide. Mitsubishi Pencils uni brand derives its name from the word 'unique'.
Interestingly, when you go to the Mitsubishi Pencil site, and select your location as in the USA, you go to the uni-ball site, which is owned by Sanford, a Newell-Rubbermaid company. This should sound familiar to pencil-heads, because it is the same company that now owns Prismacolor.
The Mitsubishi pencils really are unique. the 100 set (shown below) come in a sturdy plastic case. It stands up so that the pencils are upright. There are 25 rows, each with 4 pencils lined up in short rows behind each of the front pencils. Each row can be flipped out to select a pencil, or all of the rows can be flipped out at once to see all of the pencils, without the pencils tipping the case over. Each pencil is held securely in it's own holder. A color chart is printed on the inside of the case in English and Japanese.
The 240 set comes in a chest with slide out drawers. We always thought that the chest was made of wood, and that the wood was a large part of the cost. However, the chest is actually made of cloth-covered MDF (wood fiber board material and molding). There are a total of 5 drawers, with the pencils arranged by color. The pastel shades are in a drawer by themselves, and several of the colors are metallics. The pencil number is labeled on the drawer, and each pencil is marked with '240 Limited Edition'. We had planned to use the chest for the entire set of Caran d'Ache Traditional and Dry pencils once the Mitsubishi ones are used up, and are therefore disappointed that the chest is cardboard not wood, since that may limit how many generations this 'heirloom' will last!
These pencils go down as smooth as silk on the page. One color in our 100 set had problems- the metallic silver, which was hard and scratchy, a common problem with metallics in many brands. They make layering very easy. The pencils are very well made, and beautiful. They are labeled in English with the manufacture, type, color name, color number, where made (Japan), and when the company was established. Since these are so expensive to get in the US, and since they are not sold open stock, we don't expect many artists to convert to using them, but perhaps with enough requests, we can someday have them here for sale.
Pencils- 100 Set in Flip-out plastic case
Pencils- 240 in Cardboard Chest
Color Charts for 100 set
Color Chart- 240 Ltd. Ed. Set