Pencils are evolving independently in Japan

How many of you could guess what is a ‘Sharp-pencil’, which is also called ‘Shar-pen’ or simply ‘Sharp’?

The answer is a mechanical writing tool which is known as ‘mechanical pencil’ or ‘propelling pencil’.

In many countries, students mostly use pens (ball-point pens) for writing. But in Japan, use of sharp-pencil is much more common among students. Because it is easy to erase using plastic eraser that keeps the notebook look clean and neat. So it’s one of the indispensable items in their pen cases.

Structure of mechanical pencil

Sharp-pencil has a pen-like body whose inner part is hollow into which you supply a lead. By pushing its top or screwing its body, lead will be coming out from the pencil point to allow you writing.

The lead is around 6cm in length, so until it is consumed you can keep extending it by pushing or screwing. When a lead is finished you will only need to add the refill. Then you can utilize your sharp-pencil as long as it works.

Unlike conventional pencils, no need of sharpening, no need to keep many spares.

Lead is available in many different diameters as well as the hardness as per the preference of the users or the purposes.

Kuru toga mechanical pencil?

Sharp-pencil is to provide sharp point invariably. But for users who want the point to be always ‘sharpest’ without experiencing any slight worn, there is an interesting product; lead will slightly revolve every time it hits the paper so that the sharpest angle of the lead will always face the paper.

Some have a ball-point pen and sharp-pencil in one body; many other mechanical systems have been invented to add more functions.

With eraser

Many of sharp-pencils have a tiny inset eraser inside the button at its top to aid you erase whenever eraser is not at your hand.

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Tamaki SAITO(西東たまき)

Born in Tokyo and raised in Chiba prefecture. I'm excited to reveal the Japan's life behind the scenes that you can hardly learn from the regular sources. Let me hear how far it worked from your side!