Mitsubishi’s earliest 0.5mm drafter?

I remember seeing the Mitsubishi DEMI-.5 posted here a couple months ago and decided to dig deeper. Part of the fascination is trying to find out if this was the earliest 0.5mm MP that they made, or at least, the earliest that was deemed worthy of export to the USA.

I soon obtained two DEMI-.5 in green and Mitsubishi’s signature reddish brown. And several months later, secured what I believe is the domestic equivalent: Holder 305 or M305 as the listing claimed.

Comparing the brown DEMI and 305, there are obvious similarities, although the styrofoam packaging is slightly different.

For example, the arrangement of the mold, the stickers for the leads, and how the lead hardness for the 305 was left to the owner to decide what to stick onto the pencil body.

Both versions came with a separate cleaning pin as well. Not pictured, but the clear case cover will fit either foam case.

One of the curious differences is the length of the guide pipe. On the domestic 305, the tip is roughly 2.5mm. The imported DEMI-.5 came with 2 versions: the same 2.5mm tip OR a super long 5mm pipe. This gives the pencil a lethal appearance!

A closer look at the brass clutch. There are identical to my eyes. The cones will fit either version with no problems.

And of course, these primordial 0.5mm designs carry over the ‘one stick of lead in one tube’ philosophy of the preceding 2mm lead holders.

Here, the 305’s clip sports the distinctive Mitsubishi logo. I think the importer Yasutomo may have been deliberate in creating the ‘DEMI-.5’ branding to avoid any anti-Japanese bias in the US market back in those days.

From my own research, the DEMI-.5 was advertised as early as 1966 in the October issue of Progressive Architecture:

This is interesting as the generally accepted dates for introduction of 0.5mm polymer leads was 1962 for Pentel, Faber-Castell in 1967 and Mitsubishi in 1968. Given the known cooperation between FC and Mitsubishi for various fine lead MPs, it is possible that the leads supplied with the DEMI-.5 were by FC. Here is a reddit post by First Sail of the DEMI branded version of the M5-50 Hi-Pitch Holder that was also sold by FC.

One last shot of the DEMI-.5 and Holder 305 series. Seen here is a black version of the DEMI-.5 that I picked up without a box.

From eBay listings, it seems Yasutomo would continue to market the DEMI branding with updates to the pencil design and mechanics. But for me, this is probably the closest to an equivalent to the PENTEL 100/101 or 350D.


Good post, it clarifies several questions for me. When I got the Demi-.5 Deluxe (M5-50), I wrote to Yasutomo asking for some information and they shared a couple of photos (below).



Thank you for the sleuthing! I updated my post with a scan of the '66 advertisement for the DEMI-.5.


Nice post, thanks. Any ideia when the DEMI 300 2.0mm was made? — I have one and the clip is identical to a FUJI 2100 2.0mm which I think was also made by Yasutomo. In the US, the first Koh-i-Noor 05mm also had the same clip if I’m not mistaken… so probably made by Yasutomo based on the Demis?


I’m under the impression that in the 60s Yasutomo was more of a white label importer. i.e. you wouldn’t know the DEMI-.5 was by Mitsubishi back then. I would love to see the DEMI 300 and any close-ups of the clip.

For KOH-I-NOOR USA’s first 0.5mm… I’m guessing it could be the 5619 ‘Very Fine’? The one I have does not feel like a very ‘precise’ mechanism.

Yes it was the “Very Fine”! … It seems I sold mine a couple of months ago so I can’t take a photo of the clip (don’t remember exactly, but it felt like an okay pencil for its age)

OHTOs were sold as Yasutomo in the US (The Gripper 500 for instance), so maybe I’m making some sort of confusion. I was under the impression that Yasutomo was a Japanese factory in the US, following the post-war affiliate programmes to develop both countries industries in specific sectors.

Give 1 minute more to find out how to post pics here, I’m still a bit green :smiley:

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Top: FUJI 2100 — Imprint on the opposite side is somewhat faded but it reads “FUJI 2100 “For Drawing” 2.0mm Made in Japan” (in a quite beautiful lettering, I might add)

Below: DEMI 300 2.0mm

As you can see the clips are identical — and if you can check with the Very Fine, you’ll notice that the clip is identical too.


Oh, let me go full-fangirl-mode-on over that burgundy finish… That is ravishing!

And here is another series of pencils I now need to have in my hands. Disappointing how effective this forum can be in making you feel at once missing stuff, and already missing the money you’ll need to acquire the mentioned stuff. (Love you all, people, never stop doing this; please.)



A little correction. The text in the imprint reads… For Drawing “FUJI” 2100 2.0mm JAPAN

It doesn’t seem to be exactly the same typeface on the two pencils. There are a few differences, but they’re close enough to reinforce the idea of the same maker, imo.