Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil and Sketch

I have gone very, very far down the wooden pencil rabbit hole these last few months. I just purchased a box of “Super Drawing” Kita-boshi 9500 HB Pencils (love that they mention drawing, most just say some form of writing), and they’ve been pretty darn great for drawing and sketching thus far.

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Front

These are Japanese pencils, which means they will be a little softer for the grade you might be used to with a German pencils (Faber-Castell 9000’s or Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100’s, for example). Manufactured in Japan by the Kita-Boshi Pencil Co., family owned and small, around 28 employees supposedly! The pencil features a beautiful dark and thick green varnish paint job (slightly darker than the Mitsubishi 9800){:target=”_blank”}{:rel=”noopener”}, with gold leaf embossing on the front, and silver leaf embossing on the back.

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Back

There is only printing on two sides of the pencil itself, where as most of the time you’ll see at least the HB designation on 3 separate sides of the pencil (every other side basically). On the plus side, there is no barcodes printed on the pencil itself (I know some of y’all absolutely hate them).

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Tip

The graphite core of the pencil is pretty decent, I’ve drawn with two different pencils for a couple of hours, and they both feel quite smooth. They have just ever so slightly more resistance than the Mitsubishi 9800, but nothing like say a General’s Semi-Hex HB. I haven’t hit any big pieces of grit just yet, but I’ve hit a piece of grit in some very expensive pencils so I’m sure a piece is in there somewhere.

The pencil also might be slightly darker than the Mitsubishi 9800 if I had to say. I also feel like the tip wears down at a slightly quicker rate, but I have no scientific test for that.

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil End

Honestly, the only real gripe I have with the pencil is that the end is unfinished. This probably won’t matter at all for those who are writing or drawing with the pencil with a light grip, but I will on occasion hold the end of the pencil in the palm of my hand, like this:

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Held by the end of the pencil

For a pencil at this price point (I think in japan a box retails for like, $4-5 USD), I don’t expect finished dipped ends, but that’s my only issue.

The box isn’t the prettiest box I’ve seen for a Japanese pencil (ususally they are amazing, it’s wild), but it works. Here’s the box at a few other angles:

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Box Front

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Box Side

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Box Top

Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil Box Back

These pencils are great. I know of two places you can easily acquire them: If you want just one, you can snag them at CW Pencils or at Thackery, where I ordered a full box of 12 (with some Mitsubishi Uni [Regular Uni, not Hi-Uni, which are ridiculously hard to find on the internet] pencils, which I’ll review soon).

I’ll give the Kita-Boshi 9500 HB Pencil 4 Zaffino Crazy Face Frank’s out of 5, only because of the unfinished ends. Really great looking pencils.

4 out of 5 Stars