Gojuon: shoushin-mono


With the world increasingly available at our fingertips these days, pleasant little mysteries (the kind that can only be fueled by imagination and wonder) have become harder to come by. For me at least, Gojuon—on the far side of the world—is one of them.

I was able to get as far as their Tokyo doorstep, though no further. But my friend Yumiko recently visited the Ginza Pencil Museum and was kind enough to send along some unique items—the kind of things that are small, custom-made, and precious, making them all the more special. For example, this mini-pencil from Tombow:DSC_0031

I don’t know if this form factor is sold in stores, but these at least are made special for Gojuon:DSC_0028

I’m told that shoushin-mono has a double meaning in Japanese: a “timid man”, or more to the point: “a short lead MONO.”

Also included were two wooden pencil extenders, one with a cover and one without:


I don’t know what type of wood it’s made of, but it is very light. The metal extender is the type that expands as you unscrew it, allowing you to drop the pencil into place, then secure it by re-tightening. This piece was also a custom Gojuon item, indicated by the engraving on the barrel:


The second one might be the most perfect extender (according to my tastes at least) that I’ve seen. Too often, the large bulky extenders are almost an instrument in their own right. And if you need to sharpen frequently it really becomes a production.

This extender is covered with an extremely thin sheath of wood:DSC_0010

It’s so light as to be nearly unnoticeable, and if you’re using a round-barrel pencil the extender almost feels like it could be the pencil itself:


Thanks to Yumiko and to the people at Gojuon; the mystery continues.

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7 Responses to Gojuon: shoushin-mono

  1. memm says:

    Thanks for showing us these treasures. The pencils extenders (both) look great.
    I hope you’ll get a chance to visit another time.


  2. Yumiko says:

    I’m glad I could help. And those pancil extenders are made of zelkova tree. (I asked the Gojuon.)
    Zelkova.. mmm..it sounds like a name of Russian gymnast somehow.


  3. Gunther says:

    Thank you for showing these beautiful items! What a pity that they are so difficult to get. – Yumiko, thank you for the details on the wood!


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