Uni Kuru Toga

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Some Kuru Toga mechanical pencils. Top to bottom: an Alpha Gel, a Standard, and a Roulette model
Animation showing the revolving mechanism of the Kuru Toga mechanical pencils

Kuru Toga is a mechanical pencil line developed by the Uni Mitsubishi company. The special feature of this pencil is a particular mechanism (referred as "Kuru Toga Engine") which rotates the lead every time the tip is pressed and then released from the paper surface. This mechanism prevents the tip from becoming chisel-shaped (therefore more prone to crumble or break) and ensures a consistent line width. The tip rotation is obtained by a spring and three gears, and the revolving action is visible by a rotating logo.
All models except the "Pipe Slide", the "Advance" and the "Advance Metal" (also known as "Advance Metal Punching Grip”), rotate the lead approximately 9 degrees per stroke (40 strokes for a complete revolution).
"Pipe Slide" and the two "Advance" versions rotate the lead twice as fast per stroke: approximately 18 degrees per stroke (20 strokes for a complete revolution), thus they are more suitable for Western characters which are made of fewer and longer strokes compared to Asian characters, and also for use with softer leads (such as 2B) which wear down more quickly.
"Pipe Slide", "Advance" and "Advance Metal" versions also share a sliding sleeve.
All Kuru Toga pencils are available in 0.5 mm and in a variety of colours, but some models are also available in 0.3 mm and 0.7 mm. There are also special limited editions featuring characters by Disney, Peanuts, Sanrio and Studio Ghibli.
"Roulette" and "High Grade" use the Uni eraser refill size C, while all the other models use the Uni eraser refill size S.

Kuru Toga pencil models[edit]

Model name Available Sizes Spare Uni Erasers Additional Features / Informations
Standard 0.3mm
0.5mm
0.7mm
Size S Plastic body; plastic clip; available in a wide variety of colours
High Grade 0.3mm
0.5mm
Size C Ridged aluminium grip section; metal clip
Roulette 0.5mm Size C Knurled aluminium grip section; metal clip
Rubber Grip 0.5mm Size S Rubber grip area; no clip (replaced by a little knob)
Alpha Gel 0.5mm Size S Same gel grip as the classic Alpha Gel; plastic clip
Pipe Slide 0.5mm Size S Plastic body; plastic clip; sliding sleeve; faster rotation
Advance 0.3mm
0.5mm
0.7mm
Size S Plastic body; metal clip; sliding sleeve; faster rotation
Advance Metal “Punching Grip” 0.5mm Size S Hole-punched metal grip section; metal clip; sliding sleeve; faster rotation

Special Editions[edit]

Edition Model Type Available Sizes
Disney
  • Standard
  • Rubber Grip
0.3mm - 0.5mm
0.5mm
Peanuts
  • Standard
  • Rubber Grip
0.3mm - 0.5mm
0.5mm
Sanrio
  • Standard
0.5mm
Adidas
  • Standard
0.5mm
Studio Ghibli
  • Advance
0.3mm - 0.5mm

The Muji version[edit]

Muji mechanical pencil featuring a rotating lead mechanism

Japanese company Muji produced a mechanical pencil with the same rotating lead mechanism as the original Kuru Toga. It could be found in the Muji online catalog until 2018.
The pencil (only available in 0.5 mm) has a white plastic body and a plastic clip, and is manufactured in China.
According to the Muji website, this model was marketed under the generic name "Mechanical Pencil 0.5 - White" and described as follows: "When writing the lead is rotated while being used to maintain a certain lead thickness".