The Mitsubishi KH-20 Sharpener

Are you looking for a great manual sharpener? One that won’t eat your pencils, but will put as sharp a point as you can use on them? How about easy emptying and no need to screw it down to a table or the wall?

If this is what you need, the Mitsubishi KH-20 is a great sharpener.

While the X-Acto KS I have works pretty well, it will consume an entire pencil if you push hard enough. For some grades (the Musgrave Test Scoring pencil comes to mind) it doesn’t take that much pushing. The KS is a pretty aggressive sharpener, probably because it’s got two cutters.

The Mitsubishi, on the other hand, is very well mannered. It has one cutter, so it is less aggressive. One cutter also means less torque, enough less that my 5-year old can use it. It is a manual sharpener, but it has rubber-coated jaws that grab the pencil and provide the correct amount of force. So instead of one hand holding the pencil and other other turning the crank, it’s one hand holding the sharpener while the other cranks. So there’s no need to screw it down. It’s portable, and not very heavy.


Another great feature is the little orange button in the center of the crank extends the stop pin so the pencil doesn’t get as sharp. Perfect for colored pencils that won’t take the kind of sharp point normal graphite will.

The only downsides are that it’s large – larger than most people are going to want to carry around – and it is expensive at $33 plus shipping. This isn’t a sharpener you’re likely to find in a store.

6 thoughts on “The Mitsubishi KH-20 Sharpener

  1. I have a Mitsubishi KH-20 that I bought a number of years ago in a small office equipment store in Kyoto, Japan, close to the university.

    It works so perfectly well that it’s addictive to you use (no regular small shaperner comes even close) so I carry it around and ask my staring, smiling colleagues to tolerate as a minor eccentricity.

    What I wish to ask you in where did you buy yours from? I wish to buy another, but I don’t expect to be back in Japan soon.


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