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HISTORY

Kotobuki Group has been leading the Writing Instrument Industry as the R&D and Manufacturing company in Japan and in the world.
Our passionate desire to take our innovative ideas and produce high quality craftsmanship products
for introduction into the marketplace has resulted in many new writing instrument products.
In the background is our historical network of personal convictions not to only chase technology for its sake,
but to pursue the greater possibilities available in each writing instrument.
Having reached our 50th anniversary, we continue to pursue our conviction.

1973 : Kotobuki’s First Model
1967
KOTOBUKI HISTORY-01

Birth of our Mechanical Pencil Factory

Hidehei Kageyama, who is the older brother of Toshihiko Kageyama, worked for a trading company after graduating college. During an assignment at a garment factory in Kawagoe, he became acquainted with Takahiko Suzuki, who devised the Cushion Mechanism Mechanical Pencil. With both of them possessing love of craftsmanship from their youthful years, and having experience with operation of machinery, they embarked together to start a new business. One weakness of a mechanical pencil was the susceptibility of the lead to breakage, when writing pressure is applied. Suzuki focused his attention on that issue and discovered a solution. The idea was a design that lets the lead retract when excessive force is applied. Working together, they tested various prototypes and through trial and error, successfully created a working sample Cushion Mechanism Mechanical Pencil, in 1974.With their patent application, they continued to improve the product in preparation for production. Kotobuki & Co., Ltd., then decided to support the venture by moving its main operation center from Kyoto to Kawagoe, and transform into a mechanical pencil production as its main business, with Hidehei and Suzuki joining the company. 1975 ​ In just two days of displaying our first Cushion Mechanism model at a writing instrument show, we receive orders for 300,000 pcs. With that order as our start, in just six months we expanded to a production capability for 200,000 pcs/month, and then to 600,000 pcs/month quickly thereafter. Demand for Kotobuki’s new technology became widespread.

1967 Kotobuki & Co., Ltd. was established in Kyoto by our founder Toshihiko Kageyama as a sales company for sundries and decorative items.
1973 Ishida Factory opened as our center for Mechanical Pencil Production and Research, located in Ishida, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture.
1975 ​Expansion of Ishida Factory to increase production.
1977 Toyodahon Plant opened to move parts production in-house.
1979 New Head Office & Plant opened in our Kujirai Operations Center, located at Kujirai, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture.
1980
KOTOBUKI HISTORY-02

Kotobuki Grows Globally

Kotobuki stepped into the US market in the year 1976. Kotobuki’s Cushion Mechanism was welcomed into the US market, where rotation mechanism mechanical pencils were the standard. Overseas customers were mainly in Germany, UK, France, with large manufacturers in USA. We formed deep trusting relationships, especially with American companies, leading to huge orders in years beyond. In the same timing, orders poured in from various companies domestically. In 1983, production factory is established in Korea, where Hidehei had business connections since his earlier days in the trade business. Our Korea factory continues to be trusted and grows as Kotobuki’s core factory exporting to USA and worldwide. This is how Kotobuki’s mechanical pencils came to be valued highly, throughout the world.

1980 ​Milestone Writing Instruments Production of One Hundred Million pcs.
Began Production of Ball Pens.
1983 Oversea production began with factory opened in Wonju, Korea.
1984 ​Macos Corp. established to accommodate transaction volume increases.
1985 ​Cumulative production volume reached 150 million pcs.
1986 ​American KUSA Corp. established in Torrance, California, USA, as a regional sales activity center.
1987 Introduced mechanism designed for luxury writing instruments.
Developed Multifunction Writing Instrument (B/M)
Developed Automatic Mechanical Pencil.
Opened Suhan Factory No. 1, in Eupsang-ri, Korea, to meet overseas demands.
1988 Began production of mechanical pencil with rotation extend/retract eraser.
1990 Multifunction 3F (three function) writing instrument production began.
1992 Started production of side click type mechanical pencil.
1996 Started production of mechanical pencils with W Chuck Mechanism.
Established One Far Co., Ltd. in Taipei, Taiwan.
1994 Registered「PENAC」as our company brand.
Established PWI in Germany as our European sales activity center.
1998 Commenced production of ballpoint pens with side click system.
1999 Entered the cosmetics products business.
Began R&D for GEL inks.
2000
KOTOBUKI HISTORY-03

Product Evolution  Moving Forward

1995  Kotobuki launches R&D for gel ink, joining the industry trend toward gel ink production, Our gel ink product is selected by the world’s largest maker, located in the United States. Our gel ink pen continued to undergo upgrades and gained polarity. We attained the milestone of 10 million monthly production, and our product remains widely accepted in the USA market. Furthermore, we took on the challenge to utilize our writing instrument technology towards applications in cosmetics containers. In Korea, we opened a cosmetics products factory, equipped with aseptic clean room. As professionals in the writing instruments business, we combine and utilize our ideas and technology in multifaceted applications, continuing to introduce high quality products.

2009 Production of Jam Free Mechanism Mechanical Pencil.
In-house production began for ballpoint pen ink refills (oil based, water based, and gel).
Entered into the Sewing related business.
2011 KWI was established in Mexico as our sales activity center for the region.
2012 Started production of φ1.3㎜ lead diameter mechanical pencil, designed for children.
2013 Began 4F (Four Function) multifunction writing instrument production.
2015 Began production of quick drying, smooth writing low viscosity gel ink pen refill.
2017 50th Anniversary of Kotobuki & Co., Ltd.
2018
KOTOBUKI HISTORY-04

Eyes Toward the Future
The Supplier with Professional Pride
Challenging Innovations

Mechanical pencils has evolved to where the technology now provides very long continuous writing, without having to click. The basis of that technology is the “Cushion Type” Mechanical Pencil Mechanism. The value of that technology has not diminished. 50 years rushed by, while we were engrossed in our business. We are now renowned by the global writing instruments industry, referred to as “Kotobuki brand” products, even while we remain as an OEM. Our vision and attitude toward always aiming for the highest craftsmanship in our products has been handed down from our founding days, and continues to be reflected in our industry leading technology offerings. The goal in our sights is to become the ultimate “Professional Supplier”. We shall not just provide the technology requested from a customer, but ask ourselves how much practical value we can add. Developing and providing products desired by our customers worldwide. Kotobuki will continue our explorations and challenges.