Kitpas have been making quality art materials for over 80 years since founding their company in 1937 as a manufacturer of dustless chalks. The chalk products began as regular hard white chalks made from calcium carbonate and were the preferred brand for many schools and businesses. In 1967, an expansion added a factory in Bibai-shi, Hokkaido. Bibai-shi, which translates to, “beautiful shell city,” actually had massive waste piles of scallop shells that were causing serious environmental issues. It seemed only natural to reduce, reuse and recycle this material. With the help of local government Kitpas developed a patented process to recycle these shell byproducts. The use of powdered shells had the additional benefit of making Kitpas Chalks stronger, smoother, and longer lasting!
As a family business, focused on manufacturing high quality products for their customers, running a business that supports and treats their employees well is also very important. In 1960 Nihon Rikagaku Industry Co started the “Intellectual Disability Employment Program” by employing two young adults with intellectual impairments. This program has been growing over the years and by changing and adapting manufacturing methods and work environment, the Oyama family business is proud to have established a safe workplace for over 50 employees with mental and physical and/or intellectual impairments.
Today, Kitpas has evolved into a leading manufacturer in Japan of innovative, eco-friendly art materials.