Hagoromo office and factory in Kasugai
Hagoromo Bungu (Japanese: 羽衣文具, romanized: Hagoromo Stationery) was a Japanese chalk and office supply company. The company is best known for having produced the Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk, a brand of blackboard chalk. The Hagoromo brand and much of the original company's equipment were eventually sold to South Korean company Sejongmall, which started manufacturing it in South Korea in 2016.
The factory was destroyed by a war in the decade that followed. It was then re-established in 1965 by Ryuzo Watanabe as Hagoromo Bungu, with the office and factory located in Kasugai, a city in the Aichi Prefecture.
The company sold over 90 million pieces of chalk a year at its peak in 1990 and held a 30% share of the domestic market, according to Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd.
Mathematician Satyan Devadoss wrote in 2010 that the Hagoromo chalk can be called "the Michael Jordan of chalk, the Rolls Royce of chalk". Several other well-known mathematicians and professors are also known to hold a preference for the product, including Brian Conrad, and David Eisenbud. In February 2019, Justin Bois, lecturer in Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, purchased $50,000 of Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk for use in student instruction, the largest single purchase of Hagoromo chalk to date[attribution needed].
In October 2014, Takayasu Watanabe released a statement announcing the company would stop chalk production in February 2015, and stop sales in March 2015. Takayasu Watanabe, who replaced his predecessor Ryuzo Watanabe as the company's president, mentioned as reasoning for the closure that "blackboards are no longer the norm in classrooms" and that "the number of students is also on the wane". In a 2015 interview, Watanabe also mentioned his declining health as a major reason for the closure.
By June 2015, it was reported that production continued for a month longer as originally planned, and finally ended on 31 March 2015.
The three custom-made machines that the company used for making Hagoromo chalk were sold. One machine was sold within Japan to Umajirushi, a blackboard manufacturer looking to expand their chalk production. Umajirushi has since launched DC Chalk Deluxe (DCチョークDX), which could be considered a successor to Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk.
The two other machines and the rights to the Hagoromo brand were sold to Sejongmall, a retailer in South Korea who previously imported the Hagoromo chalk, and are now continuing to produce it in South Korea.
- Fulltouch Chalk: calcium chalk.
- Fulltouch Large Chalk: calcium chalk, 2 cm in diameter and 11.3 cm in length, available in white, red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.
- Fulltouch New Poly: gypsum chalk, sometimes known as plaster chalk.
- Fulltouch Luminous Color Chalk: gypsum chalk.
- "Mathematicians are looking for Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk, the dream brand of chalk". PRI. 29 June 2015.
- Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk, Great Big Story (2 May 2019)
- Hongo, Jun (2014-11-20). "Chalk Maker Runs Out of Blackboard". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- Zhang, Sarah. "Why Mathematicians Are Hoarding This Special Type of Japanese Chalk". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- "Why the demise of a Japanese chalk company is a blow to mathematics". The Independent. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- "廃業のご案内 (Information on business closure)". hagoromo-bungu.co.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- Mathematics, Williams College; House, Statistics Bascom; Williamstown, 33 Stetson Court; fax: 413.597.4061, MA 01267 USA tel: 413 597 2438 |. "Dream Chalk". Mathematics & Statistics. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- The World's Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk, Great Big Story, 2019-05-02, retrieved 2019-05-05
- 木ノ下めぐみ (Megumi Konoshita) (29 June 2015). "「チョークのロールスロイス」…講師ら支えた名門業者が廃業 韓国企業が継承へ" [“Rolls Royce of Chalk” ... A prestigious company supported by instructors shuts down]. 産経WEST (Sankei West) (in Japanese). The Sankei News.
- "Hagoromo president explains why he closed down his beloved chalk business". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- Pascaud, May (2015-06-29). "Mathematicians mourn the loss of the 'Rolls-Royce of chalk'". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- Siobhan Roberts (21 July 2015). "Chalk and awe: Why professors are going wild over a cult chalk". Macleans.
- "Mathematicians snatch up last boxes of the "Rolls Royce of chalk"". As It Happens. 16 June 2015. CBC.
- "Umajirushi - Product - DC Chalk DX". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- "Hagoromo's High Quality Chalks, Still Beloved by Many in this Digital World". finance.yahoo.com. 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2019-05-05.