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Hagoromo Bungu

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Hagoromo Bungu Co., Ltd
IndustryOffice supplies
FoundedOctober 1932; 91 years ago (1932-10)
DefunctMarch 2015; 9 years ago (2015-03)
FateAcquired by Sejongmall
ProductsBlackboard chalk

Hagoromo Bungu (Japanese: 羽衣文具, lit.'Hagoromo Stationery') was a Japanese office supply and chalk company. It is best known for having produced the Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk, a brand of blackboard chalk.[1][2][3] Though mainly sold in Japan and South Korea, the chalk came to be used worldwide for its reported ease of use. Nonetheless, general decline in chalk sales among other factors led to its shuttering in 2015. The announcement of the company's closing led fans to stockpile its chalk. The South Korean company Sejongmall eventually bought the Hagoromo brand and much of the original company's equipment and has manufactured the chalk in South Korea since 2016.[4][5]


The company was founded in October 1932 as Nihon Chalk Seizosho. The original factory was located in Naka-ku, Nagoya, but was destroyed in August 1944 during World War II. The company was re-established in 1947 and renamed to Hagoromo Bungu. A factory in the nearby city of Kasugai was completed in 1961, and the offices moved there in 1992.[6]


Boxes of Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk

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.[1]

Mathematician Satyan Devadoss wrote in 2010 that the Hagoromo chalk can be called "the Michael Jordan of chalk, the Rolls-Royce of chalk".[7] Several other well-known mathematicians and professors, such as Brian Conrad and David Eisenbud, also prefer the product.[2][8] Eisenbud first introduced the chalk to American mathematicians and worked to have it imported to the US; it is now sold on Amazon.[9]


In October 2014, company president Takayasu Watanabe released a statement announcing the company would stop chalk production in February 2015 and sales in March 2015.[1][10][11] Watanabe, Ryuzo Watanabe's successor, mentioned reasons for the closure included the fact that "blackboards are no longer the norm in classrooms" and that "the number of students is also on the wane".[10] In a 2015 interview, Watanabe also cited his declining health as a major reason for the closure.[12]

Final months[edit]

The announcement to cease business led to the mass buying, hoarding, and reselling of chalk among its fanbase.[12][13][14]

By June 2015, Watanabe reported that production continued for a month longer than originally planned and finally ended on 31 March 2015.[12]


Hagoromo sold the three custom-made machines used for making Hagoromo chalk. Umajirushi, a Japanese blackboard manufacturer looking to expand their chalk production, bought one.[12][2] Umajirushi has since launched DC Chalk Deluxe (DCチョークDX),[2][15] but subsequently discontinued production in early 2020.[16] Sejongmall, a retailer in South Korea who previously imported the Hagoromo chalk, bought the other two machines and the rights to the Hagoromo brand and continue to produce the chalk in South Korea.[4] Mathematicians consider it indistinguishable from the original product.[17]


The Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk product line is what the company is most known for.[1][2] The entire line is marketed as being "dustless".

  • 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[18]
  • Fulltouch New Poly: gypsum chalk, sometimes known as plaster chalk
  • Fulltouch Luminous Color Chalk: gypsum chalk


  1. ^ a b c d Hongo, Jun (20 November 2014). "Chalk Maker Runs Out of Blackboard". WSJ. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Zhang, Sarah (15 June 2015). "Why Mathematicians Are Hoarding This Special Type of Japanese Chalk". Gizmodo. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Why the demise of a Japanese chalk company is a blow to mathematics". The Independent. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b McDonald, Coby (24 October 2019). "The Chalk Market: Where Mathematicians Go to Get the Good Stuff". Cal Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 17 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Hagoromo Chalk catalogue" (PDF). Sejongmall. 18 July 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 June 2019.
  6. ^ "会社概要" [Corporate Overview]. Hagoromo Bungu (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  7. ^ Devadoss, Satyan (16 September 2010). "Dream Chalk". Mathematics & Statistics department blog. Williams College. Archived from the original on 22 August 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  8. ^ The World's Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk. Great Big Story. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "A Rare Chalk in the World of Math: How Tools Change How We Work". DFC. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b 廃業のご案内 [Information on business closure]. Hagoromo Bungu (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  11. ^ 木ノ下, めぐみ (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 (in Japanese). The Sankei News.
  12. ^ a b c d Watanabe, Takayasu (2 July 2015). "Hagoromo president explains why he closed down his beloved chalk business". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  13. ^ Pascaud, May (29 June 2015). "Mathematicians mourn the loss of the 'Rolls-Royce of chalk'". Public Radio International. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Mathematicians snatch up last boxes of the "Rolls-Royce of chalk"". As It Happens. 16 June 2015. CBC.
  15. ^ "Product - DC Chalk DX". Umajirushi. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  16. ^ Press release (in Japanese). https://www.uma-jirushi.co.jp/info/7895
  17. ^ Gopal, Trisha; Omanoff, Jacqueline; Chung, Evan (22 August 2020). "How a brand of chalk achieved cult status among mathematicians". CNN. Archived from the original on 30 August 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  18. ^ Kang, Karen (19 April 2019). "Hagoromo's High Quality Chalks, Still Beloved by Many in this Digital World" (Press release). PRWeb. Retrieved 31 August 2020.

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