Company first began as a single toy store for dolls operated by Jusaburo Shimizu in 1947. In 1951, he re-created his sole proprietorship into a limited liability company, together with his two brothers.
While always continuing to focus on retail sales, KOTOBUKIYA first venture into original products as a model kit manufacturer began in 1983 with Armament, our first original model kit. This was followed in 1985 with King Godzilla, our very first licensed kit.
What really set apart KOTOBUKIYA from other model kit manufacturers was the acquisition of the model kit license for Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam THE-O mecha, the first time a company other than Bandai was able to release Gundam products!
Our first foray into the non-kit business was in May of 1989 with soft vinyl statues and the Active Styling Figures (today branded as ARTFX Statues). Since then, we have increased our lineup with fully assembled and painted resin statues (now known as KOTOBUKIYA Fine Art Statues), Action Figures, One Coin Mini Figures and more!
As a model kit manufacturer, we were always striving to further improve the material and detail and articulation of our kits. That level of commitment has continued throughout all product types that we have developed, and KOTOBUKIYA is renowned for our quality and dedication to craftsmanship.
In our retail stores, we hold annual sculpting and painting contests, which is judged by our in-house and other known sculptors and outside judges, including the editor-in-chief of Hobby Japan, the Japanese model magazine. The number of entries normally exceeds three hundred, with entrants from all over Japan. In fact, some of our in-house sculptors originated as entrants into the contest and other toy manufacturers have scouted many others!
Over the years, were attracted the attention of not only top artistic talents, but also the favor of publishers and licensors who wish to work with only the best the toy and collectible industry has to offer.