Rikagaku has been making quality art materials for over 80 years since it's founding in 1937 as a manufacturer of chalks. Rikagaku chalk products began as regular hard white chalks made from calcium carbonate and were the preferred brand for many schools and businesses. In 1967 RIkagaku expanded its production and 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 we developed a patented process to recycle these shell byproducts. The use of powdered shells had the additional benefit of making Rikagaku Chalks stronger, smoother, and longer lasting! It’s no surprise that more than 60% of the chalks currently used by schools in Japan are Rikagaku Chalks.