|Kotobukiya Company first began as a single toy store for dolls operated by Jusaburo Shimizu in 1947. After a fire that wiped out the store in 1951, he re-created his sole propietorship into a limited liability company, together with his two brothers. While always continuing to focus on retail sales, Kotobukiya's first venture into original products as a model kit manufacturer began in 1983 with Armament, the first original model kit. This was followed in 1985 with King Godzilla, the very first licensed kit. What really set apart Kotobukiya from other model kit manufacturers was the acquisition of the model kit license for Gundam's THE-O, the first time a company other than Bandai was able to release Gundam products!
Their first foray into the non-kit buisness was in May 1989 with soft vinyl statues and the Active Styling Figures. Since then, they have increased their lineup with fully assembled and painted resin statues, the most notable of which is the Art Figure Collection. Sculpted by one of the top sculptors in Japan, Takayuki Takeya, they have attracted attention from all over the world. With future expansion in mind, Kotobukiya was incorporated on November 1, 1996. This was followed by the opening of the Yokohama retail store in April 1997 and the Akihabara retail store in 1999.
A new toy brand name, ARTFX was launched in July 1999 to incorporate the expansion into the fully sculpted action figure, soft vinyl statue and cold-cast buildup lines and the company has also received a new U.S. distrubtion name- Koto Inc..
Most recently, Diamond Comic Distributors has assumed Exclusive North American Distribution of all Koto products.