The initial idea of the 500 Colored Pencils set was first developed in 1992 by Felissimo. The current set of colored pencils is the fourth generation re-design of the original concept. It serves as a tribute to pencil craftsmanship by local Japanese artisans in Tokyo. While the vast majority of pencils are circular or hexagonal in shape, these colored pencils were designed to be square-shaped so that they are easier and more comfortable to grip. The lead in the pencils is manufactured in Kofu, Yamanashi and the colored pencils are made by small independently-owned factories in Katsushika and Arakawa, areas known as the centers of Japan's woodworking industry.
Many of the colored pencils have been named to capture a unique joyous feeling that you get at a particular moment, thus translating a fleeting feeling into a visual experience. You will find pencil names such as "Morning Lawn," "Crisp Air," "College Crush," "New Bike," and "First Date," and they have been so well-named that you can probably imagine what colors those pencils are!
Japanese pencil makers are shrinking year by year due to the low birth rate and the rise of technology. The number of manufacturers peaked at 140 to now just a quarter. 20 of them are near Tokyo, which is why this series is also named Tokyo Seeds as a tribute to the local artisans.