Can you imagine that 22,219 Japanese companies were founded at least a century ago? According to an article of Asahi Shimbun this claim was made by the most commonly used data base in Japan – Teikoku Databank – having data of about 1.3 million Japanese companies. Even more amazing is that 1,200 companies were established about 200 years ago in Japan. If you really consider referring to Japanese tradition and continuity let me point out that even 39 companies have existed for 500 years. As the oldest company Teikoku Databank has listed Kongogumi Co., a temple and shrine building company, which stands out for sure, because they were founded in 578. On the other hand, in 2006 due to financial problems they became the subsidiary of Takamatsu, a large Japanese construction company. More can be read in Bloomberg Business Week or then the actual Kongogumi company website in Japanese with beautiful pictures.
Another example is the Hotel operator Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi Prefecture as the nation’s third-oldest company, which was established in 705. I assume their unique business allowed truly inward focus on local needs, which has become their secret for survival. On the other hand, there must have been many more companies trying to make a living in the same sector, but did not last as long. For sure these long-existing companies, know how to survive local and international wars, economical hardship and were able to adjust to complete changes in the industrial structure.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)