Story of Kanematsu

Time of Startup 1889-

After the foundation in 1889, Fusajiro established the basis for sales in about ten years, by which time he was responsible for 40% to 50% of Japan’s wool imports. Around the time of World War I, in line with the unprecedented growth of Japan’s trade, exports increased. During World War II, while trade with Europe and the US declined, Fusajiro adapted to the wartime economy and expanded into the collection of goods and production to mark the beginning of diversified management.

Founder, Fusajiro Kanematsu

History of Kanematsu

1889
Fusajiro Kanematsu founds Fusajiro Kanematsu Shoten of Australian Trading in Kobe.
1890
Sets up a branch in Sydney, and begins direct import of Australian wool.
1900
Starts import of Australian wheat
1913
Opens stores in New York and Seattle
1943
Changes trade name to Kanematsu and Company.
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Events in Japan

1889
The Constitution of the Empire of Japan is issued
1894
Dr. Shibasaburo Kitazato discovers Yersinia pestis
1923
The Great Kanto Earthquake

World Events

1889
The Eiffel Tower is completed
1903
The Wright brothers succeed in flying an airplane
1914
World War I breaks out
1939
World War II breaks out
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After World War II

Kanematsu responded to the change in demand caused by the structural reform of Japan’s economy and converted from a trade company centered on fibers to a general trade corporation. Before World War II, fibers accounted for about 80% of sales, but after World War II, products other than fibers accounted for about 70% of sales.

The building where Kanematsu's New York office was located at the time

History of Kanematsu

1949
Resumption of foreign tours for employees. The first group departs for America.
1951
Establishes an overseas affiliated company in New York, as the first Japanese trading company in postwar era. Establishes an overseas affiliated company in Brazil.
1957
Establishes an overseas affiliated company in West Germany.
1961
Lists stock on the Second Section of the Osaka Securities Exchange
1966
Establishes an overseas affiliated company in Thailand.
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Events in Japan

1949
Hideki Yukawa receives the Nobel Prize in Physics
1958
The Tokyo Tower is completed
1964
The Tokyo Olympics are held and the Tokaido Shinkansen line commences operation
1967
Japan's population exceeds the 100 million mark

World Events

1945
World War II ends
1950
The Korean War breaks out
1962
Cuban Missile Crisis
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High Growth Period 1967-

In 1967, Kanematsu and Gosho Company merged to further accelerate the conversion to a general trading corporation. In late 1970s, during a period of winter-like hardship for trading companies, when they were criticized for causing inflation through their business activities or were said to be unnecessary, Kanematsu had a hard time as its revenues increased but its profits fell.

Former Tokyo headquarters building

History of Kanematsu

1967
Merges with The Gosho Company to form Kanematsu-Gosho, Ltd.
1970
Establishes its Head Office at the Tokyo Branch Office.
1973
Lists stock on the First Sections of the Tokyo Stock Exchanges.
1979
Establishes a representative office in Beijing, China following restoration of diplomatic relations.
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Events in Japan

1970
Osaka Expo held
1972
Sapporo Winter Olympics held / Okinawa Restoration
1973
Wild price spiral caused by the Oil Shock / Buyout of housewares
1978
New Tokyo International Airport opens in Narita

World Events

1969
Apollo 11 makes the first-ever lunar landing
1973
First oil shock
1981
Space Shuttle makes the first flight
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Bubble/Structural Reform Period 1985-

Against a background of a high-yen recession caused by the Plaza Accord, monetary easing was implemented. The economic bubble period began.
During this period, Kanematsu grew steadily centered on fuel and chemical products. After the collapse of the bubble economy, through the Heisei recession, in 1999 Kanematsu undertook a number of reforms to strengthen its business structure. By refining its business focus, Kanematsu took steps to improve and enhance its financial foundations. In 2014, Kanematsu announced VISION-130 for its 130th anniversary. In view of maintaining sound financial strength and expanding its revenue base at the same time, Kanematsu took on new challenges, including new investments, to become a corporation that constantly seeks to create business.

Sesvans Building where the headquarters are currently located

History of Kanematsu

1989
100th anniversary of the founding of the Company.
1990
Changes trade name to Kanematsu Corporation.
1999
Structural Reform Plan
2013
Resumption of dividend for the first time in 15 years
2014
Kanematsu Corporation will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2014.
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Events in Japan

1995
The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake / Tokyo subway sarin gas attack
1998
Nagano Winter Olympics held
2002
FIFA World Cup Japan/Korea
2011
The Great East Japan Earthquake

World Events

1985
Plaza Accord
1989
Fall of the Berlin Wall
1991
Gulf War
1996
Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Peru
2001
Simultaneous terrorist attacks in the US
2008
Lehman's collapse
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