Corporate Information


Nippon Kayaku was founded in 1916 as the first industrial explosives manufacturer in Japan under the company name Nippon Kayaku Seizo Co., Ltd.. Subsequently, the company acquired Teikoku Senryo Seizo Co., Ltd. and Yamakawa Seiyaku Co., Ltd., and in 1945, changed its operating name to the current Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd.

Birth of Nippon Kayaku: 1916-1945

In 1916, Jotaro Yamamoto, intent on establishing a private company for manufacturing explosives, set up the Nippon Kayaku Seizo Co., Ltd. together with co-founders Naokichi Kaneko and Soubei Mogi. In 1943, by acquiring Teikoku Senryo Seizo Co., Ltd. and Yamakawa Seiyaku Co., Ltd., the company began its foray into dyes and pharmaceuticals with the aim of growing even further in the three businesses as its core: explosives, dyes, and pharmaceuticals. In 1945, the company name was changed to Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd..

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From reconstruction to growth: 1946-1956

After the Second World War, in the 1950s, the production volume of explosives saw massive growth. The development of fluorescent dyes began in around 1949 and soon reached total domestic sales figures that were the highest in Japan. The pharmaceutical division began manufacturing penicillin in 1948, and by 1955, the business had captured a 45% share of the domestically produced penicillin market. In addition, Nippon Kayaku formed an alliance with the Swiss company Geigy and commenced production of the pesticide Diazinon in 1956. Thus, the agrochemical division was established, which then led to the agrobusiness of the present day.

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Business expansion during the period of rapid economic growth: 1957-1972

In 1962, Nippon Kayaku decided to nominate itself for the Deming Prize, which is awarded to organizations that contribute to the advancement of total quality control (TQC). And as a result of company-wide training, the prize was awarded to Nippon Kayaku in 1963. In the pharmaceutical business, bleomycin, discovered by Dr. Umezawa in 1962, was developed into an anticancer drug by Nippon Kayaku. The drug was introduced to the market in 1969. In addition, the epoxy resin research and development project was kicked off in 1965, and a new resin division was subsequently founded in 1971. Further, a joint venture, Kayaku Akzo Co., Ltd. was established with Dutch company Akzo Chemie, resulting in significant business expansion, including commencement of the production and sale of organic peroxides, as well as completion of a new pharmaceuticals plant in Takasaki.

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Business expansion amidst challenging times: 1973-1980

Amidst the continuing difficult times that saw the first oil crisis and the closure of coal mines, Nippon Kayaku strengthened its management foundations through large organizational reformation as well as through the closure and consolidation of manufacturing plants. In 1973, the introduction of government legislation to provide for the medical costs of the elderly was a major boost to the pharmaceutical industry, and products such as Muscalm tablets and adhesive patches that were based on Panakayaku were launched. In addition, there was aggressive development in the agrochemical market in Asia at around this time, and the catalyst licensing business was commenced as well.

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Business restructuring and testing new waters: 1981-1997

In 1983, the organization that comprised five operational divisions, nine departments, and one section was restructured into one that comprised two operational divisions, seven departments, and three sections. In addition, overseas offices were opened in New York and Dusseldorf in response to the demands of globalization. Further, Taiwan Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd. was founded in 1993 with an overseas office in Shangahai. In the latter half of 1990, offshoring of manufacturing forged ahead, marked by the establishment of the new Chinese joint-venture companies Zhaoyuan Advanced Chemical Co., Ltd., followed by Wuxi Advanced Chemical Co., Ltd.. In addition, Polatechno Co., Ltd., which manufactures polarization films for LCD displays, was established. The inflator business had also been kicked-off at around this time.

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Group business management and global expansion: 1998-

After the year 2000, Nippon Kayaku spun-off various business units, including the Tokyo plant, the Fukuyama plant, and the color material unit, with the aim of achieving corporate efficiency through group management. In addition, new businesses were commenced in the each business. In the functional chemistry business, Nippon Kayaku expanded its activities into the photopolymer market as well as into the development of C4 catalysts. In the safety systems business, marketing activities began in the USA and in the Czech Republic. In the pharmaceutical business, Nippon Kayaku commenced working down the path of "specialty pharma" in cancer-related fields.

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