It jumps to the text.Home HomeSitemapJapanese
Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Committee List of Group Companies Discoveries of Japan About Sumitomo Current Major Activities Sumitomo in History History Business Philosophy Related Facilities Origin
Origin  

Making a Great Company That Serves Society  Sumitomo Life Insurance Company
With Japan’s declining birth rate and aging population, Sumitomo Life Insurance continually works to accommodate the nation’s diversifying and growing health - care coverage needs with innovative products under its “Kaigo to Iryo no Sumisei” brand (Sumitomo Life—your long - term care and medical insurance coverage provider). The company owes its beginning to the founder’s desire to build an ideal insurance company with his own hands, and to the dedication of the Sumitomo people who followed that noble ambition. In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group companies; in this issue, we take a look at Sumitomo Life Insurance.
Women began working in life insurance sales after World War II. Sumitomo Life Insurance, which began selling life insurance policies with monthly premium payments in 1951, actively recruited woman on its sales staff and encouraged many other to enter the work force. This photo shows a morning assembly at the start of the workday in that era.



Advancing into the New Century, Empowered by Innovation  NEC Corporation
Starting with the telephone, NEC has constantly been at the cutting edge in electronics, computers, the Internet, and communication tools. Over a century has passed since NEC became the first Japanese company to be established with foreign capital, and during that time it has always pursued innovation. In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group companies; in this issue we take a look at NEC.
A Ko - type common - battery subscriber exchange, used primarily during the period from shortly after the turn of the century to the mid - 1910s. Early telephones were known as magneto telephones (pictured bellow) and contained a dynamo that, when cranked, would call the operator. Eventually the common - battery system was developed, and this allowed subscribers to call the operator by merely lifting the receiver. Switching equipment was installed through a collaboration between Nippon Electric Company (now NEC) and Western Electric.



Pursuing New Technology for the Benefit of Society  Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd.
In the 1930s, a non- life insurance company that could have disappeared without a trace was revived at the hands of Sumitomo. The seed sown by a selfless business leader imbued with a vision of competing companies existing and prospering together eventually bore fruit as Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited—a company with a dynamic business portfolio centered on the non- life and life insurance businesses, plus financial services and risk- related services. In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group Companies; in this issue we take a look at Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.
Executives and employees of Fuso Marine outside the company’s headquarters in the Yusen Building, Tokyo. Sumitomo consolidated its management of the company to counteract the earnings downturn in the postwar depression with measures such as closing down or scaling back overseas operations.



Pursuing New Technology for the Benefit of Society  Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd.
Nippon Sheet Glass has become a pioneer in the development of new applications as diverse as information technology and glass fiber by constantly exploring the limits of what can be done with glass. In this month’s installment of the Origin series, we explore the roots and development of a Sumitomo Group company with a business that today spans the globe. This is all due to the resolve of one man who, in the early Taisho period, was able to make a major contribution to Japan’s modernization by bringing in the latest equipment from overseas—thanks, of course, to the foresight and support of the House of Sumitomo.
The Futajima Plant of America Japan Sheet Glass Co., Ltd. (now Nippon Sheet Glass) in Fukuoka Prefecture. Four towering chimneys were built to ensure efficient air intake for the new glass furnaces. The plant began production in October 1920 using the then state-of- the-art Colburn Process.



Creativity and Pioneering Spirit Underpin the Development of a Country's Infrastructure  Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
Founded as a manufacturer of electric wire and cable, the mainstay supporting Japan’s social infrastructure, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. has long been supplying a broad range of modern industries—especially automobiles and electronics—with a variety of components and materials essential to their development. The springboard of Sumitomo Electric’s development was its unrelenting drive to acquire and apply advanced technology during its early period as it worked to create value-added products from a basic resource: copper. In this installment of the Origin series, we look back at the beginnings of Sumitomo Electric, another mainstay member of the Sumitomo Group.
Sumitomo Copper Rolling Works’ cable plant in Nishinoda-cho, Osaka was founded in 1908, just when demand for electric wires and cables was rising sharply. This plant is the birthplace of the company’s cable manufacturing business.



Asset Management Organization with Public Service Ethos The Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.
In the Origin series, we explore the roots and development of Sumitomo Group companies. Sumitomo Trust & Banking has led the way in the trust business by pioneering many financial products and services such as loan trusts. In addition to product development, what drove the company’s management in times of crisis was its founding principle of fulfilling society’s expectations and its responsibilities for the public good.
Headquarters sales office in the early days
The sales office at the Sumitomo Trust Company’s headquarters shortly after it was founded on September 2, 1925. The office employed 42 people, excluding part-time directors, starting with a small work force on the basis of a policy committed to sound, “safety first” management.



Greater Strides with a Foundation Stone of Heritage and Talent Sumitomo Corporation
With a vast network of some 120 sales locations and 100,000 business partners worldwide, Sumitomo Corporation continues to grow as a world-class company with “integrated corporate strength” as its core competence.
In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group companies since the Company began operating as a serious contender among trading houses in 1945.
The former Sumitomo Building
The former Sumitomo Building (now the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Osaka Headquarters Building), where Sumitomo Corporation’s head office was previously based.



Supporting industry with materials borne of human ingenuitySumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd.
Nearly a century has passed since Bakelite was developed into an industrial product. Bakelite, the first synthetic resin ever put to practical commercial use, has come to be used in a huge range of products, including electronic and telecommunications devices, automobiles, and even houses. Indeed, it is safe to say that Bakelite is now indispensable to society. The large impact it still has on the world today is a tribute to Bakelite’s ever-evolving functionality. In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group companies; in this issue we take a look at Sumitomo Bakelite, a company that wears the name Bakelite proudly like a crown.
The Bakelite plant in the mid-1920s
When the previous factory was destroyed in a fire, it was replaced in 1919 with Japan’s first dedicated synthetic resin plant.



From warehousing to global distribution
In the Origin series, we explore the roots and development of Sumitomo Group companies. Sumitomo Warehouse builds distribution systems that link Japan with the rest of the globe, offering an end-to-end full-service logistics system encompassing warehousing, transport, and data processing. This global enterprise started a century ago as a portside earthen storehouse in Osaka, Japan’s largest commercial city at the time.
The first ship arrived at Sumitomo Wharf
The Baikaru Maru, 5,200 tons, the first ship to arrive at Sumitomo Warehouse’s direct docking facility, laden with cargo from Dalian, China. Although the wharf had been officially named Osaka City Dock No. 1, it became popularly known as Sumitomo Wharf because Sumitomo finished the project, at its expenses.



Bold steps forward. Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co.,Ltd.
It is the quite familiar sites in the modern cities, such as the high-rise buildings reaching up to the sky and spreading road networks that provide freedom of movement. By supplying one of the basic materials for the construction of the national infrastructure, the Japanese cement industry has contributed greatly to the development of the economy.
In the Origin series, we explore the roots and development of Sumitomo Group companies. This month’s installment is about Sumitomo Osaka Cement, a company that stands tall in its industry, having overcome numerous challenges brought by changing business circumstances over the years.
Cement packaging
Cement packaging around 1930. Today, paper bags are the most common form of cement packaging, but at that time, three types of packaging were used: barrels, hemp bags, and paper bags.



Ninety years of converting society’s needs into creative businesses. Sumitomo Chemical Co.,Ltd.
In the Origin series, we explore the roots and evolution of Sumitomo Group companies. In this issue we take a look at Sumitomo Chemical, a diversified chemical maker who today produces a wide range of products from petrochemicals and fine chemicals to IT-related chemicals and agricultural chemicals. The company’s 90-year history is united by an enduring spirit of innovation to enrich people’s lives.
The Ehime Works in the 1930s.



The fusion of two businesses. Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.
In the Origins series, we explore the roots and development of Sumitomo Group companies. Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. was born from the fusion of two companies—each of which was ahead of its time—forming a strong foundation for progress. One was the machinery division of Japan’s foremost copper mining company; the other was one of Japan’s oldest shipbuilding companies, which the government had originally established for national security purposes.
Bessi Kogyosho
Work on a new smelter at Niihama started in earnest in 1887, and in 1888 the facility was operating. This kind of capital investment fed the growth of the machine shop.



A century of modern Japanese industrial history. Sumitomo Light Metal Industries, Ltd.
Military preparedness. The desire of nations not to be defeated in war sometimes stimulates technological and industrial innovation in ways that the usual demands of economy and efficiency do not. World War II, for example, gave rise to such innovations as jet aircraft and nuclear power, while more recently, the Internet has provided another example of technological innovation emerging from defense research. Looking back over the past century, Japan was involved in four wars, including conflicts with China, Russia, and then the Allies in WWII. Technological innovations that emerged from the extreme conditions of wartime form a significant part of the business foundation of Sumitomo Light Metal Industries, Ltd.
Sumitomo’s copper-rolling works
Until the early 20th century, Japan lacked the technology to produce the kind of high-performance condenser pipe needed for warships. In 1909, however, Sumitomo’s copper-rolling business succeeded in manufacturing Japan’s first drawn brass pipe.



Four centuries harnessing metals. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
In “Origin,” we explore the earliest origins of Sumitomo group companies.
The word “metal” comes from the Greek metallao, meaning to search. The search for metals and the task of extracting them and putting them to use in support of modern society spans the globe. This root meaning of metal is reflected in the history of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., a company born of the search for metals and the technologies to smelt them.
Kanki Shaft
Mining at the Besshi Mine, at which a surface vein of copper was discovered in 1690, started from the shaft at left. The shaft entrance was called Kanki Shaft (shown at left); kanki means “to raise the voice in joy.”
Copyright(C) Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Committee