Journey to Sumitomo’s RootsSumitomo’s Philosophy Flourishes Today

The Besshi Copper Mines shaped Sumitomo Group’s development. In Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, where the mines once flourished, we will introduce our predecessors’ aspirations and Sumitomo Group’s fruitful relations with local communities. The Sumitomo story is mirrored in an extraordinary industrial heritage. Through six vivid episodes, from environmental, societal, and economic perspectives, explore the value Sumitomo has created up to the present.

Speaker: Teruaki Sueoka, Research Advisor, Sumitomo Historical Archives
Navigator: Saya Nomura, freelance reporter
Cooperation and materials provided by: Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture; Hirose Memorial Museum; Besshi Copper Mine Memorial Museum; Sumitomo Chemical Historical Materials Museum; Sumitomo Historical Archives

Part 1. Birth of the Besshi Copper Mines that Shaped Sumitomo’s Development

Inaugurated in 1691, the Besshi Copper Mines developed rapidly thanks to their rich ore deposits. The video traces the footsteps of our predecessors who succeeded in laying the foundation of Sumitomo’s prosperity, despite the rigors of the natural environment and technological challenges along the way.

Part 2. Dawn of Besshi’s Modernization

During the Meiji Era, in the context of the government’s policy of promoting industrial development, Sumitomo transformed the Besshi Copper Mines.
Under the leadership of first Director-General Saihei Hirose, the comprehensive modernization of the Besshi Copper Mines was accomplished in little more than a decade.