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Origins of Sumitomo Corporation
Sumitomo Corporation's history dates back to the 17th century, when Masatomo Sumitomo opened a book and medicine shop in Kyoto. Masatomo wrote and left for posterity a document entitled "Monjuin Shiigaki (Founder's Precepts)," describing how a merchant should conduct business. Forming the basis of Sumitomo's Business Philosophy of pursuing integrity and sound management rather than easy gains, these teachings have been passed down and adhered to across the Sumitomo Group for 400 years, right up until today.
After Masatomo's time, the Sumitomo business grew and flourished in the copper mining and refining industry and other related sectors. Embracing the credos of "Benefit for self and others, private and public interests are one and the same" and "Grand Design," which, respectively, emphasize the importance of social contribution and an enterprising spirit, the Sumitomo Group has gone on to become one of Japan's leading corporate groups, with interests in finance, insurance, steel, real estate and others. Sumitomo Corporation is a major player within the group.
1900s to 1950s Foundation of Sumitomo Corporation
Sumitomo Corporation was originally founded as The Osaka North Harbour Co., Ltd. in December 1919. The company engaged in real estate management, conducting land reclamation in Osaka Bay.
In 1945, the company decided to enter the trading business and set up a new trading department. In January 1946, this trading department formally inaugurated with only 32 people, to later become today’s Sumitomo Corporation.
In 1949, the company listed its shares for public trading on the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya stock exchanges. The company also steadily expanded its presence abroad by opening its overseas offices in other countries. The company's name was changed to Sumitomo Shoji Kaisha, Ltd. in 1952.
1960s to 1970s: Reorganization for expansion
The company set itself the goal of boosting its sales to become the third-largest trading company under the slogan of "Big Three," at the same time looking to increase its sales per capita.
The Company diversified its product range to include iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, machinery and electrical equipments, agricultural and marine products, chemicals, textiles, general products, fuel products and real estate.
1980s to Present: Integrated Business Enterprise for continuous innovations
In 1988, the company set out its vision of becoming an Integrated Business Enterprise, aimed at promoting business activities in addition to the existing trading activities in order to expand its earnings base . The new slogans, "Seeing Tomorrow , Innovating Today " and "Global Mind, Global Reach" were adopted in 1988 and in 1994 respectively. This initiative focused on strengthening existing trading operations and aggressively pursuing new investment opportunities. Today Sumitomo Corporation plays a key role in the global exchange of goods, services and technology.
Present :"Be the Best, Be the One’’ - Toward the centennial
In 2012, the company set forth "What We Aim to Be in 2019, Our Centennial Year" and adopted "Be the Best, Be the One" as its new slogan. The years until the centenary are considered to be the period in which a foundation will be laid for the company’s steady, continuous growth over the coming 50 and 100 years.