Mitsubishi Corporation history, profile and corporate video
Mitsubishi Corporation, a core member of the Mitsubishi Group, is a multinational general trading company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
The company’s origins date back to the beginnings of the Mitsubishi conglomerate founded by Yataro Iwasaki.
The old Mitsubishi Shoji
It all began in 1869 when the Mitsubishi founder Yataro Iwasaki was placed in a position of overseeing Tsukumo Shokai, a trading company established by the Tosa Clan.
In 1873, Yataro took an active role in managing the business and changed the company’s name to Mitsubishi Shokai. Mitsubishi, literally “three diamonds”, was the reference to the diamonds on the flags of the company’s ships.
The following year, the government was having trouble finding someone to transport troops and supplies to Taiwan and finally chose Mitsubishi for this task. Mitsubishi accepted the job, and the operation was a success, thereby earning the government’s confidence.
After continuing to support the government during the Satsuma Rebellion, Mitsubishi became Japan’s leading shipping enterprise.
In 1875, the company changed its name to Mitsubishi Jokisen Kaisha (Mitsubishi Steamship Company).
In 1876, the company adopted the name Yubin Kisen Mitsubishi (Mitsubishi Mail Steamship), with “Mail” being added in recognition of its new state functions, such as mail-carrying.
On February 7, 1885, Yataro Iwasaki (1835 – 1885) passed away at the young age of 50. Yataro’s oldest son Hisaya was quite young, so Yataro’s younger brother, Yanosuke Iwasaki, became the second president of Mitsubishi.
In 1885, Mitsubishi agreed to a merger with a rival shipping enterprise, which resulted in the establishment of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). With its shipping business transferred to Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Mitsubishi proceeded to establish Mitsubishi-Sha in 1886.
Yanosuke Iwasaki later went on to pioneer the development of new business fields, including insurance, banking, warehousing, and railways. These early ventures represent the forerunners of various “Mitsubishi” companies such as Tokio Marine & Nichido, Meiji Yasuda Life, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UF, and Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation.
In 1893, Yanosuke reorganized Mitsubishi-Sha into Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha, as a fifty-fifty joint venture with Hisaya, the son of Mitsubishi founder Yataro Iwasaki.
Mitsubishi is later passed on to Hisaya who became the third president of the company.
At the age of 50, Hisaya Iwasaki yielded the presidency to his cousin, Koyata Iwasaki (the son of Hisaya’s uncle, Yanosuke).
After becoming Mitsubishi’s fourth president in 1916, Koyata Iwasaki initiated several organizational reforms, spinning off various business divisions as joint-stock companies under the umbrella of Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha.
In 1918, Mitsubishi’s mining operations were spun off to form Mitsubishi Mining Co., the forerunner of today’s Mitsubishi Materials.
Around the same time, Mitsubishi’s trade department (originally named the coal sales department) was spun off to form Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha, the precursor to today’s Mitsubishi Corporation.
In 1934, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was launched as a separate company, bringing together operations involving shipbuilding and the manufacturing of heavy machinery, aircraft, and other industrial equipment.
In 1947, the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ) called for Japan’s family-owned business conglomerates to disband. This marked the end of the old Mitsubishi Shoji, which eventually dissolved.
The new Mitsubishi Shoji
Former employees soon established more than 100 different companies, but new companies were not permitted to hire more than two individuals who had served in positions of a department manager or higher at the old Mitsubishi Shoji.
In 1950, one of these companies, Kowa Jitsugyo, was allowed to take over the assets and business of the old Mitsubishi Shoji. The restrictions on employing officers and employees of the old Mitsubishi Shoji were also loosened. As a result, a trend toward consolidation in a new Mitsubishi Shoji began to emerge, which started a wave of mergers among the newly created companies.
In 1952, three core companies were established: Fuji Shoji, Tokyo Boeki and Tozai Boeki. Meanwhile, Kowa Jitsugyo adopted the name Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha.
The four companies eventually merged and the new Mitsubishi Shoji was launched on July 1, 1954.
In 1956, Mitsubishi Petrochemical (today’s Mitsubishi Chemical) was launched.
In 1969, Shell and Mitsubishi Shoji signed a joint venture agreement establishing Brunei LNG.
In 1971, Mitsubishi Shoji adopted the English name of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC).
The company operates through the following business segments:
The Natural Gas segment focuses on natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The Industrial Materials segment consists of construction materials, ceramic minerals (Silica sand, Bentonite, etc.), performance materials (carbon raw materials/products, PVC, and hydrogen peroxide water, etc.), and steel products.
Petroleum & Chemicals
The Petroleum & Chemicals segment involves the trading and manufacturing of crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrochemicals, salt, and methanol.
The Mineral Resources segment focuses on ferrous raw materials such as metallurgical coal and iron ore, as well as precious metals and non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminum.
The Industrial Infrastructure segment focuses on the fields of plant engineering, industrial machinery, as well as maritime and aerospace-related businesses.
Automotive & Mobility
The Automotive & Mobility segment handles the passenger and commercial vehicles manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, as well as the Isuzu vehicles. It also involves mobility solutions such as the on-demand bus service, an online car sales platform, used car business, after-sales services and fleet management.
The Food Industry segment focuses on pharmaceutical raw materials, agrochemical raw materials, cosmetic raw materials, food ingredients and formulas, health ingredients and products, wheat flour products, animal feed, sugar, fresh foods, seafood, agricultural products, processed foods, consumer products, meat & dairy products.
The Consumer Industry segment covers the needs of consumers in sectors such as retail, apparel, SPA (specialty store retailer of private label apparel), healthcare, tire, food distribution, and logistics.
The Power Solution segment focuses on the power generation and transmission business, the power trading business, the water supply, sewage and seawater desalination business, the development of the hydrogen business, renewable energy and distributed power generation business, the lithium-ion battery (LiB)-related business, and the utility businesses (electricity, gas, and water).
The Urban Development segment engages in the development and management of infrastructure projects, including airports, railways, roads and data centers, as well in the development of industrial facilities, retail facilities and residential properties. It also engages in private equity businesses and infrastructure fund management and provides financial services such as asset financing, as well as aircraft and automobile leasing services.
With over 86,000 employees Mitsubishi Corporation operates businesses together with its offices and subsidiaries in approximately 90 countries and regions worldwide, as well as a global network of around 1,700 group companies.
Mitsubishi Corporation is considered one of Japan’s largest trading companies. According to Forbes, it is considered one of the Top 2000 Largest Public Companies in The World.
*Information from Forbes.com, Wikipedia.org, and ”www.mitsubishicorp.com/jp/en”.
**Video published on YouTube by “MEPPI Solutions“.
***Video published on YouTube by “CompaniesHistory.com“.