From HARADA To EveryoneMESSAGEHarada Corporation 100th Anniversary SiteCelebrating the 100th Anniversary of Harada Corporation
How did we survive all this time?
Since our establishment in 1923, thanks to your support over many years,
Harada Corporation will celebrate its 100th anniversary in March 2023.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Our business began with the importation of sheet glass, and now a century has passed,
we globally operate a wide range of businesses in shipbuilding/ocean development, construction/infrastructure, electronics, healthcare/life science, food, retail and other fields
at our bases in ten cities around the world.
We would like to present the history of Harada Corporation
which has been filled with challenges,
and our vision for the next 100 years.
HARADA CORPORATION 100th Anniversary Site
Harada Corporation 100th Anniversary Site
100 years of companyHISTORYHarada Corporation 100th Anniversary Site100 years of company history
Latter Meiji period
In the early 1900s, a dedicated boy student named Kametaro Harada lived in Osaka, well known as "a city of merchants".
In the spring after graduating from junior high school, against his wish, he was sent out to an apprenticeship. To continue his learning, he took an admission test to attend high school in the fall without telling his mother. But he did not pass the test. Undeterred, he pleaded directly with the principal, and passion, was ultimately admitted. To juggle school and work, he devoted himself to studying late into the night. His hard work paid off, and he was named valedictorian at his graduation ceremony.…Later, he worked hard at a trading house in
Osaka and, gaining immense confidence from
his employer, was put in charge of keeping the
company's official seal to handle decisions.
However, the company failed to cope with the
recession caused by the Russo-Japanese War of
1904-05, and was forced to liquidate.
The employer asked Kametaro to take charge of
the liquidation, and the process of liquidation
showed him many employees losing their
livelihoods. The hardship resulting from
management failure was deeply etched into
Kametaro Harada's heart.
Meiji through Taisho periods
The history of Harada Corporation kicked off with the special demand for reconstruction after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
In March 1923, Kametaro established a trading company whose major business was done as the sole distributor of an American company manufacturing building plate glass.
In September of the same year, his employees were kept busy selling the glass day and night during the special procurement boom for the reconstruction following the Great Kanto Earthquake that struck the capital city, Tokyo.
This is how the long history of Harada Corporation kicked off.
Early Showa period
The corporation got off to a good start, but faced a major predicament in its fourth year.
A financial crisis occurred and only worsened in the aftermath of the Great Depression that occured two years later in 1929. It was an unprecedented situation that brought impoverishment throughout Japan. What went through Kametaro's mind at that time was the end of the company where he had worked before. He felt that he absolutely could not shut his company doors, since the livelihoods of his employees were at stake. He immediately counted the total number of employees and their families as 60, and then took measures to protect them all.…As companies were going bankrupt one after another, runs on banks were causing a loss in bank creditability. Kametaro
withdrew all the corporation's deposits and drafts, and kept them on his person at all times. This caution led him to move to a sturdy, reinforced concrete office building in the Semba area of Osaka.
The building served as a safe to guard the company's cash, as well as a house to protect the employees whom he considered a big family. In business, he believed it was vital not to make all-or-nothing gambles nor to take major risks. Kametaro committed himself to practicing solid management to
protect his company.
Early to mid-Showa period
during the war
During World War II, Harada Corporation could not conduct any foreign trade, and therefore was open but actually doing almost no business.
While it received inquiries about munitions, the corporation was not inclined to get involved in them; some conscripted employees were being killed in action.
Still, the company wanted to contribute in some way, so it donated a plane and a ship to transport the wounded and sick.
In the post-war era, while the steel industry drove the economic recovery, Harada Corporation focused mainly on shipbuilding.
To meet frequent requests from northern European ship owners, Harada Corporation became the first Japanese trading company to open a representative office in Norway, and went on to deliver state-of-the-art European equipment to shipbuilders.
Harada Corporation leveraged its agility, which was lacking in large general trading companies, to grow this trade into a major part of its business.
Latter Showa period
The second president of Harada Corporation introduced a new way of business, keeping the philosophy of solid management.
Instead of procuring and supplying items only after they were ordered, the corporation would keep products in store as inventory. This would create some risk, but would also enable a quick response to customer orders.…This decision came from the judgement that accurately predicting customer needs secures stable sales.
Relying on this strategy, Harada Corporation opened local offices in Oslo, London, and New York in the 1960s, and expanded its range of products into the automotive, home-furnishing, and medical fields, etc.
Latter Showa period
Evolved into a trading company that could respond to the changing times.
The declining shipbuilding industry in Japan and the oil shock forced us to restructure our business.
In search of new opportunities by expanding our business domain, we decided to start a full-fledged search for new business development as an offensive measure for solid management.
The business expanded into the automotive, interior furnishings and jewelry fields.
Latter Showa period
Received an award as the first company under the "Program to honor companies that contribute to imports".
At the time, there was a concern about the Japan-US trade dispute.
The government created an award program as a centerpiece of import promotion. Harada Corporation won the first award from former Prime Minister Uno (then Minister of International Trade and Industry) for its contribution to the importation of marine equipment.
At the time, draft beer, which had started spreading into the Japanese market, was gaining popularity and replacing bottled beer, leading to a rapid increase in sales of beer keg systems.
Early Heisei period
Built a foundation for global expansion by entering Asian markets with the electronics business at the core.
In pursuing new businesses, the first thing the corporation zeroed in on was the semiconductor field. At the time, it gathered information from the United States, a technology leader, and then went around on walk-in sales visits to all the major electronics manufacturers in Japan. That effort bore fruit, and this business went on to become one of the core businesses. Eventually, as companies shifted their production sites outside Japan, in the 1990s Harada Corporation established a supply system that would allow it to keep doing the same business overseas as well.…The Singapore branch was established in 1998, and the supply of cleanroom gloves and development of Cleanroom garment required in HDD-related factories helped us to gain a foothold in expanding our business in the Asian region.
Our Cleanroom garment made of special antistatic fabric won a great reputation, and was a major factor in assisting Japanese companies to manufacture their products overseas.
This led to the launch of our own original brand featuring thorough quality control, helping us to expand our business without borders.
We then expanded our sales to manufacturers of electronic components for smartphones and automobiles, and started supplying our products to Asian countries as truly unique cleanroom gear indispensable for manufacturing. Our operation bases now cover
Taiwan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The third president expanded business areas and established a joint venture company while coping with risk.
The appointment of the third president paved the way for solid management. Based on the first president's idea of "avoiding high-risk options," he was reluctant to enter food-related fields, in which the extent of company responsibility was unknown.
Despite this, after careful consideration, we decided to establish a joint venture with a food production machinery manufacturer to introduce excellent European technologies and raw materials to Japan, in which utmost care had been taken regarding risk.…We started the business in a position very close to that of a manufacturer.
The raw materials business followed this approach, helping us to ensure both safety and efficiency by working closely with overseas
manufacturers and suppliers, and this became one of our major businesses.
In the beverage business, we achieved both cost reduction and Japanese product quality by outsourcing the production using advanced concepts from overseas to our domestic partner factories under license, resulting in a stable order flow.
This business model was also rolled out in the construction field.
Challenge to an unexperienced "clinical trial", contributing to the Japanese healthcare
The 21st century brought us a new challenge.
"Can any company produce a silicone fillings to treat an intractable pneumothorax (a disease in which a hole in a lung makes it impossible to breathe)?"…The development of medical devices was uncharted territory for Harada Corporation at that time.
We immediately began working with the late Dr. Yoichi Watanabe of Okayama Red Cross Hospital on product development.
The revolutionary "Endobronchial Watanebe Spigot (EWS)" was manufactured in France. Previously, the only available treatment was to cut open the chest and close the holes with a bond. With EWS, silicone spigots can be delivered through the mouth to close the holes in the lungs, thereby reducing the burden not only on suffering patients but also on medical doctors and hospitals.
However, the legal safety standards made it impossible to sell the product in Japan. Eight years had passed with feelings of frustration.
Harada Corporation then decided to conduct a clinical trial by itself.
Conducting a clinical trial by a mid-sized trading company was extremely rare. The efforts, which lasted approximately three years have paid off and had the product approved as a medical device in Japan.
After 13 years of the product launch in France, the dream of selling the product in Japan finally came true. The product has saved many patients' lives, as Dr. Watanabe had wished.
The success made a big impact throughout the niche market and the presence of Harada Corporation in the respiratory field.
The fourth president led an integrated and accelerated transformation, and took up the challenge
After the diversification, the expansion of globalization, the Lehman Shock and the Great East Japan Earthquake, the world was entering a period of further "change."
Feeling a sense of crisis, the fourth president… and the employees reexamined the strengths and raison d'être of Harada Corporation.They then decided to take on the challenge of change rather than just maintaining the status quo. In addition to our Asian bases, which we had kept expanding, we opened an office in Germany aiming to grow our business in Europe.
We also developed a diverse approach to people, information and products while actively adopting M&A strategies.
We shifted from the traditional in-house approach of doing everything ourselves to open innovation, continually challenging ourselves to practice solid management.
Responded decisively to the diversifying needs of our customers.
We started offering custom-made workwear for a wide variety of industries and a wide range of customers. This was meant to directly improve organizational morale and corporate branding, but expensive manufacturing costs for conventional custom-made models left us with only a couple options； making a proposal based on a large lot production or ready-made products.…In response, Harada Corporation solved the problem by establishing its own factory.
We established a factory in Vietnam capable of responding to specialized requests to meet the diverse needs of our customers, even with small-lot orders.
Evolving to the next level of service quality, the factory has now grown to more than 100 employees.
Building up a structure to supply the products and services stably
It had been almost 40 years since we started our business in the medical field.
Our medical team had built up strong relationships with healthcare professionals, local distributors and overseas manufacturers, which lead to expanding our product lineup and sales.…Aiming to expand sales channels and products, we established a company Harada Sansei Medical Supply Corporation by acquiring a company specialized for distributing obstetrics and gynecology products.
Although the number of births in Japan was declining, the importance of obstetrics and gynecology would remain the same also in the future.
Continuously supplying reliable products and services for this niche market is essential. That is also one of our important missions.
Heisei through Reiwa periods
As part of the open innovation policy, we created a department dedicated to promoting new business development.
The "HARADA ACCELERATOR PROGRAM" was launched to promote co-creation activities with startups operating around the world, and six-month-long programs were completed twice, despite the Corona crisis.…In 2022, we also invested in Harada Corporation's first startup with a view to future collaboration in global expansion.
In addition, we acquired the medical device business of EFER, France, to scale up the global perspective of Harada Corporation, which is increasingly trusted due to the success of its clinical trials.
Despite being a mid-sized trading company, we came to build a foundation on a par with medical device manufacturers.
We have significantly diversified our approaches from our product-oriented business model, and we will continue to take on the endless challenges by tirelessly evolving.
Since the establishment of Harada Corporation in 1923, we have moved forward together with the development of Japan's industry through trading.
In recent years, we have been adopting a variety of approaches to incorporate new developments as we expand our business domain.
Nowadays, the business environment surrounding us is changing drastically from one day to the next, and at an astonishing pace.
We intend to be a company that not only fulfills the roles it has played up until now as a trading company, but also quickly provides value-added services and ideas that only we can offer, responds to partners' needs in a timely manner, goes forward together with our customers, and at times even pulls them along.