The oldest companies in the world are in Japan! 

What are the companies that have been in business for over 1000 years?

 There is data that the average life expectancy of domestic companies is about 30 years.  On the other hand, about 3100 companies, which is half of the 5600 companies that have been in business for more than 200 years, are concentrated in Japan.  Moreover, of the only 12 companies in the world that have been in business for over 1000 years, 9 are in Japan.  With so many short-lived companies, what kind of work did you do to become a company that has exceeded 1000 years?  Let’s look at them in order of founding year.

 Founded in 578: Kongo Gumi, Architecture (Osaka) 

The oldest existing company is in Japan.  It hasn’t been going on for 578 years.  It was founded in 578.  At that time, Japan was in the Asuka period.  Kongo Gumi was founded by Prince Shotoku (!), A palace carpenter, Shigemitsu Kongo, who was invited by Baekje to build Shitennoji Temple.

 I was surprised that he was run by the Kongo clan until 2005.  For generations, as a carpenter of Shitennoji, he has been mainly involved in the construction of temples and shrines, and is also involved in the restoration of Edo Castle and Osaka Castle.  However, in 2006, the business went bankrupt due to the popularity of craftsmen who disregarded profits and focused on quality.  Currently, it has become a group company of Takamatsu Corporation and has inherited the technology that has continued for more than 1400 years.

 Founded in 587: Ikenobo Flower Arrangement, Professor Ikebana (Kyoto Prefecture)

 The second longest-established store in Japan by a small margin is the Ikenobo Hanadokai.  We are working to popularize fresh flowers that are handed down in Ikenobo, flower arrangement.  The founding of 587 seems to be named after the year when the Chohoji Rokkakudo, where the Ikenobo family has served as a priest for generations, was built.

 Founded in 705: Keiunkan / Ryokan Management (Yamanashi Prefecture)

 The name of the Keiunkan, which has been certified by Guinness as the oldest hotel, comes from the era name “Keiun” of the times of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Genmei.  In 705, after discovering a hot spring that springs up on the banks of the river, he has been a family member and is now the 52nd generation.

 It has been known for its famous hot springs for a long time, and there are records that Shingen Takeda and Ieyasu Tokugawa visited twice.  The amount of hot springs that naturally spring up is 400 liters per minute.  It is also the hot spring that boasts the largest amount of spring water in the world.

 Founded in 717: Koman / Ryokan management (Hyogo prefecture)

 Koman has been in the inn business since 717 at Kinosaki Onsen, which is rumored to have many business trips by lawmakers.  It was opened seven years after the transfer of capital to Heijokyo.  An ancient document summarizing the history of Kinosaki Onsen records how the founding family cultivated land and laid the foundation for Kinosaki Onsen.

 According to the company’s website, Tatsunori Hara currently belongs as an employee.  He is aiming to become a professional baseball player with the pitcher of NOMO Baseball Club.  A laid-back spirit that fully supports the dreams of employees may also be necessary for a company to survive for a long time.

 Founded in 718: Zengoro / Ryokan management (Ishikawa Prefecture)

 Houshi Ryokan, run by Zengoro, was founded in 718.  The name of the building is because the first Zengoro was in the Buddhist gate. Until 2011, it was registered in the Guinness Book of Records as “the oldest hotel in the world”, but it fell from the oldest seat by the application of Keiunkan mentioned above.  Nonetheless, it is arguably the oldest company in the world, and it has the oldest history among the members of the Henokiens Association (Headquarters, France), which consists only of companies with a history of more than 200 years.

 Founded in 794: Gojodo Industry / Casting Manufacturing (Nara Prefecture)

 The inn business has continued for a while, but the manufacturing industry is also expanding the history of the company by fusing the skill of craftsmen with modern technology.  The origin of Gojodo Industry is the Nara period.  You can be involved in the casting industry for generations with a kind of thankful form called “Senior Fifth Rank Forbidden Founder”.

 Starting with pan kettles and farm equipment, which are essential items for daily life, they have expanded our reach to casting bells and other items by taking advantage of the land pattern of many temples and shrines, and now it seems that they are also producing machine tools and engine parts.

 Founded in 885: Tanaka Iga Buddhist tool store, Buddhist tool manufacturing (Kyoto Prefecture)

 Tanaka Iga Buddhist Equipment Store was founded in 885.  They manufacture Buddhist equipment of each sect such as Shingon sect and Tendai sect.

The company’s catalog “Solemn” is like a Buddhist pictorial book with 3D glasses attached.  In addition, on the website “CG Gallery”, you can browse the Buddhist equipment movie that pops out using the same glasses as the catalog.  Do modern monks take consumption behaviors such as “The movie that pops out makes it easy to understand the details of Buddhist altars! Okay, let’s buy it here!”  It makes me feel that a long-established store has a long-established corporate effort that suits the times.

 Founded in 970: Nakamura Shaji Temple / Architecture (Aichi Prefecture) Nakamura Shaji, which was founded in 970, is said to have started when the first head of the family was invited from Kyoto to participate in the construction of temples and shrines.  Currently, it is a subsidiary of Kongo Gumi introduced in this article.

 Founded in 1000: Ichimonjiya Wasuke, Japanese sweets manufacturing and sales (Kyoto Prefecture) 

It is a food manufacturing industry that is familiar to people and seems to have many long-established stores, but surprisingly only Ichimonjiya Wasuke has a history of more than 1000 years.  At the gate of Imamiya Shrine (Kyoto City), which was built in the Heian period, we offer “Aburi-mochi” using the same manufacturing method as 1000 years ago. Freshly made mochi is stabbed on a skewer and grilled, and finished with soybean flour and white miso. It has a fragrant and slightly sweet taste.  In spring and autumn, you can also eat it with fresh raw white miso.

 Apparently, companies that develop businesses rooted in the community tend to become long-established stores.  It is also impressive that each company devises according to the times. 

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