GUNZE History

1896 - 1940s

1896 
  • Gunze Silk Manufacturing Co., Ltd. established by Tsurukichi Hatano as a raw silk manufacturer in Ikaruga-gun (presently Ayabe City) in Kyoto, for the purpose of promoting the development of local industry (President: Kaemon Hamuro).
1900
  • Company awarded Gold Medal at EXPO in Paris.
1901
  • Director Tsurukichi Hatano (founder) appointed president.
1902
  • Export of silk to the U.S. launched.
1904
  • Company honored with Award of Excellence Medal at EXPO in St. Louis.
1909
  • New quality evaluation practice implemented for cocoon purchasing.
  • Employee education program established with Shinsui Kawai as teacher.
1915
  • Company creed for executives and employees established.
1917
  • Gunze School for female employees established with five classes including skill training and sewing, and instruction on good manners.
  • Empress Teimei visits Gunze Head Office.
1926
  • Company mark (Company mark registered.) registered.
    (Inner circle represents the company and outer circle represents the silk farmers, symbolizing coexistence and co-prosperity.)
1927
  • Gunze Hospital opened (in operation until 1990).
1933
  • Gunze Silk Corporation established in New York.
  • Company stock listed on Kyoto Stock Exchange followed by listing on Osaka Securities Exchange.
1934
  • Full-fashion stocking production launched at Tsukaguchi Silk Product Factory (presently Gunze Town Center TSUKASHiN).
1943
  • Company renamed Gunze Industries Co., Ltd.
1946
  • Company name changed back to Gunze Silk Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
  • Knitted innerwear production launched at Miyazu Factory, later transferred to Yanase Factory in 1959 and Kuse Factory in 1961 to strengthen business.

1950s - 1990s

1950
  • Company stock listed on Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya stock exchanges.
1952
  • Nylon full-fashion stocking production launched at Ayabe Factory and Tsukaguchi Factory.
1953
  • Gunze innerwear distributor association established in Hiroshima and Kyushu (later expanded throughout Japan).
  • Slogan "Golden quality for silver prices" launched for innerwear.
1954
  • Thread production launched at Tsuyama Factory.
1955
  • In-house organ "Gunze" published.
1957
  • Kameoka Factory established to start embroidered lace production.
1958
  • Konan Factory established to start synthetic yarn spinning (later becoming the Engineering Plastics Center in 1990, presently the Engineering Plastics Division).
1960
  • Business division system established to strengthen operation control and management structure.
1962
  • Plastic film business launched (Moriyama Factory established in 1968).
1963
  • Gunze trademark (Gunze trademark registered) registered.
1965
  • Lingerie and foundation garments production launched at Kurayoshi Factory.
  • Gunze Kobunshi Corporation established.
1966
  • Plastic Film Division established.
1967
  • Company renamed GUNZE LIMITED.
1968
  • Pantyhose production launched.
1969
  • Machinery Division established.
  • Women’s outerwear business launched.
1970
  • Kyushu Gunze Co., Ltd. established for pantyhose production.
  • Tohoku Gunze Co., Ltd. established for innerwear production.
1971
  • Joint-venture company, Kannichi Seni Co., Ltd. established in South Korea for innerwear production and marketing (presently Chonbang Gunze Co., Ltd.).
  • Sales offices closed and replaced by local sales companies to strengthen clothing sales.
1973
  • Greenery business launched (presently Gunze Green Co., Ltd.).
  • Gunze Distribution Co., Ltd. established.
1974
  • Gunze Packaging Systems Co., Ltd. established for imprinting, processing and marketing of plastic films.
  • First Gunze World Tennis Tournament (held 20 times until 1993).
1976
  • Corporate motto established.
1977
  • Pajamas Center established (presently House Casual Wear Center).
1981
  • Joint innerwear production with Jinan Knitting Factory in China launched.
1982
  • Gunze Tsukaguchi Development Co., Ltd. established (later merged with Gunze Real Estate Co., Ltd. in 1990 to form Gunze Development Co., Ltd.).
1983
  • Engineering plastics business launched.
1984
  • Health Food Center established.
  • First Gunze Music Special (held 12 times until 1996).
  • Gunze Sports Co., Ltd. established to start sports club management.
1985
  • Medical Development Department established (presently Medical Division).
  • Electronic component business launched.
  • Apparel Divisions Group established (by merging Inner Wear Division and Foundation Division).
  • “Tsukashin” shopping complex opened on premises of old Tsukaguchi Factory.
1987
  • Gunze Silk Co., Ltd. ceases operations to withdraw from silk yarn manufacturing business.
1989
  • Hyogo Gunze Co., Ltd. established for production of socks.
  • SOZ Divisions Group established through merger with Shin-Osaka Zoki Co., Ltd. to enter printing and food-related machinery business.
1990
  • Fukushima Plastics Co., Ltd. established for plastics film production.
  • Thai Gunze Co., Ltd. established for innerwear production and marketing.
1991
  • Gunze Plastics & Engineering Corporation of Europe N.V. established for plastic film production and marketing.
  • Dalian Gunze Fashion Garments Co., Ltd. established for production and marketing of foundation garments .
  • P.T. Gunze Indonesia established for production and marketing of thread.
1992
  • Gunze Sales Inc. formed by integrating local sales companies throughout Japan.
  • Gunze Plastics & Engineering Corporation of America established for plastic film production and marketing.
  • Corporate brand management rules established (GUNZE, etc.).
1993
  • LIRICA shopping center opened on premises of old Maebashi Factory.
1994
  • Jinan Gunze Apparel Co., Ltd. established for innerwear and stocking production and marketing.
1995
  • P.T. Gunze Socks Indonesia established for production and marketing of socks.
  • Gunze (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. established for innerwear production and marketing.
1996
  • Gunze Museum opened as part of company’s centennial celebration.
  • Centennial celebration event held.
1997
  • Gunze Environmental Charter established.
  • Shanghai Gunze Tsuko Seni Co., Ltd. established for production and marketing of sewing thread and accessories (presently Shanghai Gunze Fiber Co., Ltd.).
  • Shanghai Gunze New Packaging Co., Ltd. established for processing and marketing of OPP laminates and shrink film products.
1998
  • Gunze Activity Guidelines established.
  • Electronic Components Division established.
  • Engineering Plastics Division established.
  • GGI Technology Ltd. established for touch screen production and marketing.
  • Elma Co., Ltd. established for electronic component manufacturing.
1999
  • Gunze Electronics USA Corporation established for touch screen production and marketing.

From the 2000s onward

2000
  • Ayabe Engineering Plastics Co., Ltd. established for engineering plastics production.
2001
  • Chusen (Shanghai) International Trading Co., Ltd. established for import/export of threads and accessories (presently Gunze (Shanghai) International Trading Co., Ltd.).
  • Sports business expanded by acquiring business from COMS Sports Club.
2002
  • Chief officer system launched.
  • Shanghai Gunze New Plastics Film Co., Ltd. established for plastic film production and marketing.
  • Dongguan Guan Zhi Electronics Ltd. established for functional electronic material production and marketing.
2003
  • Gunze receives the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award for customer focus.
  • Tsukashin Town Create Co., Ltd. established for shopping center management and operations.
  • Beijing Beiren Gunze Machinery Co., Ltd. established for production and marketing of stacker-bundlers and peripheral printing equipment.
2004
  • CSR Management Section established.
  • Commercial facility development business launched; natural spa “Yunokaro” in Tsukashin Shopping Center opened.
2005
  • Plastic Film Division upgraded to Plastic Film Company.
  • Corporate Officers system launched.
  • Machinery Division integrated into SOZ Divisions Group.
  • Shandong Gunze Apparel Processing Co., Ltd. established for distribution and processing of apparel products.
  • G&U System Service, Ltd. established for information systems service.
  • Gunze Engineering Plastics (Hong Kong) Limited established for engineering plastics marketing.
  • Shandong Gunze Apparel Ltd. established for innerwear and hosiery production.
2006
  • Gunze China Ltd. established for apparel product marketing.
  • “Gunze Town Center TSUKASHiN” celebrates grand opening.
  • Corporate governance system strengthened (by changing term for directors to one year, inviting two outside directors to the board, and introducing anti-takeover measures).
  • Gunze Love Earth Club for social contribution established as part of company’s 110th anniversary celebration.
  • Internal control system strengthened (by establishing Rules for Whistleblower Protection, Information Security Policy and Standard Countermeasures, Basic Policy for Internal Control System Improvement, etc.)
2007
  • Internal control system strengthened (by establishing CSR Rules, Risk Management Rules, etc.)
  • Stock option plan for directors introduced.
  • Changshu Gunze Accessories Co., Ltd. established for production and marketing of woven and knitted elastics.
  • Special benefit plan for shareholders established.
  • Elumi Kounosu opened on premises of old Kounosu Factory.
  • Gunze Engineering Co., Ltd. established for engineering and energy-saving services.
  • Gunze Commemoration Hall and Gunze Museum designated as “Modern Industrial Heritages” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
2008
  • Corporate logo for the Chinese market (GUNZE) established.
  • Innerwear and legwear businesses integrated to form Apparel Company.
  • Jun Hong Optronics Corp. established for ITO film production.
  • Gunze Commemoration Hall and Gunze Museum named Kyoto Prefecture’s “Scenic Assets.”
2009
  • Gunze ranks top in Development Bank of Japan’s corporate environmental ratings.
  • Jun Hong Optoelectronics Corp. starts operation.
2010
  • JF Pack Qingdao Co., Ltd. acquired.
  • SOZ Divisions Group renamed Mechatronics Division.
  • “BODY WILD Under wave” store opened in Harajuku, Tokyo.
  • Development Department established.
  • Medical Division established
  • Fukushima Plastics Co., Ltd.’s new factory completed (Plastic Film Company).
  • Joint-venture agreement signed with Coretronic Corporation (Electronic Components Division).
  • Agreement reached to establish Beijing Aimer Gunze Apparel Ltd. (Apparel Company).
2011
  • Maebashi LIRICA celebrates grand opening (Gunze Development Co., Ltd.)
  • Gunze Medical Devices (Shenzhen) Limited stablished for marketing of medical materials.
  • Beijing Aimer Gunze Apparel Ltd. established for import and marketing of innerwear.
2012
  • Gunze United Limited established for production and marketing of industrial sewing thread.
  • Gunze (Shanghai) Energy-Saving Equipment Trading Co., Ltd. established for energy saving-related consulting services.
2013
  • “Women’s Kira Kira Promotion” project launched.
  • Brand statement “a touch of comfort” established.
    GUNZE a touch of comfort
2014
  • Osaka Head Office relocated.
  • QOL (Quality of Life) Research Center established.
  • Ayabe Gunze Square opened.
  • Gunze Korea Limited established.
2015
  • Gunze International Europe GmbH established for medical materials business and operational support for business divisions.
  • Company designated as a leading company for women’s empowerment in Osaka City.
  • Gunze Sports (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. established for sports club operations.
2016
  • Gunze Hanoi Co.,Ltd. established.
  • Jean's Casual Dan Co., Ltd. and Date Department Store Co., Ltd. become subsidiaries of Gunze Limited.
  • Gunze Museum opened after renovations as part of Gunze’s 120th anniversary celebration.