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 (ico_history01) 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.

1949
Company stock listed on Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya stock exchanges.

1950s - 1990s

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 magazine "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 (ico_history02) 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 (ico_history03, 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 (ico_history04) 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.
ico_history06

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.

2017
Participates in Social Emergency Management Alliance (SEMA).
Comprehensive collaboration agreement formed between Gunze and Osaka Prefecture.
New medical materials factory established in Ayabe.

2018
Gunze Plastics & Engineering of Vietnam established for plastic film production and marketing.
Comprehensive collaboration agreement formed between Gunze and Kyoto Prefecture.

2019
Medical U&A became a wholly-owned subsidiary.
"Agreement on the Supply of Ginkgo Trees on Midosuji Avenue" formed between Gunze and Osaka City.

2020
Comprehensive collaboration agreement formed between Gunze and Osaka City.
GUNZE signed UN Global Compact.

2021
Gunze endorsed the Recommendations of Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Gunze, APB and Sanyo Chemical reached an agreement regarding collaboration on mass production of current collector of next-generation lithium ion batteries called “All Polymer Battery".

2022
Tokyo Branch Office relocated.
125th anniversary corporate history published.
Gunze Medical Limited established.