Saiwai Building 3-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, 1-chome
Telephone: (03) 508-2111
Incorporated: July 1941
Sales: ¥375.1 billion (US$2.286 billion)
Market Value: ¥360.8 billion (US$2.266 billion)
Stock Index: Tokyo Osaka
Toyo Seikan Kaisha is the largest container company in Japan and occupies a dominant position in the market. The company was founded in 1933 by a Japanese entrepreneur named Tatsunosuke Takasaki. Toyo Seikan was the successor of another packaging company which originally purchased its canning technology from the American Can Company in 1912. Other canning technologies were subsequently acquired from Continental Can. Takasaki placed a high value on the public good, pledging in his company's founding precepts to place those obligations above all other aspects of business, including profit. Takasaki was also a strong supporter of education in his field. In April 1938 he founded the Oriental Canning Institute, where new canning technologies could be developed in an academic atmosphere.
Toyo Seikan entered the canning business during a difficult period in Japanese history. Ultra-nationalist elements of the Japanese army were rapidly coming to power, advocating Japanese military and economic domnation of East Asia. Toyo Seikan became a joint stock company in July 1941. During this period, the government encouraged industrial concerns to reinvest and expand (often by merger) so that resources could be more efficiently used. Toyo Seikan, however, remained independent throughout the war. Japanese military adventurism in Asia may have created stronger demand for canned products, such as troop rations. While Toyo Seikan does not discuss its activities during the war, its production was probably monitored or coordinated by a state planning authority.
When the war ended in September 1945, much of Japan's industrial capacity had been complete destroyed. A new industrial policy introduced by the Allied occupation authority caused thousands of companies to undergo substantial reorganization. Toyo Seikan was no exception; its changes were completed in May 1949, and shares of stock were listed for public trading.
Toyo Seikan resumed its successful canning operations, and in 1953 introduced aerosol loading for pressurized spray products. During the 1950's Toyo Seikan became associated with a number of other smaller packaging companies, and formed the core of an informal business organization which became known as the Toyo Seikan Group. These companies started to produce flexible packaging in 1960 and introduced plastic container production in 1961.
In April 1961 Toyo Seikan established the Toyo Junior College of Food Technology as a successor to the Oriental Canning Institute. The institute was upgraded to a junior college in order to expand the school facilities and attract more skilled instructors. The Toyo Seikan Group established strong relationships with other food research institutes, including the Toyo Food Research Institute and the Composite Research and Development Center.
An increasing number of packaging companies became associated with the Toyo Seikan Group during the 1960's and 1970's. At that time most of Toyo Seikan's foreign sales were derived indirectly through exports. Later, the company established joint enterprises in Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Nigeria, and Indonesia to produce metal containers, glass products and bottle crowns. Toyo Seikan also began to license container technologies developed by its research institutes to foreign counterparts. Toyo Seikan currently licenses several of its packaging methods to 25 companies in 13 foreign countries. The company is associated through technical agreements with the Continental Group, Owens-Illinois, and Metal Closures.
The Toyo Seikan Group derives most of its operating income from the sale of metal, glass, and plastic containers to Japanese and foreign customers (approximately 50% of Toyo Seikan Kaisha's sales come from the production of cans for beverages). The Group is also deeply involved in the manufacture and sale of packaging machinery, such as integrated bottling devices.
The most identifiable Toyo Seikan product is the curved PET can it produces exclusively for Sapporo Beer. The popularity of the PET can be attributed to the novelty of its odd shape and the slightly larger than standard volume of beer it contains. The Toyo Seikan Group consists of 25 subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including the Toyo Kohan Company (involved in the production of steel products), Toyo Glass (glass bottles and machinery), and Tokan Kogyo (paper and plastic containers). Members of the Takasaki family have remained intimately involved in the affairs of Toyo Seikan. The current president of Toyo Seikan Kaisha is Yoshiro Takasaki, son of the founder.
Principal Subsidiaries: Toyo Kohan Co., Ltd.; Toyo Glass Co., Ltd.; Tokan Kogyo Co., Ltd.; Japan Crown Cork Co., Ltd.; Toyo Food Equipment Co., Ltd.; Toyo Aerosol Industry Co., Ltd.; Ferro Enamels (Japan), Ltd.; Honshu Seikan Kaisha, Ltd.; Shikoku Seikan Kaisha, Ltd.; Ryukyu Seikan Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Yoki Kaisha, Ltd.; Daito Seikan Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Denkai Kaisha, Ltd.; Osaka Denkai Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Seihan Co., Ltd.; Fukuoka Packaging Co., Ltd.: Tokan Unyu Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Unso Kaisha, Ltd.; Tokan Unso Co., Ltd.; Saiwai Shoji & Co., Ltd.; Tokan Kyoei Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Seikyu Kaisha, Ltd.; Toyo Kikai Hambai Kaisha, Ltd.; Tokan Soko Kaisha, Ltd.; Fiji Can Co., Ltd. (Fiji); P.T. United Can Co., Ltd. (Indonesia); Doosan Glass Co., Ltd. (South Korea); Sam Hwa Can Making Co., Ltd. (South Korea); Metal Box Toyo Glass Nigeria Limited (Nigeria); Toyo Glass Machinery Singapore (PTE), Ltd. (Singapore); Crown Seal Co., Ltd. (Thailand).
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 1. St. James Press, 1988.