artience group history

A digest of the history of artience group from its founding in 1896 to today.

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TOYO INK, the first corporation in the Japanese ink industry, is established.

The strong will of the founder, who was illiterate all his life, played a part in the social responsibility of spreading academic education through printing inks


Founder Kamataro Kobayashi
Founder Kamataro Kobayashi
The founder of our group, Kamataro Kobayashi, was born in March 1875 in Yokohama. Kamataro, who lost his parents at a young age and became an orphan, was taken in by his aunt's house, but at the age of only 8 he was sent to work as an apprentice at a clothing store in Yokosuka. Although the compulsory education system was already being implemented at this time, he was not even allowed to attend elementary school and remained illiterate throughout his life.

At the age of 11, Kamataro went to Tokyo against the opposition of those around him and ended up helping an acquaintance open a signboards shop in Ginza. At that time, the Ginza/Kyobashi area was the center of print publishing and mass media, with many newspaper companies and printers concentrated there. Also, thanks to advanced printing technology introduced from Europe and America and rapid economic development, bright color printing was becoming popular in the fields of advertising and publishing.

After witnessing this situation, Kamataro began to believe that printing inks had a promising future. Thus, in January 1896, at the age of 20, Kamataro rented a room in Nihonbashi and opened a ``rental shop'' with 50 yen (about 200,000 yen today) borrowed from a relative.

Near Kamataro's birthplace (Hanasakicho, Yokohama City, late 18th century)

Kobayashi Shoten era

At the time, high-quality printing inks was only available as expensive imported products, so printers purchased ingredients such as pigments, varnish, and solvent separately and made their own kneading (mixing the ingredients to make ink). was the mainstream. Large printing companies employed excellent printers with kneading skills, but small and medium-sized printers relied on hire kneading (outsourcing of kneading).

Kamataro was one of these peddlers, pulling a cart equipped with a meat grinding machine and mixing meat at customers' locations. Even when there were no orders for kneading, he worked hard at peddling, filling the kneaded ink into cans and carrying it on his back in a furoshiki as he went around to customers. Just three years after its founding, Kamataro expanded to the point where it opened a store in Nihonbashi.

Rental shop (illustration)

Ink color sample from the Kobayashi Shoten era (around 1905)

He was no longer just a peddler, but a ``store owner'' with signboards that read ``Kobayashi Shoten, selling printing inks materials.'' Entrepreneur Kamataro Kobayashi's business partners and wealthy people valued his skills and prospects and supported him financially, and Kobayashi Shoten expanded its business as a printing inks manufacturer, including by establishing an ink factory near the store. I went on.

Established Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

In 1905, amid the explosive economic boom following the Russo-Japanese War, the printing and publishing industry also experienced rapid growth. Kamataro saw this as an opportunity to expand his business, and began to want to increase production of high-quality domestic ink that surpassed imported products to meet domestic and international demand. His plan required three things: excellent ink engineers, a large-scale ink production facility, and sufficient capital to support expansion.

Therefore, we hired an engineer from the Printing Bureau of the Ministry of Finance, who was responsible for coinage and securities printing, the pinnacle of Japanese printing technology at the time, as the factory manager. At the same time, we secured over 2,000 m2 of land in Shinjuku and built the Tomikucho Factory, which had top-class equipment for a private ink factory at the time. This new factory also has the ability to manufacture varnish and pigments, which are the ingredients for ink, and is where the roots of our current ``integrated production from ink raw materials'' lie.

Tomikucho factory exterior (around 1910)

Tomikucho Factory Minced Meat Department (around 1910)

On the other hand, Kamataro chose to make Kobayashi Shoten a stock company as a means of enriching his company's capital. The founding prospectus, which was announced with the support of wealthy people and business partners who have supported Kobayashi Shoten since its founding, states, ``We are committed to the printing and publishing business that spreads academic education, which is the source of national strength. The founder's intention is to play a part in this social responsibility by supplying high-quality printing inks.

Founding prospectus (1906)

TOYO INK Headquarters (around 1910)

From ink manufacturer to chemical manufacturer

Started diversification by producing pigments and polymers in-house.

Taking on the challenge of “integrated production from pigments to ink”

Since our company was established as a corporation, we have been actively working to increase the rate of in-house production of ink. Although the early Fukucho factory manufactured some inorganic pigments that were relatively easy to manufacture, other pigments and the organic dyes used to color pigments had to be imported.

Tomikucho Factory pigments Department (around 1910)

Aoto Factory pigments Department (1940s)

When World War I broke out in 1914, exports from Germany, which produced about 80% of the world's dyes pigments, ceased and prices soared dozens to hundreds of times, making them difficult to obtain. As a result, dye research flourished around the world, and the Japanese government took measures to promote the industry.

At our company, we focused our resources on making barium chloride, which was the most scarce of the raw materials, as our top priority, and in 1917 we succeeded in mass producing it. After that, we continued to expand our lineup of in-house production, including various organic dyes and inorganic pigments, and finally in 1920, we began mass-producing ``azo pigments,'' which have excellent color development and durability.

phthalocyanine blue pigments

phthalocyanine blue pigments

In 1937, our company succeeded in producing the blue organic pigments phthalocyanine blue in-house and began mass production at the Aoto Plant, which had just been completed. Phthalocyanine blue is a pigment with extremely strong and vivid coloring, and has been used not only in printing inks but also in a variety of coloring materials. Half a century later, phthalocyanine's various electrical properties attracted attention and became one of our stepping stones into electronics materials field.

From ink to polymer chemicals

Our history with polymer chemicals begins with the production of varnishes for inks. Before the war, domestic ink varnishes were made from natural oils and fats such as linseed oil, tung oil, and pine resin, which were polymerized by heating. However, in Europe and America, various synthetic resins had been invented since the industrialization of phenolic resin in 1909, and synthetic resin varnishes were already being used in inks.

In 1951, as Japan was rebuilding after being devastated and impoverished by World War II, we entered into a technical partnership agreement with Interchemical, the largest chemical company in the United States. At the same time, we opened a laboratory in Honjo, Tokyo, equipped with the most advanced equipment at the time, and promoted the practical application of America's latest technological know-how. The following year, we completed our first synthetic resin ink.

Exterior of the Technical Research Institute (1950s)

Outer box for cigarette “Peace” using our synthetic resin ink

That wasn't the only technology brought to us by Interchemical. pigments printing agents (pigments pastes for textile printing), coating agents for metals (paints that decorate the exterior and protect the interior of food cans, beverage cans, etc.), adhesives and pressure sensitive adhesives (pressure-adhesives), and their processed products. The introduction of technology, such as certain double-sided tapes, went beyond printing inks and extended to various polymer products that supported Japan's period of high economic growth. Based on the introduction of these technologies, the foundation of our polymer and coatings technology was built through various improvements tailored to the market and the development of unique products.

Our double-sided tapes“ Double-Face”

Our pressure-sensitive adhesives“ ORIBAIN”

Expansion of business area and global expansion

Refine technology and develop high-performance products in a variety of fields

Evolution to specialty chemicals

Since the 1970s, even after the technical alliance with Interchemical was dissolved, we have continued to actively evolve our core technologies, such as resin design at the molecular level, synthesis technology, and coating film formation technology, to meet the needs of the times. We have provided the market with a variety of polymer products.

Resin coating agents, which began as coating agents for metals, have been fused with a wide variety of functionalization technologies and are now used as hard coating agents to protect the surfaces of all kinds of things in people's living spaces. Additionally, laminating adhesives, which have developed along with changes in Japan's food culture, have evolved into encapsulating materials for solar cells and lithium-ion batteries.

Product group for the medical market

Product group for the medical market

adhesive tapes, which were once introduced for use at printing sites, are used as heat-resistant and conductive parts bonding materials for the automobile and electronics fields, outdoor marking films with excellent color development and weather resistance, and healthcare materials. This technology has evolved into products for the medical market, such as transdermal patches (transdermal patches) and surgical tape.

Meanwhile, in the field of pigments and coloring materials, we have advanced the synthesis and dispersion technology of special functional pigments and ultrafine particles. Photoreceptor materials for printers and recording materials for CD-Rs that use phthalocyanine were the forerunners of our entry into the electronics field and the dramatic evolution of technology for imparting optical, thermal, and electromagnetic properties.

We began researching materials for color filter for FPDs nearly 20 years before LCD TVs appeared in ordinary households, and completed color resist with excellent durability, transparency, and color density. Since then, it has grown into one of our main businesses and continues to evolve.

In recent years, we have introduced conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions for lithium-ion battery cathode materials, which are key materials for increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, and functional dispersions that exhibit a variety of properties into growing markets.

color filter for LCD display

functional dispersions for batteries “LIOACCUM”

Accelerating globalization

Before the war, our company had bases in Mainland China, South Korea, and Taiwan, and was expanding overseas, exporting products to Thailand and Southeast Asia. However, with the end of the war, we lost our overseas assets and had to make a fresh start amid post-war reconstruction. I tried it. In 1947, when private trade was restarted by the GHQ directive, our company actively promoted exports to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, laying the foundations for re-entering the country.

In 1963, we established a representative office in Hong Kong, which marked the first step in our re-expansion overseas. Two years later, in 1963, we established Interchem-Toyo (South East Asia), a joint venture with Interchemical Company in Hong Kong, and subsequently established representative offices and joint ventures in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States. went. In the 1970s, we expanded to Europe and North America, in the 1980s to Southeast Asian countries and China, and since the 2000s we have expanded to emerging markets such as India, the Middle East, Turkey, and Central and South America, and in recent years, the ratio of overseas sales has increased to half. It has reached the point where it reached

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Toyo Ink Group to "Artience"

Aiming to realize a spiritually enriching society with “value that resonates with the senses”

Transition to a holding system and change of company name

In 2011, as the company expanded, TOYO INK transitioned to a holding company structure with the aim of speedy decision-making, highly flexible business execution, and maximizing global business synergies.

Furthermore, in January 2024, we will demonstrate our strong determination to identify the needs and issues of the changing times ahead of time and transform into a company where each individual plays a leading role and delivers pioneering value through cutting-edge technology to people around the world. To achieve this goal, we have changed the trade name of our holding company to "artience Co., Ltd."

At artience group, we aim to refine value (art) that appeals to people's hearts, such as surprise, emotion, excitement, and comfort, as well as trust (science) based on functionality and high quality backed by reliable technology. We will create value that resonates with the senses. With value that resonates with the senses, we aim to contribute to solving the issues faced by our customers and society, and to create a society where people can live a fulfilling life.