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Toppan's 110-year Journey At the start of the 20th Century, during the Meiji Period, Japan embarked on the path of modernization. As Japan industrialized, many new companies meeting the needs of the population emerged one after the other with new technologies. Toppan's founders saw opportunities in fields such as the printing of securities and packaging based on the Erhört letterpress method, state-of-the-art technology at that time.

1900 Toppan Printing Limited Partnership founded
1908 Reorganized as Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.
The era of our founding

Edoardo Chiossone Erhört letterpress copper plate

In the 1880s, Edoardo Chiossone, a foreign technical advisor at the Ministry of Finance’s Printing Bureau (now the National Printing Bureau), trained many new engineers and contributed greatly to advances in Japan's banknote printing technology, including fine-line engraver operation, the Erhört letterpress method, and watermark printing plate production.
Two engineers, Enkichi Kimura and Ginjiro Furuya, who learned the latest printing technologies under Chiossone and later founded Toppan Printing, thought of ways to further develop Japan's printing industry based on the most advanced printing technology at that time, the Erhört letterpress. However, entering that business proved a very difficult endeavor as demand was weak for securities and other high-end printed items for which orders were expected due to an economic recession.

Enkichi Kimura Ginjiro Furuya

Kishi Ito Tatsutaro Kawai (first president) Shinjiro Miwa

At that time, Japan's tobacco industry was experiencing fierce competition between two private manufacturers, Murai Keitei and Iwaya Shokai. Kimura and Furuya, sensing a business opportunity, went to Iwaya Shokai with a proposal for outer box printing using the Erhört letterpress method when they heard that Iwaya’s rival Murai Keitei was bringing in the latest American-made printing presses.
Feeling threatened by the expansion and bolstering of Murai Keitei’s facilities, Iwaya Shokai saw the appeal of products made with the elaborate Erhört letterpress method. This is how Kimura and Furuya finally acquired regular orders using the Erhört letterpress method, eight years after they had left the Printing Bureau.

Then, five founders, Kimura, Furuya, and three other investors, Kishi Ito, Tatsutaro Kawai (the first president) and Shinjiro Miwa, established Toppan Printing Limited Partnership at 1 Nicho-machi, Shitaya Ward, Tokyo (now 1 Taito, Taito Ward, Tokyo).

The year prior to Toppan Printing's founding, 1899, Enkichi Kimura drew up a charter for the establishment of a copper letterpress and lithographic printing house. Based on this, the five founders held discussions and drafted a charter for the establishment of Toppan Printing as a company. After negotiating several matters, they drafted an agreement for the establishment of the company.
These documents, which articulate the passion espoused by the founders in their intent to launch a venture company, are valuable documents that pass on the spirit of Toppan's founding to the present day.

Reorganization as Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.

In 1908, Toppan Printing Limited Partnership doubled its capitalization to 400,000 yen, reorganized and restarted as Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. What differed from the articles of incorporation of the original limited partnership company was the addition of "binding and sale of movable type casts" to prepress and printing by copper letterpress, copper steel engraving, lithograph, aluminum plate and applied photography plate. This reflects the fact that the company was targeting the field of letterpress printing in step with the increasing standard of living of the Japanese people, the advancement of culture, and the rapid advance of publishers.

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