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History of our company

Information on the founder Akira Mabuchi

History of the Corporate Creed “Gratitude to the past, Confidence in the present, and Hope for the future”

The founder, Akira Mabuchi, was born in 1925 as the third son of seven brothers and sisters of Family Urushido, in Tatsuno town.
Having spent 83 years with the company, he always valued his family and people around him. His parents passed away when he was 11 years old, and inevitably his adolescence was filled with lots of difficulties both physically and mentally. Probably, owing to such a background, he talked very often to other people “ Grateful hearts are important”, “We are just beings kept alive”, and “What the meaning of Love or Prayer is”, and so on.
He is a seeker who lives a dignified life and holds to his management philosophy without any disarray. The philosophy of the founder, who respected the dignity of the company and its morals and created today's Mabuchi, has been handed down through generations. The mind of “People are the company’s core” and the spirit of having respect for principles of the company will continue to shine forever as long as Mabuchi exists.

Dedicated Engineer

Going out every day for his sales work and potential business search as well, Akira Mabuchi, who was a born engineer, clarified on his own how lapping emery and diamond pellets interact with lenses dynamically, how their way of use is, and what the key points are in the method of tool manufacturing. Then, he enthusiastically explained those technical problems to the customers and business partners. His understanding was so impressive that even the salesmen of the manufacturer could not compete with him at all.

Corporate Manager & Chorus Master

Akira was a member of a chorus group when he was in Nagoya before the War. Then, after returning to his hometown, Tatsuno, in 1947, he started the town’s chorus group, together with other members of the youth club of the town at an opportunity of an autumn festival. For 40 years after returning to the hometown, he continued both activities as a corporate manager and a chorus master.
His pet theory was “From the viewpoint of the pursuit of something better and something beautiful, corporate management and playing music are similar to each other. In both the cases, what we should have there are a harmony of people and a harmony of voice.” When an organization of chorus groups of Nagano prefecture was established in 1959, he also made great efforts to unify chorus groups of the prefecture.

founder Akira Mabuchi

founder Akira Mabuchi

History of Mabuchi Trade House to Mabuchi S&T

Start of Mabuchi Trade House

In the midst of the Pacific War, Family Mabuchi lived in Nagoya, and lost their house there in an air raid. The family evacuated to Nagano prefecture, looking to their relatives for support. At the end of the war, they ware faced with the hardships of being blocked deposits, but they began to live with vigor, thinking that it was a lucky just to have a life.

Kanzo, Akira’s father in law, restarted selling home-use pigment which he had been involved in while working as an office worker. Meanwhile his daughter, Sumiko, made a living as a seamstress, but it was not enough to support the family. They was also driven by the desire to do something suitable for the new post-war era, and they was agonizing over it.

Akira, who married Sumiko and became the adopted son of the Mabuchi family, was a scholar-type person who was indifferent to money, and who really believed that people did not need anything as long as they had love (Sumiko's story). Sumiko, who fretted that something had to be done, and Akira, who could not change his theory at his own pace, they spent their days arguing.

In the meantime around 1950, a cousin of Yoshiko, Kazo’s wife, sent some goods from Tokyo to see whether it can be used for something in Nagano.That was something like sands. At first, neither Akira nor Sumiko had any idea what it was. However, when they found out that it seemed to be an abrasive material for polishing lenses, they eventually opened a door to the optical industry and started their small trade house named “Mabuchi Shohten.

Early Days in “3-Chome” Mabuchi Shohten in Family Mabuchi

Above the entrance to the family house in Honmachi 3-chome, a signboard called "Mabuchi Shoten, Ltd.," which was made of a white background with vivid ink marks, was proudly displayed.  However, the inside story is as if the company rented the house of seven family members, Akira, Sumiko, Kanzo, Yoshiko, Hirotaro (the first son, a junior high-school student), Takako and Tsutomu (the daughter and the second son, both grade-school pupils). The tatami-matted office had only a minimum amount of furniture (a desk and a set of reception sets). They had one compact car and a handcart. Even when they had visitors, they heared the voices of children returning from school and the footsteps of children in the neighborhood. In fact, there was not like an office, but the office was filled with the youthful energy of two people working with great expectations for the future.

A Young Newcomer

About 10 years after Akira and Sumiko started their business, a young man became an employee of Mabuchi. K. Watanabe (Later, a senior managing director) who worked for a trading company in Okaya and was in charge of sales for Mabuchi wanted to try his ability from scratch in this small company. The addition of non-family members brought a fresh air to Mabuchi Store, which had been a family business until then. Kanzo, as an accountant, demonstrated the ability he had cultivated over many years. The business territory also expanded from Tatsuno Town to Ina and Okaya.

Expanding Sales: From Domestic Business to Overseas Market

Around 1974, OLYMPUS opened their new factory in Aizu-wakamatsu. Then, taking an opportunity of frequently visiting Aizu on business trips to OLYMPUS factory there, Mabuchi started selling in Tochigi as a foothold in the Niigata and Kanto area. From there, Mabuchi’s business expanded in all prefectures of the Tohoku region, and eventually into nationwide.

As the company's business became more active in various areas, the number of business items increased, and overseas business finally begin. For Hirotaro (Chairman at present) who joined the company with a firm resolve to trade in the global market sometime, that was also a sure step toward his dream.

Overseas marketing started around 1973 to 1974. At a chance of visiting YASHICA (Currently, KYOCERA ) located in Okaya, Mabuchi left some brochures of the metal polishing material “Skid” for the good of YASHICA, Hong Kong. Then, Mabuchi received a call from the overseas customer, saying that they wanted to see the product.

Completion of Circular Sphere-centering Lens Polishing Machine: The dawn of a new era

Watanabe decided to go back to the starting point and show some advantages by actually polishing the lenses, so he rented a factory near the mountain and started to improve it. He brought a prototype machine to a factory that only had a lathe, water, and electricity, and got some lenses that were difficult to polish from a nearby lens factory, and started polishing them by imitating.

Although the single-piece polishing is understood to some extent at present, it seemed to be a herculean task to get satisfactory results with polishing convex lenses because multiple-piece polishing prevailed at the time. However, after struggling every day while dreaming the happy smiles for our users, his great efforts eventually were rewarded with completion of an extraordinary Sphere-centering pressurized Polishing Machine.

Circular Sphere-centering Lens Polishing Machine

Circular Sphere-centering Lens Polishing Machine

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