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Sumitomo in History  

After War, Rebirth
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part X, the final installment in this series, we discuss how during the post-war era, both Sumitomo and Japan developed toward where they are today.
The Sumitomo trademark
The Sumitomo trademark inscribed on a pass required for entering and leaving the residences of powerful generals. This item is from 1836. This trademark was used as a symbol of Sumitomo for centuries. After World War II, the occupation administration considered it representative of the zaibatsu establishment and as such, forbade its use for several years.
After War, Rebirth


A reproduction of an award certificate from the Paris Exposition 1900
Into the Industrial Century
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part IX, we look at Osaka’s role in the industrialization of Japan and Sumitomo’s business development moving into the 20th century.
A reproduction of an award certificate from the Paris Exposition 1900


Far-reching plans
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part VIII, we look at Sumitomo?s early environmental work and its entry into new businesses at the close of the 19th century.
Besshi mine railway
The Besshi mine railway, opened in 1893, was among Japan's foremost mine railways. Sumitomo purchased the first locomotive for it from Germany.
Far-reching plans


Modernization
Modernization
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part VII, we look at the role of foreign engineers in the modernization of Japan and Sumitomo.


A Time of Adversity
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part VI, we look at the trials Japan endured during the transition out of its centuries-old pre-modern system into the modern age during the 19th century, and how Sumitomo overcame the challenges that it faced during that period.
A map of the Besshi copper mine
This illustration shows Saihei Hirose extolling the greatness of the Besshi mine in both English and classical Chinese.
A Time of Adversity


Rice and the Economy
Rice and the Economy
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part V, we examine the development of the relationship between rice production, the economy and society in pre-modern Japan, as well as how rice policies impacted the copper mining business.
A shaft at the Besshi copper mine
Metieulous records of mine employee numbers by occupation that were kept starting in 1713 give a detailed picture of mine operations.


Milestones
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
In Part IV, we discuss a significant milestone in the business development of the Sumitomo Group—the discovery of a major vein of copper ore.
The first sample of ore
The first sample of ore taken from the Besshi copper mine is still preserved today. About 19 tons of blister copper were extracted during the fourth year of Genroku (1691), the year after the vein’s discovery.
Milestones


Japan's Kitchen
Japan's Kitchen
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history. In Part III, we discuss the Sumitomo Group's business development through the history of the city it grew up inā€¹Osaka.
Traditional Manual Calculator
The merchants of the Edo period (1603–1867) evoke images of the abacus and the scale. This photo shows an abacus that Tomomochi, the second head of the Sumitomo family, used routinely. It is one of the oldest extant examples of the old-style Japanese abacus, which has one bead in its upper band and five it its lower.


Japanese Copper Across the Sea
Europeans, and in particular the Portuguese and Spanish who experienced the reformation and the renaissance in the 16th century, first sailed to Japan as part of an effort to spread Catholicism by extending their trading activities around the globe. The Portuguese arrived in 1543, bringing guns to trade, while the Catholic missionary Francisco Xavier landed in 1549.
Copper exported from Japan


Store signboard
A Business Sprit Still Alive and Well after 400 years
In any age, the ups and downs of business and of companies,provide a window on how people live and even on society itself. In this series, we present moments from the past that we hope will demonstrate the business spirit of Sumitomo through the dynamic unfolding of history.
This first installment presents the three key figures in the foundation of Sumitomo and how their spirit and principles guided them.


Preparation of this article was overseen and photos provided by the Sumitomo Historical Archives.

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