Thursday
Feb242011

Fukui, Japan is one of the three largest production regions for optical frames in the world, along with China and Italy.  97% of Japanese-made optical frames are manufactured in Fukui.  Masunaga Optical premiered the production of eyeglasses in Fukui in 1905.  The company founder Gozaemon Masunaga brought in skilled craftsmen from Osaka and Tokyo with the ambition of setting the optical industry solidly in place in Fukui.

He entered into the industry the hard way, and at first the eyeglasses manufactured in Fukui were regarded to be third-rate in the world.  In order to raise the quality standards of the products, Gozaemon established a guild like system where full-fledged craftsmen could create their own businesses.  Owing to this system, the number of eyeglass craftsmen increased gradually, and the optical industry spread all over Fukui.

There are as many as 200 manual processes involved in making an optical frame.  Generally, productivity is low when one company is in charge of all the processes. However, Masunaga Optical is the only company in Japan that has a factory in charge of all processes from raw materials to

Wednesday
Feb232011

production and finish in an integrated way. The integrated production system improves the detail and quality. For example, when Masunaga Optical develops a new model, the molds are always built in-house. If there is a problem in the wear comfort that can be felt only after completing one pair of glasses, it will be corrected in the previous process’ promptly.

The company’s mission statement since the establishment is “We manufacture excellent eyeglasses. We want to make a profit if we can, but we don’t hesitate to take a loss. It is always in our thoughts to manufacture excellent eyeglasses.” These words are still the basis of the conduct code of employees even more than 100 years after its establishment.

Tuesday
Feb222011

HISTORICAL TIMELINE

1905 Gozaemon Masunaga invites craftsmen from Osaka to live in Fukui and establish      an optical frame industry in that region
1911 Masunaga wins its first Gold Medal at the National Manufacturing Trade      Exhibition
1917 Improved technology for gold/copper and gold/silver frames
1932 Japan Manufacturer’s Association Award for services to trade and industry
1933 Emperor visits Fukui and is presented with 3 Masunaga frames
1936 Gozaemon Masunaga II takes over the company after death of the founder
1955 Main factory moves to present location in Fukui

Tuesday
Feb222011

1957 Company incorporates with Gozaemon Masunaga as President
     Visit by Prince Takamatsu
1963 Visit by Prince Mikasa and former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida
1968 Visit by Crown Prince (the present Emperor) and Princess
1970 Masunaga frames placed in Osaka Expo Time Capsule
1979 Junichi Masunaga becomes President
1984 KOKI Europa (Switzerland) established
1989 Satoru Masunaga becomes President
1991 Sales begin of KOKI Sportsflex frames (made of shape memory metal)
1992 KOKI MASUNAGA Malaysia Sdn.Bhd. established
1995 KOKI MASUNAGA Hong Kong established

Sunday
Feb202011

1997 Masunaga poster wins Boston Good Design Award
1998 Masunaga poster wins Chicago Good Design Award and becomes part of the      permanent collection
1999 Visit by Prince Akishino and Princess
     Masunaga Group, Inc. (USA) established
2000 Awarded the best prize of Sunglass as the first Japanese company at Silmo Award
     Wins IF Design Award
     Masunaga poster wins Red dot Award: awarded for communication design in the      year 2001
     Masunaga poster wins Industrial Art Director Award in 2000, 42nd catalogue &      poster Fair

Sunday
Feb202011

2001 Win Good Design Prize from Secretary of Small and Medium Enterprises
     Masunaga poster wins Good Design Award
     Masunaga poster wins Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 43rd catalogue &      poster Fair
2002 Masunaga 1905 retail store opens in Aoyama, Tokyo
2005 Masunaga 1905 retail store opens at LACHIC in Nagoya
     Release the centennial model on the 100th anniversary
     Received Design Excellent Company Award
2009 Selected to 300 energetic manufacturers (Ministry of Economy, Trade and      Industry)
2012 The Masunaga tradition continues...