Company History

T. Kobayashi & Co.1891-1917

1891

  • Founder Tomijiro Kobayashi established T. Kobayashi & Co. on the Yanagihara riverside in Kanda, Tokyo, to trade in soap and match raw materials.
    (Photo) Overlooking the Kanda River, the red brick store and warehouse stood between Saemonbashi bridge and the slightly closer Mikurabashi bridge, near what is now 8-ban, Higashi Kanda 2-chome.

1893

  • Launched beauty soap Kohyo Soap and laundry soaps Soft Soap and Kenren Soap

1895

  • Began research and product development focused on the tooth brushing powder market

1896

  • Launched Lion Toothpowder

1898

  • Began using a marching band with musicians and an announcer to advertise the Company's products.
    (Photo) The marching band consisted of the six musicians of the Hinode Band, also located on the Yanagihara riverside in Kanda, near T. Kobayashi & Co., and one announcer.

1899

  • Opened the Osaka Branch

1900

  • Began selling tooth brushing powder packets with donation slips as a social contribution activity (this program continued for 20 years, until 1920)

1901

  • Opened the Kobayashi Night School for employees.
    (Photo) Men's class at Kobayashi Night School, circa 1907.
    The school invited famous lecturers to give classes.

1904

  • Exhibited Lion Toothpowder at the St. Louis World's Fair in the United States, receiving an honorary silver medal

1907

  • Established Kobayashi Laboratory to test raw materials and conduct research into new products.
    (Photo) Kobayashi Laboratory, established to test raw materials for quality management and conduct research into new products, circa 1907.
    Established alongside Tokyo Laboratory, this laboratory also accepted commissions from the public.

1910

  • Opened the Nagoya Branch

1910

  • Founder Tomijiro Kobayashi passed away aged 59

1910

  • Established Lion Soap Factory as a partnership firm

1911

  • Launched Japan's first toothpaste in a tube, Lion Dental Cream

1912

  • Established policy of concentrating on the tooth brushing business (began consideration of ending handling of other companies' products and spinning off the soap business)

1912

  • Launched Lion Arai Soap no.1-4, a fatty acid laundry soap

1913

  • Launched Lion Kodomo Toothpaste for children

1913

  • Hosted the Company's first public oral hygiene lecture (later named the Lion Public Lectures).
    (Photo) Program of the lecture, which was held at the Tokyo YMCA in Kanda. At the time, there were no dentistry specialists publicly teaching oral hygiene, and the lecture benefitted greatly from the participation of Shusaku Midorikawa.

1914

  • Launched the Banzai Toothbrush, developed based on guidance from the Tokyo Dental School (now Tokyo Dental College)

1916

  • Moved the Company's base of operations to near Honjo Umayabashi, (Sotote-machi, Honjo-ku, today Honjo, Sumida-ku)

Kobayashi Co., Ltd.1918-1979

1918

  • Established Kobayashi Co., Ltd.

1918

  • Lion Toothpowder received certification of excellent quality and effectiveness from the London Institute of Hygiene in the United Kingdom.
    (Photo) Certificate of quality and effectiveness from the London Institute of Hygiene, then the world's premiere institution for evaluating the quality of hygienic products.

1921

  • Established the first dental clinic in Japan to specialize in pediatric dentistry, later renamed the Lion Dental Clinic for Children

1922

  • Created Oral Hygiene, an eight-reel movie about the science of oral hygiene

1922

  • Began mass production of Lion Dental Cream following the start of mass production of tubes in Japan

1923

  • Launched the Lion Banzai Toothbrush No.5 for children

1928

  • Co-sponsored the first Cavity Prevention Day

1930

  • Launched large-sized packages of Lion Toothpowder, for families

1932

  • Co-sponsored the fifth Cavity Prevention Day and held the first Mass Tooth Brushing Drill for children

1934

  • Completed the new Tokyo Plant.
    (Photo) The new factory had a site area of over 2,700 square meters and total floor area of over 6,900 square meters. The modern building had one five-story section, with the rest all two stories. Having previously renovated its Osaka-bun Factory, the completion of the Tokyo Factory meant that the Company had cutting-edge toothpaste factories in both East and West Japan.

1934

  • Launched Lion Tooth Moistened-Powder, which helped solve such drawbacks of toothpowder as splatter and clumping.

1935

  • Published The History of Toothpaste, the first history of the Company

1936

  • Established the Kyushu Office

1937

  • Launched Medicated Lion Kodomo Toothpaste for children

1939

  • Launched a promotional campaign centered on the concept of getting 10 million people to brush their teeth before bed

1940

  • Held the 9th Mass Tooth Brushing Drill for children (the last until 1953 because of the war)

1948

  • Launched Lion F Cream, Japan's first toothpaste with fluoride

1949

  • Changed the Company name to The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

1949

  • Launched Medicated Lion Toothpaste, a toothpaste packaged in tubes

1951

  • Launched the Lion Toothbrush with nylon bristles from U.S.-based DuPont

1952

  • Launched the Lion Health Car, a promotional bus outfitted for dental examinations

1952

  • Co-sponsored the first Mother-Child Good Teeth Competition

1953

  • Held the 10th Mass Tooth Brushing Exercise for Schoolchildren, renamed from the pre-war event

1953

  • Launched Chlorophyll Lion Toothpaste, formulated with chlorophyll

1957

  • Launched Super Lion toothpowder formulated with fluoride and Super Lion Tooth Moistened-Powder

1959

  • Launched dental hygiene activities for mothers and their children (later named the "Tanpopo Initiative")

1960

  • Established Lion Dentifrice (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

1961

  • Launched White Lion toothpaste incorporating the new active ingredient calcium phosphate, which is highly effective for whitening teeth

1961

  • Launched the Cherry Program industrial dental health activity. The Cherry Program grew by targeting companies and workplaces, and offered guidance and advice related to oral hygiene.

1961

  • Announced the creation of a manufacturing complex with Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

1962

  • Launched Tobacco Lion, a toothpowder for smokers

1962

  • Launched Vitalis hair-styling product for men and Ban antiperspirants and deodorants through a technological tie-up with Bristol-Myers Co. (currently, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) of the United States

1963

  • Launched BUFFERIN antipyretic analgesics

1964

  • Launched Dentor Lion toothpaste, which helped protect against alveolar pyorrhea

1964

  • Completed the Odawara Plant to mass produce toothpastes

(Photo) The Shinkansen bullet train passes the newly opened Odawara Plant. Designed mainly for the integrated mass production of a small number of products, the plant became the core of the production system to accommodate future diversification.

1964

  • Established a Marketing Department and introduced the product manager system

1964

  • Established the Lion Foundation For Dental Health

1965

  • Launched Rolling Lion, a toothbrush suited for the rolling method of brushing

1965

  • Established Bristol-Myers Lion Ltd.

1966

  • Established Lion Dentifrice (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

1967

  • Formed an alliance with McCormick & Company, Inc. of the United States to sell 82 varieties of seasonings

1968

  • Launched Etiquette Lion, a toothpaste for preventing bad breath

1968

  • Established the All Lion Society in cooperation with Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

1969

  • Launched Bannet Lion, a toothbrush with an arched handle that makes it easy to brush the back surfaces of teeth

1969

  • Completed the Akashi Plant to mass produce toothbrushes

1969

  • Absorbed Kyushu Lion Soap Company

1970

  • Launched White & White Lion toothpaste in laminated tubes

1971

  • Completed the new head office building. Cornerstone laying and completion ceremonies were held to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Company's founding on October 30, 1971.

1971

  • Built the Biological Experiment Center in Odawara as a joint venture with Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

1971

  • Established the Consumer Center (later renamed the Consumer Service Office)

1971

  • Celebrated 80 years since the founding of the Company as T. Kobayashi & Co.

1973

  • Published 80 Years of Lion Toothpastes, a Company history

1978

  • Established Lion Products Co., Ltd. with a view to merging with Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

1980

  • Merged with Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd. to form Lion Corporation

Lion Soap Co., Ltd.1919-1979

1919

  • The Soap Division of Kobayashi Co., Ltd. was spun off to become Lion Soap Co., Ltd.

1920

  • Launched Plant-derived Lion Laundry Soap, the first plant-derived soap made in Japan

1922

  • Entered sales alliance with the mediation office of the National Central Industrial Alliance (later the Zenkouren national buyer's association, which then become part of National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations)

1925

  • Began laundry training courses to improve living conditions in agricultural and fishing villages

1925

  • Successfully produced glycerin meeting Japanese Pharmacopoeia requirements using in-house proprietary technology

1927

  • Launched Kumiai Powder Soap through the Zenkouren national buyer's association

1928

  • Launched Mikuni Powder Soap

1933

  • Established the Laundry Information Service Center

1936

  • Completed the Hirai Factory (forerunner to the Tokyo Plant), which housed integrated soap manufacturing facilities as well as a solid-oil refinery, a glycerin plant and an alcohol plant.
    (Photo) The Hirai Factory, completed in 1936. The Company's headquarters relocated to Hirai in 1937.

1936

  • Dissolved the Laundry Information Service Center into the newly established Lion Laundry Science Laboratories on the grounds of the Tokyo Plant.
    In 1938, a two-story, 330 square meter laboratory building was completed. The laboratory held lectures on laundering and performed theoretical analyses of the laundering process.

1937

  • Launched Mikuni Maruseru Powder Soap

1937

  • Published Standard Household Laundry Methods, a booklet that was adopted as a home economics text at many girls' high schools.
    (Photo) This booklet, compiled by the Lion Laundry Science Laboratories, was used as an educational text at many girls' high schools.
    Until this point, there had been no authoritative information about laundering. The booklet filled this need with experimental scientific information on many related topics.

1938

  • Launched Lipon, a high-quality alcohol-based detergent for cleaning such natural fibers as silks and furs as well as tableware

1939

  • Launched the cutting oil Dash

1940

  • Formed a capital alliance with Nippon Chemical Industries, a Mitsubishi Group company, and changed the Company name to Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

1943

  • Ran successful production test of aviation lubricant derived from palm oil

1947

  • Received a Ministry of Commerce and Industry research grant for experimental mining technologies for research related to manufacturing synthetic detergent from oil found in low-temperature tar

1950

  • Launched Lion Powder Soap

1951

  • Invested in Toshiba Fats and Oils, Co., Ltd.

1951

  • Received a Ministry of International Trade and Industry industrialization test grant for research related to using palm oil in industrial applications and the development of plasticizer dioctyl phthalate for vinyl chloride

1951

  • Held the Fun Night for Lion Soap Users (this later became the Lion Jab Jab Show)

1951

  • Launched Lion Shampoo Powder

1953

  • Launched Lion Powder Laundry Soap for Washing Machines

1953

  • Built the Company's first spray drying tower

1956

  • Launched Lipon F, the world's first kitchen detergent for washing fruits, vegetables and tableware. Lipon F was the first product endorsed by the Japan Food Hygiene Association and created an entirely new market.

1956

  • Built a second spray drying tower for the manufacture of granular synthetic detergent.
    (Photo) Completed in April 1956, the tower as 7 meters in diameter, 20 meters high, and had a daily production capacity of two metric tons. For a short time, the tower provided more than sufficient production capacity, but with growth of Lipon F sales and the commencement of TOP production, the tower was soon operating at maximum capacity.

1957

  • Established the Lion Household Science Laboratories

1957

  • Completed the technology for Japan's first continuous sulfonation equipment

1960

  • Installed equipment for continuous fatty acid ester saponification (the ES method).
    Lion began operating new continuous fatty acid ester saponification equipment using the ES method for manufacturing soap. In this method, ester substitution using a methanol medium was used to produce methyl ester from fats and oils. This was then saponified using caustic soda to produce soap, and the methanol freed was then circulated for re-use.

1961

  • Announced the creation of a manufacturing complex with The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

1962

  • Launched Japan's first foam-suppressing laundry detergent, Hi TOP

1963

  • Launched Acron, a laundry detergent for wool and other delicate fabrics

1964

  • Completed the Kawasaki Plant

1965

  • Launched Blue Dia, a mixed laundry detergent containing white and blue grains

1965

  • Launched Emeron shampoo, which imparted a pleasant fragrance to washed hair

1966

  • Launched Emeron beauty soap, a soft-on-the-skin, easy-to-lather soap

1966

  • Launched Mama Lemon, a smooth-on-the-skin, lotion-type detergent for washing tableware and vegetables

1966

  • Completed alpha-olefin sulfonation technology

1967

  • Established The Lion Fat and Oil (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

1967

  • Launched the laundry detergent Dash, containing alpha olefin sulfonate (AOS), a new, highly biodegradable surfactant

1968

  • Established the All Lion Society in cooperation with The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

1968

  • Completed the Osaka Plant on October 1. In addition to increasing the Company's production capacity, the factory was built with a warehouse that shipped products throughout the Kansai region through shipping centers, greatly helping to modernize the Company's distribution operations.

1970

  • Launched Emeron Cream Rinse hair conditioner. Marketing involved a famous television commercial and the product became a hit.

1971

  • Completed the new head office building in April 1971

1971

  • Built the Biological Experiment Center in Odawara as a joint venture with The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd. (later reorganized as the Biological Science Research Laboratories)

1972

  • Established the Consumer Consultation Office (later renamed the Consumer Service Office)

1973

  • Launched Seseragi, Japan's first phosphate-free detergent

1975

  • Launched Spark 25, a compact detergent with low phosphate content

1977

  • Participated in an international soap and detergent conference and presented technology for manufacturing low-phosphate detergent

1978

  • Established Lion Products Co., Ltd. with a view to merging with The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

1979

  • Launched TOP, a laundry detergent with enzyme power

1979

  • Launched Mama Royal, a soft-on-the-skin dishwashing detergent

1980

  • Merged with The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd. to form Lion Corporation

Lion Corporation 1980-

1980

  • Launched Between Lion, a toothbrush designed to clean between the teeth

1980

  • Launched a phosphate-free version of Enzyme Power TOP

1981

  • Launched CLINICA Lion, a toothpaste with enzymes that break down cavity-causing dental plaque

1982

  • Launched Charmy Green, a soft-on-the-skin dishwashing detergent

1985

  • Created the Pinpon System to reflect customer input in products. This system was replaced with the New Pinpon System in 1996.

1986

  • Launched Smile Ace antibacterial eyedrops

1988

  • Launched Hi TOP super-concentrated laundry detergent with high-performance enzymes. Just 25 g of this detergent was sufficient to clean a typical load of laundry.

1991

  • Held a ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Company's founding (a company history, 100 Years of Lion, was published the following year)

1991

  • Commercialized PSS, an additive for coal-water-mixture fuel for thermal power generation

1991

  • Launched Spark laundry detergent with environmentally friendly plant-based ingredients derived from palm oil

1992

  • Launched Emeron Shokubutsu-Monogatari (Plant Story), a beauty soap made with 100% plant ingredients

1993

  • Launched Dentor Systema Lion, a brand of liquid toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash for preventing periodontal disease

1994

  • To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Lion Foundation for Dental Health held the Dental Seminar for dentists from around Japan

1995

  • PC Clinica Toothbrushes received Good Design designation from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry

1996

  • Received the 1996 award from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry for the most positive consumer oriented business

1997

  • Launched KireiKirei Medicated Hand Soap, formulated with an antibacterial agent

1999

  • Announced a comprehensive tie-up with Henkel KGaA of Germany to handle household products

2000

  • Launched Charmy V, a dishwashing detergent with long-lasting cleaning power that can disinfect sponges

2000

  • Won the Asahi Shimbun Foundation "Response to Consumer Need Award" in the Grand Award for Corporate Social Contribution

2000

  • Established the Lion Dental Research Award, a science award given by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR)

2001

  • Launched Heyaboshi TOP, a laundry detergent that allows clothes to be hung up to dry indoors without developing a musty smell

2001

  • Launched BUFFERIN Plus, combining acetylsalicylic acid, the analgesic ingredient in BUFFERIN A, with three additional active agents

2002

  • Held the 59th Mass Tooth Brushing Exercise for School Children

2004

  • Acquired the over-the-counter (OTC) drug business of Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., including the health tonics Guronsan and New Guromont, Varsan insecticides, and Shin-Chugai Ichoyaku gastrointestinal medicine

2004

  • Took over operations of the Home & Personal Care Division of CJ Corporation in South Korea

2005

  • Launched Guronsan Red with a new marketing campaign

2006

  • Launched LOOK Kirei no Mist series of antibacterial and sanitary sprays for the toilet, bathroom, kitchen, and cloth items

2007

  • Acquired trademark rights to the BUFFERIN brand

2007

  • Began construction of a plant in Malaysia for manufacturing plant-based surfactant

2007

  • Received the 16th Grand Prize for the Global Environment Award

2007

  • Launched CHARMY Awa no Chikara (Power of Suds) dishwashing detergent

2007

  • Launched TOP Fuaikan laundry detergent

2007

  • Launched Dentor Clear MAX Lion toothpaste

2007

  • Launched CLINICA Cavity Protect toothpaste

2008

  • Selected by the global SRI (socially responsible investing) index FTSE4Good Global Index

2008

  • Became the first manufacturer to receive Eco First certification from the Ministry of the Environment and participated in the "Eco First Program" proclamation

2009

  • Founded the Lion Award Japan, awarded through the Society on Water Environment to support young researchers engaged in research aimed at preserving aquatic environments

2009

  • Completed new research and development facilities at the Hirai site

2009

  • The TO Reactor, used to manufacture surfactant, was registered as an item of Future Engineering Heritage

2010

  • Commenced trial broadcasts of the Company's first nationwide television commercial with subtitles

2010

  • Launched super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent TOP NANOX

2011

  • Footage of Lion founder Tomijiro Kobayashi's funeral procession designated an important cultural property

2011

  • Designated "Meisters" as specialists to create and provide information useful for daily living

2011

  • Announced the Vision2020 new management vision

2012

  • Lion product Lactoferrin received the 16th Momofuku Ando Award for Excellence and the 2012 JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research

2012

  • Launched LOOK Bath Antimold Fogger, which uses silver ion fog to sterilize and prevent mold growth

2012

  • Began the V-1 Plan medium-management plan, aimed at achieving the goals of Vision2020

2013

  • Opened ORALYSIS, an oral care shop by the Yaesu South exit of Tokyo Station

2013

  • Established Gran Tokyo Oral Health Care Station, a preventive dentistry clinic

2014

  • Began the "KireiKirei City—Sakaide" Project, a social contribution initiative in cooperation with Sakaide City in Kagawa, Japan

2014

  • Released the renewed CLINICA brand, "from a Preventive Dentistry Perspective"

2014

  • Released Ban Sweat-Blocking Roll-On, an innovative product to reduce underarm sweat and help prevent sweat marks on clothing

2014

  • Launched new BUFFERIN PREMIUM, featuring a premium formula for fast, effective relief from painful headaches

2014

  • Launched Lidea, a new website for lifestyle information

2015

  • Launched new CHARMY Magica, a nano-cleansing dishwashing detergent

2015

  • Established the Vision2020 Part-2 medium-term management plan (the V-2 Plan)

2015

  • Established the first toothbrush recycling program in Asia in order to decrease the environmental impact of used toothbrushes

2015

  • Re-launched Nice rim essence Lactoferrin labeled as a functional food product that "helps reduce visceral fat and bring down high BMI"

2015

  • Reorganized chemical-related subsidiaries and divisions to launch the new Lion Specialty Chemicals

2015

  • Launched Between Zeitaku Care, a toothbrush generously packed with bundles of multi-level tapered bristles to reach every nook and cranny

2015

  • Consolidated equity-method company Southern Lion Sdn. Bhd., based in Malaysia, making it a consolidated subsidiary

2016

  • Launched TOP SUPER NANOX, a super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent that effectively cleans grime off each and every fiber

2016

  • Established LION tomoni Co., Ltd. to promote the hiring of and expand opportunities for people with disabilities

2016

  • Launched hadakara Body Soap, a body soap featuring Japan’s first moisture-adsorbing formula, which ensures moisturizer is not washed away

2016

  • Samples of TOP with Enzyme Power, released in 1979, registered as Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology

2016

  • Launched the Salivary Multi Test, a test system that can measure multiple saliva indicators in just five minutes

2016

  • Shiseido, Unicharm and Lion formed an alliance aimed at reinforcing in-store maintenance and other functions at retailers