Company History

  • 1891

    Founder Tomijiro Kobayashi established T. Kobayashi & Co. on the Yanagihara riverside in Kanda, Tokyo, to trade in soap and raw materials for matches

  • 1893

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

  • 1896

    Launched Lion Toothpowder

  • 1898

    Began using a marching band with musicians and an announcer to advertise the Company's products.

  • 1900

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

  • 1907

    Established Kobayashi Laboratory to test raw materials and conduct research into new products
    Established alongside Tokyo Analytical Laboratory that also accepted commissions from the public

  • 1913

    Launched Lion Kodomo Toothpaste for children
    The young swordsman illustration was drawn by Nihonga artist Kiyokata Kaburaki

  • 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 with the participation of dentist Shusaku Midorikawa.

  • 1914

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

  • 1920

    Launched Plant-derived Lion Laundry Soap, the first plant-derived household laundry soap made in Japan (Lion Soap Co., Ltd.)

  • 1921

    Kobayashi Co., Ltd.

    Established the first dental clinic in Japan to specialize in pediatric dentistry, later renamed the Lion Dental Clinic for Children (Kobayashi Co., Ltd.)

  • 1932

    Kobayashi Co., Ltd.

    Co-sponsored the fifth Cavity Prevention Day and held the first Mass Tooth Brushing Drill for children
    (Hibiya Park music stage, Osaka Tennoji Park) (Kobayashi Co., Ltd.)

  • 1933

    Lion Soap Co., Ltd.

    Established the Laundry Information Service Center (Lion Soap Co., Ltd.)

  • 1937

    Lion Soap Co., Ltd.

    Published Standard Household Laundry Methods, a booklet that was adopted as a home economics text at many girls' high schools (Lion Soap Co., Ltd.)

  • 1948

    Launched Lion F Cream, Japan's first toothpaste with fluoride (Kobayashi Co., Ltd.)

  • 1956

    Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

    Launched Lipon F, Japan'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

  • 1961

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

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

  • 1962

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    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

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    Launched BUFFERIN antipyretic analgesics

  • 1964

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    Launched Dentor Lion toothpaste, which helped protect against alveolar pyorrhea

  • 1964

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    Established the Lion Foundation For Dental Health

  • 1966

    Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

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

  • 1967

    Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

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

  • 1968

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    Launched Etiquette Lion, a toothpaste for preventing bad breath

  • 1970

    Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

    Launched White & White Lion toothpaste in laminated tubes

  • 1973

    Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

    Launched Seseragi, Japan's first phosphate-free detergent

  • 1979

    Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

    Launched TOP, a laundry detergent with enzyme power
    (Formulated with enzyme capsules)

  • 1980

    The Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd. and Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd merged to form Lion Corporation

  • 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

  • 1983

    Created the new mascot character LION-chan

  • 1985

    Launched OCT Medicated Shampoo & Conditioner

  • 1991

    Launched Spark laundry detergent, formulated with MES, a surfactant made from environmentally friendly plant(palm oil)-based ingredients

  • 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

  • 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

  • 2006

    ECO LION Declaration
    Established the Lion Eco Standards as a set of new criteria for product environmental friendliness
    Established the Lion Forest in Yamanashi

  • 2007

    Launched direct-to-consumer of tablet supplement Nice rim essence Lactoferrin

  • 2007

    Received the 16th Grand Prize for the Global Environment Award

  • 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

    The TO Reactor, used to manufacture surfactant, was registered as Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology (items of Future Engineering Heritage) by the National Museum of Nature and Science

  • 2010

    Launched super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent TOP NANOX

  • 2011

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

  • 2012

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

  • 2014

    Launched Lidea, a new website for lifestyle information

  • 2016

    Samples of TOP with Enzyme Power, released in 1979, registered as Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology (items of Future Engineering Heritage) by the National Museum of Nature and Science

  • 2018

    Launched LOOK Plus Bath Cleansing, a new type of bath detergent that cleans the tub with no scrubbing: Just mist the entire bathtub, wait 60 seconds, and rinse off

  • 2019

    Announced the LION Eco Challenge 2050, a set of long-term environmental objectives aimed at realizing a healthy future for people and the planet

  • 2021

    Launched Lightee tooth-whitening toothpaste simultaneously in Japan and China

  • 2021

    Launched Inclusive Oral Care, a set of sustainability activities aimed at addressing social and environmental issues through oral care

  • 2021

    Launched LOOK Plus Awa-Pita Toilet Cleaning Spray: Let the foam take care of the hard-to-clean spaces!
    (Received the Japan Star Prize, the top prize in the 2022 Japan Packaging Contest)

  • 2023

    Head office moved from Honjo, Sumida-ku, to Kuramae, Taito-ku

  • 2023

    Launched SOFLAN Airis: A new genre of clear fabric softener that brings a light, airy mood to laundry and everyday living

  • 2023

    Launched NANOX one highly concentrated complete gel, the only detergent that combines powerful detergency and deodorizing with color protection*
    *Among Lion laundry detergents