Company History

T. Kobayashi & Co.

  • 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)

  • 1901

    Opened the Kobayashi Night School for employees
    (Photo) Men's class at Kobayashi Night School, circa 1907
    (Women’s classrooms were furnished with sewing machines)

  • 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.

  • 1910

    Affirmed its specialization in toothpowder sales by establishing Lion Soap Factory as a partnership firm

    Imported autoclaves (industrial high-pressure industrial fat and oil decomposers) from Germany that were used in manufacturing for about 40 years.

  • 1911

    Launched Lion Dental Cream, the first tube-packaged toothpaste made in Japan (using imported tubes)

  • 1913

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

    @Akio Nemoto 02023/JAA2300016

    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)

Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

  • 1918

    Established Kobayashi Co., Ltd., a company specializing in toothpaste and toothbrush sales

    Lion Toothpowder received certification of excellent quality and effectiveness from the London Institute of Hygiene in the United Kingdom (Kobayashi Co., Ltd.).
    (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 (Kobayashi Co., Ltd.)

  • 1932

    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.)

  • 1934

    Completed Kobayashi Co., Ltd.’s new Tokyo Plant, a cutting-edge toothpaste factory

  • 1937

    Launched Medicated Lion Kodomo Toothpaste for children

  • 1948

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

  • 1949

    Changed the Company name from Kobayashi Co., Ltd. to Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

  • 1952

    ・Launched the Lion Health Car, a promotional bus outfitted for dental examinations
    ・Co-sponsored the first Mother-Child Good Teeth Competition

  • 1957

    Launched Super Lion Tooth Moistened-Powder formulated with fluoride (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1959

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

  • 1960

    Established Lion Dentifrice (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
    (the Company’s first post-war overseas venture)

  • 1961

    Launched White Lion toothpaste incorporating the new active ingredient calcium phosphate, which is highly effective for whitening teeth (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 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 (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1963

    Launched BUFFERIN antipyretic analgesics (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1964

    Launched Dentor Lion toothpaste, which helped protect against alveolar pyorrhea (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

    Completed the Odawara Plant to mass produce toothpastes (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

    Established the Lion Foundation For Dental Health (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1966

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

  • 1967

    Formed an alliance with McCormick & Company, Inc. of the United States to sell 82 varieties of seasonings (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1968

    Launched Etiquette Lion, a toothpaste for preventing bad breath

  • 1969

    Launched Bannet Lion, a toothbrush with an arched handle that makes it easy to brush the back surfaces of teeth (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

    Completed the Akashi Plant to mass produce toothbrushes (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1970

    Launched White & White Lion toothpaste in laminated tubes (Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.)

  • 1971

    Completed the new head office building of Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd.

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

Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

  • 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 household laundry soap made in Japan (Lion Soap Co., Ltd.)

  • 1933

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

  • 1936

    Completed the Lion Soap Co., Ltd. Hirai Factory, which housed integrated soap manufacturing facilities as well as a solid-oil refinery, a glycerin plant and an alcohol plant.

    Dissolved the Laundry Information Service Center into the newly established Lion Laundry Science Laboratories on the grounds of the Tokyo Plant. The laboratory held lectures on laundering and performed theoretical analyses of the laundering process (Lion Soap Co., Ltd.)

  • 1937

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

  • 1940

    Changed the Company name to Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

  • 1956

    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(Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1957

    Established the Lion Household Science Laboratories

  • 1963

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

  • 1965

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

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

  • 1966

    Launched Mama Lemon, a smooth-on-the-skin, lotion-type detergent for washing tableware and vegetables (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1967

    Launched the laundry detergent Dash, containing alpha olefin sulfonate (AOS), a new, highly biodegradable surfactant (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1968

    Completed the Osaka Plant (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1970

    Launched Emeron Cream Rinse hair conditioner. Marketing involved a famous television commercial and the product became a hit. (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1971

    Completed the new head office building of Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.

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

  • 1973

    Launched Seseragi, Japan's first phosphate-free detergent (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

  • 1979

    Launched TOP, a laundry detergent with enzyme power
    (Formulated with enzyme capsules) (Lion Fat and Oil Co., Ltd.)

Lion Corporation

  • 1980

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

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

    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

    Chiba Plant completed

  • 1983

    Created the new mascot character LION-chan

  • 1985

    Launched OCT Medicated Shampoo & Conditioner

  • 1988

    Launched Hi TOP super-concentrated laundry detergent with high-performance enzymes.

  • 1990

    Launched Natera, a dishwashing detergent made from natural raw materials

  • 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

  • 2001

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

    All of Lion's factories received ISO 14001 certification

  • 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

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

  • 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

    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

    Completed new research and development facilities at the Hirai site

    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.

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

  • 2012

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

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

  • 2014

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

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

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

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

    Launched Lidea, a new website for lifestyle information

    Launched an environmental logo and environmental label as a means of communicating environmental information to consumers through products

  • 2015

    Launched new CHARMY Magica, a nano-cleansing dishwashing detergent

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

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

    An autoclave used by Lion was designated a Chemical Heritage Artifact by the Chemical Society of Japan

  • 2016

    Launched TOP SUPER NANOX, a super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent

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

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

    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

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

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

  • 2017

    Launched the new and improved CLINICA Kid's Toothbrush, a lineup of toothbrushes with an easy-to-bend, hard-to-break safety handle in two versions (for children 0-2 years and 3-5 years old)

    Created the new brand NONIO to treat bad breath based on a scientific approach, with a lineup including NONIO Toothpaste and NONIO Mouthwash

  • 2018

    Launched KireiKirei Medicated Hand Gel, featuring a nano-ion disinfecting ingredient to quickly and easily eliminate germs in the tiny grooves and gaps around fingernails and fingers

    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
  • 2020

    Launched the Method brand of dermatologic agents for itchiness, a line that allows users to choose the product for the part of the body they want to treat*
    * Products are recommended for uses on specific parts of the body based on their ingredients and formulation

    Announced the Lion Group Sustainability Material Issues and Objectives for 2030

    Launched TOP SUPER NANOX highly concentrated liquid laundry detergent Packaged in a transparent bottle made of 100% recycled plastic*
    * Refers to the bottle only, not including the nozzle and cap

  • 2021

    Launched Lightee tooth-whitening toothpaste simultaneously in Japan and China

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

    Completed a new toothpaste factory at the Lion Chemical Oleochemical Production Site (Sakaide, Kagawa Prefecture), enabling end-to-end toothpaste production

    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)

  • 2022

    Developed a business alliance with NTT DATA Corporation to promote digital transformation (DX)

    Acquired all shares Kyuzituhack Co., Ltd.

    Launched the Okuchi Plus You well-being service for corporate customers

    Established Lion Kallol Ltd. as a joint venture (consolidated subsidiary) in Bangladesh

    Launched the TANO-LT: nursing care game console equipped with the Kenkomin (health,mouth,sleep) Exercise program

    Launched ORAL FIT: oral fitness service

    Won the Corporate Site Award of Excellence in the 10th annual Web Grand Prix

  • 2023

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

    Launched Acron Smart Care:: A laundry detergent (for delicates) with fabric-softening ingredients that eliminates the rinse stage, getting clothes clean in less time and with less environmental impact!

    Acquired shares of Vietnam-based MERAP HOLDING, making it an equity-method company

    Launched Okuchi-iku Kamotto!, an oral care program service that helps develop chewing strength and establish a strong foundation for straight teeth

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

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