The History of Lion’s R&D

R&D—Lion’s Foundations

With a constant focus on customers, Lion’s R&D spans a history of more than 120 years. This page highlights the R&D of Lion’s early years and the technologies that constantly guide Lion’s future.

R&D in Lion’s Early Years

Numerous historically significant inventions

1891

T. Kobayashi & Co. established

1894

First Sino-Japanese War

1896

Launched Lion Toothpowder, Lion’s first tooth brushing powder
Launched several high-quality products over a short time span

1903

The Wright brothers achieve powered flight

1907

Established Kobayashi Laboratory, Lion’s first R&D facility, in Koishikawa, Tokyo

1910

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

1912

Sinking of the Titanic

1918

Split into Kobayashi Co., Ltd.
and Lion Soap Co., Ltd.

1933

Completed the first phase of construction of the Hirai Plant

1946

Constitution of Japan ratified

1948

Launched Lion F Cream, Japan’s first fluoride toothpaste

1956

Launched Lipon F, a kitchen detergent for washing fruits, vegetables and tableware

1958

Tokyo Tower completed

1961

The Soviet Union conducts the first manned space flight

1961

Launched White Lion, a toothpaste offering effective tooth whitening

The Birth of Environmentally Friendly Products

Promoting R&D aimed at environmental protection

1962

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

1964

Olympic Games held in Tokyo

1964

Completed the Odawara Plant

1968

Completed the Osaka Plant

1971

Completed the new head office building

1973

First oil shock

1973

Launched Seseragi, Japan's first phosphate-free detergent

1978

Narita International Airport opened

1979

Launched TOP with Enzyme Power

more

This low-phosphate laundry detergent achieved strong detergency by using granular capsulized enzymes in place of phosphates, which were a cause of deteriorating water quality in lakes and marshes, a significant social problem at the time.
(The completely phosphate-free Murin TOP was released the following year.)

1980

Lion Corporation formed

1982

Chiba Plant completed

1985

The International Exposition, Tsukuba, Japan

1991

Launched Spark, made with ingredients derived from palm oil

1991

Japanese economic bubble burst
Dissolution of the Soviet Union

1992

Launched Emeron Shokubutsu-Monogatari, made with 100% plant ingredients

Consumer-Focused Research

Shifting toward health care and solutions
to meet diversifying needs

1997

Launched KireiKirei Medicated Hand Soap, formulated with an antibacterial agent

more

With packaging featuring a simple, appealing illustration, KireiKirei helped steadily spread the idea of hygienic family habits and has been the leading brand in the Japanese hand soap market since 2000

2001

Released Heyaboshi (Hang-to-Dry Indoors) Top

2005

Kyoto Protocol entered effect

.

Set legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries

2009

Completed new research and development facilities at the Hirai site

2010

Launched TOP NANOX

more

A super-concentrated liquid laundry detergent formulated with a high concentration of methyl ester ethoxylate (MEE), a high-detergency, plant-based surfactant that Lion was the first in the world to commercialize

2011

Great East Japan Earthquake

2012

Launched LOOK Bath Antimold Fogger

more

This product introduced the new concept of using a fogger to prevent mold, with a focus on the previously unaddressed problem of mold on bathroom ceilings. The concept was backed up by experimental evidence of the effectiveness of mold-killing silver ions.

2012

Tokyo Skytree completed

2013

Mount Fuji registered as a World Heritage Site

2016

Launched hadakara

2016

Launched the Salivary Multi Test

more

Lion developed and launched this saliva testing system, which provides objective, quantified measurements of multiple saliva indicators of dental and gum health and oral cleanliness in just five minutes.

2017

Launched CLINICA Kid's Toothbrush

more

Created using Lion’s preventive dentistry expertise
This brand of high-performance, toothbrushes is tailored to fit children’s needs at each growth stage. The toothbrushes support children’s healthy dental care habits from the time they begin learning how to brush their teeth.