The History of Lion’s R&D
With a constant focus on customers, Lion’s R&D spans a history of more than 130 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
T. Kobayashi & Co. established
First Sino-Japanese War
Launched Lion Toothpowder, Lion’s first tooth brushing powder
Launched several high-quality products over a short time span
The Wright brothers achieve powered flight
Established Kobayashi Laboratory, Lion’s first R&D facility, in Koishikawa, Tokyo
Imported autoclaves ( industrial high-pressure industrial fat and oil decomposers) from Germany that were used in manufacturing for about 40 years.
Sinking of the Titanic
Split into Kobayashi Co., Ltd.
and Lion Soap Co., Ltd.
Completed the first phase of construction of the Hirai Plant
Constitution of Japan ratified
Launched Lion F Cream, Japan’s first fluoride toothpaste
Launched Lipon F, a kitchen detergent for washing fruits, vegetables and tableware
Tokyo Tower completed
The Soviet Union conducts the first manned space flight
Launched White Lion, a toothpaste offering effective tooth whitening
The Birth of Environmentally Friendly Products
Promoting R&D aimed at environmental protection
Launched Hi TOP, Japan’s first foam-suppressing laundry detergent
Olympic Games held in Tokyo
Completed the Odawara Plant
Completed the Osaka Plant
Completed the new head office building
First oil shock
Launched Seseragi, Japan's first phosphate-free detergent
Developed the TO Reactor
Narita International Airport opened
Launched TOP with Enzyme Power
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.)
Lion Corporation formed
Chiba Plant completed
The International Exposition, Tsukuba, Japan
Launched Spark, made with ingredients derived from palm oil
Japanese economic bubble burst
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
Launched Emeron Shokubutsu-Monogatari, made with 100% plant ingredients
Shifting toward health care and solutions
to meet diversifying needs
Launched KireiKirei Medicated Hand Soap, formulated with an antibacterial agent
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
Released Heyaboshi (Hang-to-Dry Indoors) Top
Kyoto Protocol entered effect
Set legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries
Completed new research and development facilities at the Hirai site
Launched TOP NANOX
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
Great East Japan Earthquake
Launched LOOK Bath Antimold Fogger
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.
Tokyo Skytree completed
Mount Fuji registered as a World Heritage Site
Launched the Salivary Multi Test
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.
Launched CLINICA Kid's Toothbrush
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.