Lion at a Glance

This page showcases some of Lion's strengths as a company.

Research and Development

Lion's R&D helps provide consumers with new value to assist healthy, comfortable living. Below is a look at three of Lion's signature technologies.

Oral Care—Evolving Periodontal Disease Prevention

Periodontal Disease Destroys Periodontal Tissue, Leading to Tooth Loss

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in Japan, accounting for more than 40% of all cases. The oral cavity is home to 500 to 700 species of bacteria. If insufficiently cleaned off during brushing, these bacteria can accumulate, adhering to the surface of teeth and the spaces between the teeth and gums. In these spaces, bacteria grow and reproduce, forming a biofilm—a community of gum disease-causing bacteria. This biofilm is the primary cause of gum disease.

Periodontal Disease Destroys Periodontal Tissue, Leading to Tooth Loss

Biofilm Below the Gum Margin

Biofilms in the oral cavity consist mainly of those on the surface of the teeth above the gum margin and those in the crevice between the teeth and gums below the gum margin. Because gum disease-causing bacteria are anaerobic and do not thrive in presence of oxygen, they grow in the biofilm below the gum margin and are a major factor in the progression of gum disease.

Antibacterial Agent IPMP Penetrates Biofilms to Kill Bacteria

Isopropyl methylphenol (IPMP) has long been used as an antibacterial agent in cosmetics and other products. Lion discovered that it can also be used to disinfect oral cavity biofilms, from the surface to deep inside.
Non-ionic substances (substances with no electrical charge) are best for penetrating and disinfecting biofilms. Furthermore, to get through the biofilm, a substance must be neither strongly hydrophilic nor hydrophobic, but intermediate. Lion's research discovered that the antibacterial agent IPMP meets all these criteria.

Because IPMP is non-ionic, it is not electrically adsorbed to bacteria on the biofilm surface and can effectively penetrate the film, reaching and killing bacteria deep inside the periodontal pocket. This allows it to kill bacteria throughout the biofilm.
In 2004, Lion launched Dentor Systema, a toothpaste formulated with IPMP.

Bactericidal Efficacy of Chemical Agents against Biofilm
(Treated for three minutes at a concentration of 0.1%)

Bactericidal Efficacy of Chemical Agents against Biofilm

Bactericidal Efficacy against Human Oral Biofilms

Bactericidal Efficacy against Human Oral Biofilms

Fabric Care—Striving to Eliminate Grime Left on Clothing after Washing

According to a 2015 Lion survey, many consumers are not satisfied with their current laundry detergent, complaining that clothing yellows or dulls over time or that, despite diligent daily washing, clothes never seem to get really clean.

Yellowing and dullness is caused by the buildup of grime that is left on clothing after each wash.

TOP SUPER NANOX Thoroughly Cleans Grime off Each and Every Fiber with Lion’s Proprietary Super Nano-Washing

The product formula combines plant-derived surfactant MEE with an LO (“lift out”) ingredient. The LO ingredient penetrates fibers, helping to lift out embedded contaminants. Once lifted out, the grime is quickly broken down to the nano level by high-detergency ingredient MEE to be washed away.

Super Nano-Washing Mechanism

Super Nano-Washing Mechanism


Lion discovered that the multifunctional protein lactoferrin helps to not only suppress fat synthesis, but promote fat decomposition as well.

Point 1

The "metabolic domino" effect refers to the cascade of ailments and diseases occurring one after another that are triggered by fat. Excess accumulation of visceral fat is a major factor that increases the risk of lifestyle-related diseases, so reducing visceral fat is key to reducing risk.

Metabolic Domino Effect

Point 2

Lion discovered that lactoferrin suppresses genes that encourage the formation of fat droplets in fat cells.

Lactoferrin suppresses genes that encourage the formation of fat droplets in fat cells

Point 3

Lactoferrin reduces perilipin, which surrounds fat and prevents its breakdown.

Lactoferrin reduces perilipin

Overseas Development

Sharing value related to "Health," "Comfort," and "Environment" in Asia

Forming Relationships with Strong Local Partners

Lion first began overseas business operations in the 1950s. Today, in addition to Japan, we operate in eight countries and regions across Asia. Lion's principal method of entering overseas markets is to partner with a strong local company to form a joint venture. We thus develop our business together by combining Lion's technologies and marketing expertise with the local partner's robust distribution capabilities.

Image:Synergetic business development using the strengths of both partners

Product Development Rooted in Local Needs + Global Brands

One of the strengths of Lion's overseas business lies in its dedication to localization, including product development and management that give weight to local market characteristics and the lifestyle culture of each country. Lion seeks to increase its presence through development of products tailored to the needs of each market, including product format and price range.
One example of this is the development of product flavors in line with local preferences. Toothpaste flavors that might be considered too harsh in Japan, for example, may be considered pleasant for use after meals in areas of Asia where more strongly seasoned food is common.

SYSTEMA, a global Lion brand / Left: SYSTEMA mouthwash sold in Thailand in the popular cherry blossom flavor that evokes Japan / Right: Toothpaste and mouthwash sold in Singapore

Furthermore, in some Asian countries, we market cherry blossom flavored toothpastes and mouthwashes. We chose this flavor, as a Japanese company, in order to evoke the association of cherry blossoms with Japan, and it has been well received.
(Lion does not sell cherry blossom flavored toothpaste or mouthwash in Japan.)

Addressing Environmental Issues

Contributing to the creation of a sustainable society

Promoting the Switch from Petroleum to Plant-Derived Resources

Lion developed the proprietary surfactants methyl ester sulfonate (MES) and methyl ester ethoxylate (MEE). These surfactants are made from renewable, plant-derived raw materials, and their use in detergents helps reduce CO2 emissions. Lion will continue working to increase the use of plant-derived materials in its products.

The Excellent Properties of MES

Point 1. No Net CO2 Emissions

After surfactants are used, they are broken down in the environment into CO2 and water. Because plants grow through photosynthesis, absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen, when surfactants made from plant-based raw materials break down and release CO2, there is no overall increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (this is referred to as being carbon neutral). This means that the surfactant MES, which is made from plant-based raw materials, does not increase the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Image:Carbon Neutrality

Point 2. Excellent Biodegradability

After being used, surfactants are broken down (biodegraded) by microorganisms in the environment. MES is highly biodegradable and does not linger in the environment for long.

Graph:Surfactant Biodegradability