History of Tomita

128 years of Tomita’s history. This exhibition traces the trajectory of the company with precious photos from that time.
The long history and various experiences up to the present day form the foundation for our future challenges.

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  • History of Tomita

1From the Shizuoka Era to the Founding of Naruto City

  1. 1871

    The founder, Kyuzaburo Tomita, begin full-scale research in Shizuoka on a manufacturing process using bittern as a raw material. His goal is to mass-produce magnesium carbonate for pharmaceutical use at good quality and low cost, hopeful to circumvent this product’s expensive foreign imports.

    In the same year, he starts manufacturing and selling cough medicine “Lauryl Sulfate Water” and “Lauryl Oil” from Oba Kashi, and invests all of the profits from the sales in researching the manufacturing process of magnesium carbonate.

  2. 1872

    The company moves to Shizuoka Prefecture in order to continue to supply bittern. They also begin research into sodium carbonate, the main raw material for magnesium carbonate.
    After repeated failures, they achieved the creation of magnesium carbonate, but it had less bulk than the intended result. The company attempts to market this product as “heavy magnesium carbonate” to limited success.

  3. 1877

    Pure magnesium carbonate production is at last achieved after thorough review of the manufacturing process and development equipment. Acetic acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, ether, and other chemicals and also under production.

  4. 1879

    Kyuzaburo (age 28) went to the Jishu Salt Field (near the Seto Inland Sea) in search of a large amount of bitter juice. At that time, in the Juju salt field area, after salt was extracted from seawater, the remaining bitter juice was dumped into the sea.
    The factory operation in Shizuoka (Kiga) failed in mass production and was closed, but the business and research continued.

  5. 1881

    The company obtains a license for magnesium carbonate from the British Bureau and a license for ether from the U.S. Bureau.

  6. 1885

    In order to secure and maintain the production of bittern, a facility is built in Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture so that sun-dried salt production could begin. While the land was secured, the production eventually must be discontinued when the price of salt plummets, which affects the pharmaceutical industry upon which the company relies.

  7. 1886

    The Japanese Pharmacopoeia is enacted and promulgated (and went into effect the following year), and magnesium carbonate and magnesium sulfate are approved. It is touted that “the only domestic products that conform to the pharmacopoeia are Tomita’s products.”

    The credibility of the trademark “Ⓣ” mark increases, and demand for the product increases day by day. After years of struggling financially, Tomita is able to turn a profit.
    Years later, Kyuzaburo is quoted as saying, “The heavens did not abandon the struggling man, but gave him a great boon. What is this boon? It is the enactment of the Japanese Pharmacopoeia in June of 1887.”

  8. 1887

    Just as the business was beginning to take off, the factory burns down. The company loses not only its machinery but also all of its research materials, and has no choice but to cease operations.

  9. 1888

    Re-examined the ten Salt Fields in the Setouchi area. Reached the conclusion that establishing a pharmaceutical plant in ten Salt Fields region would be an efficient way to secure bitterness.

  10. 1890

    Succeeds in separating and producing potassium chloride from bittern for the first time in Japan.

  11. 1891

    Kyuzaburo moves to Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture and builds a factory in Seto-Cho (now Naruto City).

2From the inception phase to an era of growth

  1. 1893

    Tomita Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is established on January 1. Full-scale production of magnesium carbonate and magnesium sulfate begins.

  2. 1895

    Participates in the 4th National industrial Exhibition held in Kyoto. Here, Tomita showcases their magnesium carbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfide, magnesium sulfate, potassium iodide, potassium bromide, sodium bromide, and sodium chloride.

  3. 1896

    A stone oven is used to extract salt from soil by cooking seawater in stone cauldrons. The salt is refined by removing the sodium sulfate contained within. It is named “Japanese salt” and sold.

  4. 1897

    The name of the factory is changed to “Tomita Pharmaceutical Factory.”

3Rapid growth in Japan’s Taisho Period

  1. 1914

    Against the background of World War I and Japan’s resulting supply shortage, potassium chloride increases in demand. It is successfully isolated from bittern and subsequently manufactured.

  2. 1917

    Reorganizes products, focusing on the production of magnesium carbonate, potassium chloride, and bromine and establishing factories.

  3. 1918

    Due to developments in the rubber industry, the company succeeds in producing magnesium carbonate for processing transparent rubber while meeting the increasing demand for magnesium carbonate.

  4. 1919

    Obtains permission to manufacture sodium chloride, which was in short supply after WWI, and begins manufacturing sodium chloride again (Special Permit No. 1).

  5. 1921

    The invention of the concrete assembly-type Numai-dai (swamp well platform) contributes to the improvement of salt manufacturing technology in the Irigaki salt fields, and a subsidy is granted to the company for promoting the propagation and industrial development of the industry.

4Breakthrough in Japan’s early Showa period

  1. 1927

    Hisasaburo leaves for an 8-month tour of the West (Germany) for pharmaceutical research. Hisasaburo (age 76).

  2. 1931

    In response to the postwar recession, Kyusaburo researches magnesium carbonate manufacturing methods. He succeeds in the industrialization of a manufacturing method for lime, and also perfected the manufacturing method for magnesium oxide.

  3. 1937

    Tomita Pharmaceutical Factory was reorganized into a corporation and establishes itself as “Tomita Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.”

5Business during wartime

  1. 1939

    Sales of the health regulating agent Robaston.

  2. 1941

    Responding to the issuance of the “Order for Control of Daily Necessities,” the product of “bittern potassium salt” is sold as a fertilizer. Production is discontinued three years later due to corporate control of the bittern industry.

  3. 1942

    A ceremony commemorating Tomita’s 50th anniversary is held at the newly renovated magnesium sulfate plant.
    During the Pacific War, it became difficult to obtain raw materials, so the company began to study the production of synthetic magnesium carbonate.

  4. 1943

    Receive an order from the Navy to produce strontium.

  5. 1945

    The company begins marketing vaccines for oral dysentery, typhoid, and paratyphoid, as well as an injectable vitamin B2 and the prophylactic drug penicillin.
    The four large chimneys that had served as a symbol of the company were removed from its building during the war for fear that they would be used as air raid markers.

6Living in the turmoil after the end of the war

  1. 19461951

    During this five-year period, the company researches and develops a wide range of products for which it is licensed to manufacture, including barium chloride, camphor oil injection, barium sulfate, Ringer’s solution, saline solution, vitamin B2 injection solution, and saline tablets. In 1947, the company begins marketing “Macron tablets,” an anthelmintic with an active ingredient of seaweed extract.
    Also, using by-products from textile mills, the company begins producing anhydrous sodium sulfate in 1949 and sodium sulfide in 1951.

  2. 1955

    Tomita Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is established on July 8 (using the current Japanese name), with Teizaburo Tomita as representative director.

    *The 1950s were marked by disaster, including the Nankai Earthquake in 1946, a fire at a magnesium carbonate drying plant in 1948, a fire at a salt brine refinery in 1949, and Typhoon Jane in 1950.

710 years of enduring hardships

  1. 1956

    The company is affected by the bankruptcy of its main customers and the resulting industry fallout. During the high-growth period of the Japanese economy, Tomita’s business conditions remain tense.

  2. 1960

    As a challenge in a new field, the company develops and sells an organic hair straightening agent, “Ammonium Thioglycolate.” Sales are poor, and production is discontinued due to damage to the manufacturing equipment caused by the second Muroto Typhoon in 1961.

  3. 1961

    Magnesium silicate is developed and marketed as an antacid. In 1964, the company develops aluminum hydroxide gel and synthetic aluminum silicate in order to enter the field of antacid agents in earnest.

    Develops high-purity magnesium oxide for silicon steel sheets.
    Suffers severe damage from the second Muroto typhoon.

  4. 1962

    Start trade with Korea and Taiwan.

  5. 1965

    Develop magnesium metasilicate aluminate as an antacid agent.

  6. 1966

    Begin trade with Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Australia.

8Tomita Pharmaceuticals’ management restoration

  1. 1966

    Management policy is formulated into a long-term plan under the guidance of Tanabe Management Counseling Center. Establish a company motto, creed, and slogan. A management policy presentation meeting is held, and the corporate structure is enhanced and improved.

  2. 1968

    Develop “Wakame Tea” using wakame seaweed, a specialty of Naruto City, and register it as a trademark. However, the market response is weak and the company abandons the commercialization of the product.

  3. 1972

    Succeed in developing high-purity chloride for use in artificial dialysis.

  4. 1973

    Develop and begin sale of Uni-Meisui, a natural liquor clarifier made from carrageenan.

  5. 1974

    Establish Tokushima Plant in Tokushima Pharmaceutical Industrial Park to strengthen facilities to meet increasing demand for antacids.

9A new period of rapid growth and development

  1. 1980

    With the enactment of the “Pharmaceutical GMP” ministerial ordinance, the company works to establish a quality control system in several aspects of business.

  2. 1982

    Research is initiated on the production of gluconic acid from mold fungi.

  3. 1985

    Develop and market imported sun-dried crystal salt. “Salt of Naruto-Hama”.
    Develop and market “YUAMI” medicated bath salts and carbonated foaming tablets.

  4. 1986

    Start joint research with the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology and the Shikoku National Industrial Research Institute on pore size control technology for inorganic salts. Start production and sale of the synthetic adsorbent TOMIX-AD and high-performance adsorbent Q-Fine series.

  5. 1990

    Tomita is contracted to produce powdered artificial seawater “Marine Art” in collaboration with Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

10Flying into a new era – opening the way to the future with Tomita’s 100th anniversary –

  1. 1992

    Celebrating 100 years of business.

  2. 1996

    Mass production of a powdered dialysate for overseas markets begins.

  3. 1997

    The first powdered dialysate production facility is completed.
    Full-scale production begins.

  4. 2000

    Launched sales of powdered dialysate KIDOLIME T-30.

  5. 2002

    A second powdered dialysate production facility is completed.
    A system to increase production is established.

  6. 2008

    Begin operation of the Kawasaki Plant, a plant dedicated to the production of sodium chloride.
    Completion of magnesium oxide production building.

  1. 2011

    Open a representative office in New Jersey, USA.
    Completion of a manufacturing plant dedicated to the production of fluorite.

  2. 2012

    Tomita R&D Center is completed. Tomita focuses on the development
    of new products as an R&D-oriented company.

  3. 2014

    A third powdered dialysate production facility is completed.

  4. 2016

    Basic Compliance Policy and Action Guidelines are established,
    as well as the Compliance Committee.

  5. 2019

    A new QC center is established, strengthening sales of pharmaceutical raw materials to overseas customers.

  6. 2021

    A quality policy is established.
    We are committed to compliance with laws and regulations that place the highest priority on quality.

  7. 2022

    Still further into the feature, Tomita Pharmaceuticals drives onward

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