History of Tomita

131 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 from the foundation for our future challenges.

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  • History of Tomita

1From the time in Shizuoka to the founding in Naruto, Tokushima

  1. 1871

    The founder, Kyuzaburo Tomita, began full-scale research in Shizuoka on a manufacturing process using bittern as a raw material. His goal was to mass-produce magnesium carbonate for pharmaceutical use at good quality and low cost, hopeful to make it as a replacement for imported expensive products.

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

  2. 1872

    Moved in Shizuoka Prefecture in order to continue to procure bittern. He also began 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 attempted to market this product as “heavy magnesium carbonate” but it was not accepted in a market.

  3. 1877

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

  4. 1879

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

  5. 1881

    Magnesium carbonate became official for British Pharmacopoeia and ether became officlal for US Pharmacopeia.

  6. 1885

    In order to secure and maintain the production of bittern, a facility was built in Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture so that sun-dried salt production could begin. While the land was secured, eventually the production was discontinued due to the steep decline of salt price, which affected our main pharmaceutical business upon which the company relied.

  7. 1886

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

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

  8. 1887

    Just as the business was beginning to take off, the factory burnt down in a fire. The company lost not only its machinery but also all of its research materials, and had no choice but to cease operations.

  9. 1888

    Re-examined the Jishu salt fields in the Setouchi area. Reached the conclusion that establishing a pharmaceutical plant in the Jishu salt fields would be an efficient way to secure bittern.

  10. 1890

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

  11. 1891

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

2From the Inception Phase to An Era of Growth

  1. 1893

    Tomita Marine Products Industry was established on January 1. Full-scale production of magnesium carbonate and magnesium sulfate began.

  2. 1895

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

  3. 1896

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

  4. 1897

    The name of the company was changed to Tomita Pharmaceutical Factory.

3Rapid Growth in Japan’s Taisho Period

  1. 1914

    Succeeded in separating and producing potassium chloride from bittern whose demand was increased due to Japan’s supply shortage after WWI.

  2. 1917

    Started focusing on the poduction of magnesium carbonate, potassium chloride, and bromine by reorganizing products line-up and establishing a new factory.

  3. 1918

    Succeeded in manufacturing magnesium carbonate for transparent rubber processing while responding to the increasing demand for magnesium carbonate due to the development of the rubber industry.

  4. 1919

    After WWI, the production of sodium chloride, which was rapidly in short supply, was started with the permission of recrystallized salt production.

  5. 1921

    The invention of the concrete assembly-type Numai-dai (swamp well platform) contributed to the improvement of salt manufacturing technology in the Irihama typesalt fields*, and a subsidy was granted to the company for promoting the propagationand industrial development of the industry.
    *The cultivation of salt fields in which brine is brought through tidal action along the coast of the Inland Sea

4Breakthrough in Japan’s Early Showa Period

  1. 1927

    Kyuzaburo (age 76) left for an 8-month tour of Germany for pharmaceutical research.

  2. 1931

    In response to the postwar recession, Kyuzaburo researched magnesium carbonate manufacturing methods. He succeeded in the industrialization of a manufacturing method of utilizing caustic lime as a starting material, and also perfected the manufacturing method for magnesium oxide.

  3. 1937

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

5Business During Wartime

  1. 1939

    Sales of the health conditioning agent Robaston.

  2. 1941

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

  3. 1942

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

  4. 1943

    Received an order from the Navy to produce strontium.

  5. 1945

    The company began 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 researched and developed a wide range of products for which it was 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 began marketing “Macron tablets,” an anthelmintic with an active ingredient of seaweed extract.
    Also, using by-products from textile mills, the company began producing anhydrous sodium sulfate in 1949 and sodium sulfide in 1951.

  2. 1955

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

    *During this period, it 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 was affected by the bankruptcy of its main customers and the resulting dishonored check. Even during the high-growth period of the Japanese economy, Tomita’s business conditions remained tense.

  2. 1960

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

  3. 1961

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

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

  4. 1962

    Started trade with Korea and Taiwan.

  5. 1965

    Developed magnesium metasilicate aluminate as an antacid agent.

  6. 1966

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

8Tomita Pharmaceuticals’ Management Revitalization Reform

  1. 1966

    Management policy was formulated into a long-term plan under the guidance of Tanabe Management Counseling Center. Established “Company Policy,” “Creed,” and “Corporate Mission Statement.” A management policy presentation meeting was held, and the corporate structure was enhanced and improved.

  2. 1968

    Developed “Wakame Tea” using wakame seaweed, a specialty of Naruto City, and registered it as a trademark. However, the market response was weak and the company abandoned the commercialization of the product.

  3. 1972

    Succeeded in developing high-purity Sodium Chloride for use in artificial dialysis.

  4. 1973

    Developed and began sale of Uni-Meisui, a natural liquor clarifier made from carrageenan.

  5. 1974

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

9New Period of Rapid Growth and Development

  1. 1980

    With the enactment of the “Pharmaceutical GMP” ministerial ordinance, the company worked to estabilish a quality system from the point of both management system and equipment control.

  2. 1982

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

  3. 1985

    Developed and marketed imported sun-dried crystal salt “Salt of Naruto-Hama,” and “YUAMI” which was medicated bath slats(carbonated foaming tablets).

  4. 1986

    Started 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. Started production and sale of the synthetic adsorbent TOMIX-AD and high-performance adsorbent Q-Fine series.

  5. 1990

    Tomita was 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

    Celebrated 100 years of business.

  2. 1996

    Mass production of a powdered dialysate for overseas markets began.

  3. 1997

    The first powdered dialysate production facility was completed.
    Full-scale production began.

  4. 2000

    Launched sales of powdered dialysate KIDOLIME T-30.

  5. 2002

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

  6. 2008

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

  1. 2011

    Opened a representative office in New Jersey, USA.
    Completion of a manufacturing plant dedicated to the production of FLORITE®.

  2. 2012

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

  3. 2014

    A third powdered dialysate production facility was completed.

  4. 2016

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

  5. 2019

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

  6. 2021

    Quality Policy was 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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