Tokyo – The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 13. We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks and deepest gratitude to our customers and all the company’s stakeholders for your support of the company’s development over these many years.
Yokohama Rubber started out in the eponymous city near Tokyo on October 13, 1917. Our history is a tale of overcoming challenges and adversity. We lost our production lines in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and again in the bombing of World War II but rebuilt them anew each time and went on to achieve renewed growth. Similarly, our resilience carried us through the financial panic of 1965, the bursting of Japan’s economic bubble at the outset of the 1990s, and the fallout from the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Since our foundation, we have continuously and diligently pursued the development of new technologies, building upon the work of our predecessors to bring to our customers a constant stream of pioneering products that set new standards. As a result, our business has expanded and today Yokohama Rubber is a global corporation with 25,000 employees around the world.
The pioneering products developed during our first 100 years include Japan’s first corded tire, the “Hama Town Cord” (1921) and its first snow tire, the “Y-29” (1954), as well as the G.T. Special” (1967), which contributed to the popularity of radial tires in Japan. We have also pioneered new tire genres, with our sport radial tire “ADVAN HF” (1978) and our eco-friendly “DNA” series (1998). Yokohama Rubber was also one of the first tire makers to adopt a brand strategy (1978-1980) that divided its product lineup into categories based on the tires’ special features. Our non-tire businesses also have displayed YOKOHAMA’s pioneering spirit, introducing many innovative products and industry firsts, including the world’s first large pneumatic fenders (1958), used to protect ships during ship-to-ship and dockside operations; the first building sealant (1975) to receive Japan’s highest rating for durability (JIS A5757); and the PRGR (Pro Gear) golf equipment brand (1983), which brought new scientific approaches, such as head-speed theory, to golf club design.
As Yokohama Rubber enters its second century, we are dedicated to further refining the advanced product development capabilities and world-class technical capabilities that have been developed over the Company’s first 100 years. Firmly instilled with the pioneering spirit of our founders, we look forward to meeting future challenges and further growing the Company over the next 100 years.