KOKUYO's Historical Episode
Company Name and Trademark
The founding spirit instilled in the rising sun and cherry blossom trademark
KOKUYO's original name for the shop at the time of its foundation in 1905 was "Kuroda Hyōshiten". The company's trademark was the "○善" ("maruzen" – a circle with "Zen" taken from Zentarō Kuroda). It symbolized the company's commitment to take absolute responsibility for its own products. The shop name was later changed to "KURODA KOKKODO" in 1914, and trademark was changed to "KOKUYO" in 1917 (*1). KOKU (country or homeland) represented Zentarō Kuroda's hometown of Etchū Toyama (today's Toyama Prefecture). The KOKUYO trademark was adopted to remind Kuroda of the initial resolution he made to become "the honor (YO, the Chinese character which can also be read as "Homare", meaning "honor") of his hometown" when he was seen off by his family and acquaintances as he left his hometown at the age of 19. The trademark's design was a rising sun and cherry blossoms (*2) arranged around the Chinese characters for KOKUYO to symbolize the pride of Kuroda not only his hometown but also the nation of Japan. Entering the Shōwa Period in 1925, the Chinese characters were replaced by katakana letters, but the basic design remained the same (*3). In 1961, the company name was changed from KURODA KOKKODO K.K. to KOKUYO Co., Ltd., and for the first time, the company name and trademark matched.
[Early eras] At first, the Chinese characters for KOKUYO were written from the right, but soon changed to be written from the left, and the Chinese characters were eventually replaced by katakana letters in line with the simplification of the Japanese language.
The evolution of the KOKUYO mark with the times
[The eras of rapid increase in product varieties] Since the mid-1960s when the variety of products increased drastically, the traditional mark with the rising sun and cherry blossoms has been used on paper products, a mark with an arranged design of KOKUYO's K has been used on stationery products, a mark with a dachshund has been used on paper products that carry designs, an arrow mark has been used on computer supplies, and a barrel-shape mark has been used on steel products.
As the business categories expanded from paper products to stationery and further to furniture from the mid-1960s and the number of products produced increased drastically, various marks have been created by each division. However, since they were created by the divisions individually, their designs lacked a sense of unity. In response to this, KOKUYO decided to introduce the CI (corporate identity) system in 1980, and spent over a year creating a company name logo, a symbol mark, and corporate colour among others, with the entire company beginning to adopt these simultaneously (*4) in 1981. With the rapid growth of KOKUYO, the new logo and symbol mark became widely recognized throughout Japan. Moreover, in 2005, the year that marked the centennial anniversary of KOKUYO's founding, KOKUYO chose to make that year the company's "second foundation", announced its strategy for the future of the Group, and completely renewed the logo and symbol mark. Their new designs expressed "dynamism" and "bonding."
[After introducing the CI system] Logos used from
1981 to 2005.
[Present logo] Renewed along with KOKUYO's centennial
anniversary in October, 2005.
(*1) The initial plan was to use "Kokkō" as both the trademark and the shop name, but as that name had already been registered by another company, there were periods where the trademarks "Kokuin" and "Kōin" were used.
(*2) From a tanka (thirty-one syllabled verse) by Norinaga Moto'ori, famous for representing japanese spirit; "Speaking about our "shikishima" spirit, one can feel the fragrance of wild cherry blossom in the morning sun".
(*3) The configuration of seven sun beams above and five sun beams below with three cherry blossoms on both sides was adopted to bring good luck from the traditional Japanese Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three) celebration.
(*4) The "rising sun and cherry" mark instilled with the founding spirit and the 76-year history of KOKUYO has been made the company's permanent badge used in our traditional events and celebrations.