The history of [ITOMAN] started by Masasuke Ito, the first president of ITOMAN, and founding a handmade Japanese paper business in Kinsei village in 1877. Masasuke who were with a lot of energy and had an abundant enterprising spirit, visited Kyoto where the center of the handmade Japanese paper industry through the ages. He collected many high-class Japanese paper products and brought back them to the village and started to make handmade Japanese paper by pursuing extensive studies.
High-class simili papers (pattern paper), which utilized used papers and struggled to make them, had a decent quality and were appreciated in the market back then. As a result of his efforts, the business achieved a successful outcome and became a pioneer in the handmade Japanese paper industry.
Manzaburo, the second president of ITOMAN and firstborn son of Masasuke, took over as head of the Family when he was 22 years old and in 1897. When Masasuke started the business, only five handmade Japanese paper shops were in the region, though intensification of competition became more serious by the increased trades, which were up to 200 shops in Manzaburo's generation.
As Manzaburo inherited the family business at a young age, he had little experiences of the business and endured difficult circumstances by feeding a large family. A wise old man in the village asked Manzaburo, [Why don't you close your family business once and I will help going out of business.]. However, Manzaburo gave a reply to the wise old man, [Thank you so much for your kindness. But I will make efforts for my children and grandkids.] and he piled up efforts.
Manzaburo had foresight and was eager in his studies since his youth, so he developed drawing papers, which applied sizing. Then, he consolidated the foundations of current ITOMAN by achieving successes and expanding the business by inviting experienced craftsmen in papermaking from Kochi prefecture, commercializing the alkaline paper by learning its manufacturing process, etc. The company name, [ITOMAN] is from [ITOHMAN], which was its shop name in Manzaburo's generation.
Fusaichi, the third president of ITOMAN, inherited the family business during and after the wars and troubled times. Fusaichi preserved family business with his wife and employees by working day and night to keep the family business, which Manzaburo built the foundation.
Toshiji, the fourth president of ITOMAN and second son of Fusaichi, started to help family business, which were making shoji papers (sliding-screen papers) and base papers of the carp pennant in 1956. ITOMAN at the time received Prize of Smaller Enterprise Agency's Director by high-class shoji papers (Unryu paper), though Toshiji felt a limitation in the handmade paper business and strived to convert the family business to machine-made. Toshiji started manufacturing of the [toilet paper] in 1961, as he felt that it was the time to convert [Japanese handmade papers to Western papers] while he was learning at other company. He was 27 years old then. Toshiji established Itoman Seishi by remaining handmade shoji papers, etc., which were worth 3,000,000 yen as the capital fund of company and installed first paper machine, which expensed 7,500,000 yen in total, and then launched manufacturing of the sanitary paper.
Although Itoman Seishi launched manufacturing of the sanitary paper, local wholesale dealers who had a commission of purchasing, turned down dealings with Itoman Seishi. Thus, Toshiji started to have a direct distribution with wholesale dealers in consumption areas for seeking buyers. After a period of sustained effort, he expanded sales channels to Keihanshin area, Chugoku and Shikoku region, Kyusyu region, Tokyo, and Nagoya. Itoman Seishi expanded its business field smoothly with being struggling in some small measure, since lifestyle of Japanese changed to Western style and demands of the toilet paper enlarged widely.
Selling products to wholesale dealers in consumption areas and not to local wholesale dealers. As a result, Toshiji's [distribution revolution] led rapid growth of Itoman Seishi. The company installed 6 paper machines within 12 years to meet customers' demands.
In 1973, a leading-edge factory, which equipped large machines, was completed and made rapid progress by achieving good grades of production volume and sales volume, and became a leading manufacturer of the sanitary paper in Ehime prefecture. Moreover, AIPA was established by joint capital investment from 13 sanitary paper manufacturers including us and manufacturers in Ehime prefecture, and Itoman Seishi launched manufacturing of the waste paper pulp in 1969. Establishment of AIPA realized cost reduction, quality improvement, and stable supply of manufacturers who were members of the union.
Itoman Seishi changed its company name to ITOMAN Co.,Ltd in 1980. Since then, ITOMAN produced products, which put our ideas into shapes, such as toilet paper with colors, toilet paper with fragrance, toilet paper without cardboard tube, etc., and achieved favorable growth as a manufacturer of the sanitary paper.
While sanitary paper industry, which had already become a mature market, unfurled the intensification of price competitiveness, and medium and small sanitary paper manufacturers were negatively-impacted by enhancement of production of major paper-manufacturing companies and runup of fuel oil price after 2005. Therefore, ITOMAN conspired a large shift in strategy, which focused on [Specialization to the sanitary paper for business use], when revising its management concepts, which looked ahead to the future growth, under the lead of Syunichiro Ito who assumed the fifth president of ITOMAN in 2004.
In other words, ITOMAN decided to leave the industry of the sanitary paper for individuals and households, which was the key factor of ITOMAN's growth.
Because ITOMAN left the industry, its sales dropped suddenly as the low tide, and sales of the institutional market did not increased absolutely. ITOMAN had to endure the worst financial woes after the war: however, ITOMAN established brand new manufacturing, sales, and distribution systems by concentrating its management resources on Team ITOMAN, which all employees strived as one, and corporate clients. As a result, ITOMAN had got sales recovery gradually since 2007. In 2009, ITOMAN achieved the highest past profits.
ITOMAN became one of leading companies in Western Japan for both share and sales in the field of [sanitary paper for business use], which is used in public facilities. Besides, ITOMAN has started [gift business], which was to offer our customers unique products, which put our thoughts such as feeling of the season and small ideas, into shapes since 2005. And it was characterized as the pillar of ITOMAN's business by increasing its sales by over 60% on average in every year for this 12 years. In 2014, ITOMAN established Itoman Retail Co.,Ltd, which took on business development for individuals, in Osaka. Moreover, ITOMAN has been seeking possibilities of new business such as [Medical business] and [Agriculture business] through [Future Business Promotion Society in ITOMAN] to establish a stable management foundation, which can cope with changes of the times.
[Team ITOMAN], which seeks [happiness of learning and growing] and [emotions by helping society] by putting our thoughts into shapes and challenging them. This action has been done by each employee including Syunichiro Ito, the president of ITOMAN who says: ITOMAN has a mission to ensure new employments to the local community.
ITOMAN has been challenging to achieve management concepts by having mottoes; [Recycle & Happy Life] as our business theme, and [Offering better services to our customers] and [Realization of a harmony with the environment], which are indicated in our management concepts.
We are now moving into action of revising our management concepts by looking ahead to the next years.