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Itochu Corporation
Type Public KK
Traded as TYO: 8001
OSE: 8001
NSE: 8001
FSE: 8001
SSE: 8001
Industry Trading company
Founded 1858 (as private company)
1949 (division)
Headquarters Umeda 3-Chome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
Kita-Aoyama 2-Chome, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Key people Eizo Kobayashi (Chairman)
Masahiro Okafuji (President and CEO)
Revenue Increase ¥11,978,276 million (2011)
Net income Increase ¥300,505 million (2011)
Total equity Increase ¥1,696,141 million (2011)
Employees 62,635 (2011)
Osaka headquarters of Itochu (North Gate Building)
Tokyo headquarters of Itochu
Yanase HQ, largest retailer and importer of European and North American vehicles to Japan (Shibaura, Minato, Tokyo)
Former Osaka headquarters of Itochu (left building) in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan

Itochu Corporation (伊藤忠商事株式会社 Itōchū Shōji Kabushiki-gaisha?, known in English as C. Itoh & Co. until 1992) is a Japanese corporation based in Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka and Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo.

A descendant of a pre-war zaibatsu conglomerate, it is considered one of the five major sogo shosha (general trading companies) of Japan, and is the third-largest of the five after Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsui & Co. It has six major operational divisions specializing in textiles, metals/minerals, food, machinery, energy/chemicals and ICT/general products/real estate.[1] It is ranked 174th on 2013's list of Fortune Global 500 companies.


Initially founded as a kimono retail store in 1858 by Chubei Ito (伊藤 忠兵衛 Itō Chūbei?), C. Itoh & Co. Ltd., gradually evolved from pure buying and selling to manufacturing, supplying, exporting, and investments. In 1918, Itoh's company split in half, with one half forming what is now known as Marubeni and the other half evolving into today's Itochu. The two companies were re-combined during World War II in 1941 as the "Daiken Sangyo" conglomerate, but were again spun off from each other in December 1949 as part of GHQ efforts to dismantle the war-era zaibatsu. In its early years, Itochu was affiliated with Sumitomo Bank. It re-aligned with Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank after the war, and remains close to DKB's successor Mizuho Bank.

From the early 1970s C. Itoh & Co., was a major supplier of synthetic yarn (polyester) to India's Reliance Industries Limited.[2] Over the years, the close collaboration between both companies culminated in the co-promotion of a world-scale Polypropylene Project with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum at a total project cost of Rs. 525 Crores, at Hazira in the State of Gujarat. With a $50 million for a 15 percent stake,[2] it was at that point, the largest investment in India by a Japanese firm.[3]

C. Itoh has also marketed products—under their own label—as diverse as a line of bicycles (mostly manufactured by Bridgestone), and computer printers.

On October 1, 1992, C. Itoh & Co. Ltd. changed its name to Itochu Corporation which is a direct transliteration of its Japanese name.[3]

Itochu now ranks as one of the largest sōgō shōsha companies in Japan and among the world's largest companies. The Itochu Group with the Itochu Corporation at its center has more than 700 subsidiaries.[4]

Offices of Itochu Corporation[edit]

Itochu currently has six companies (divisions) Companies operating:

  • Textiles Company
  • Machinery Company
  • Metals & Minerals Company
  • Energy & Chemicals Company
  • Food Company
  • ICT, General Products & Realty Company

Itochu Group[edit]

  • Itochu Corporation
  • Itochu Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (see also CentGas consortium)
  • Itochu Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
  • Itochu Aviation Co., Ltd.
  • Itochu Mabis Inc.
  • Itochu Techno-Solutions Corp. (CTC)
  • Itochu Petroleum Co., Ltd

Yanase Co., Ltd.[edit]

Yanase, Inc. is a retailer of new European and North American vehicles and used cars as a member of the ITOCHU Corporation. As of the year 2002, Yanase has the rights of exclusive retailer of Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Saab, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Smart vehicles to Japanese consumers.

Yanase currently has 174 stores selling new cars in Japan and 31 stores that sell used cars under direct management. There is a related company or subsidiary organization dealing with a particular brand of imported cars, some in rural areas.

Yanase was established in Hibiya, Tokyo in 1915 initially as a truck and bus builder by Chotarō Yanase, as a part of the Mitsui Group. By 1920 the company became an importer of General Motors products, primarily Buicks and Cadillacs.[6] Yanase was born in Toyooka village (now Takasaki), Usui, Gunma, Japan December 5, 1879 and died July 11, 1956. He was a graduate of the Tokyo Commercial High School, having earlier attended Tokyo Metropolitan High School at Hibiya. After graduation from the Tokyo Commercial High School in 1904, he worked for the Mitsui OSK Shipping Lines when the company was previously known as Osaka Shipping. When Yanase began the importing company with Mitsui, he also imported petroleum mineral oil products. The mineral oil business became Yanase Shoji Co. Ltd. while the importing of automobiles became Yanase Automotible Co. Ltd, where Mr. Yanase served as president. The automobile business was in danger of going bankrupt, until the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, where his company was instrumental in importing General Motors GMC trucks to help with the disaster recovery efforts, and continued to provide vehicles as the transportation infrastructure was rebuilt.[7]

After the war, Yanase resumed importing operations, selling Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen under the direction of Yanase's son, Jiro Yanase. Jiro Yanase was born June 28, 1916 and died March 13, 2008. He was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2001, and the North American Automotive Hall of Fame in 2004 for his efforts in the Japanese auto industry.[8] He attended Keio High School and graduated from Keio University in 1939, with a degree in Economics, and soon began to work for his fathers company, with a position on the Board of Directors in 1941, CEO in 1945, and Chairman in 1985.[9]

Due to the vehicles being imported, Yanase had a reputation of selling large luxury cars, because European and North American vehicles did not comply with Japanese government regulations concerning exterior dimensions and engine displacement. Therefore vehicles imported by Yanase were taxed for their larger dimensions. A meeting with the then Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida (1946 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1954) convinced Jiro Yanase that imported cars should be sold as a luxury good, making imported vehicles more expensive than Japanese domestically produced vehicles, thereby allowing Japanese companies to sell their products that were priced lower than imported vehicles.[7] During the economic expansion period starting in the early 1970s, Yanase dealerships progressed across Japan as a retailer of imported vehicles that had a luxury reputation. In 1965, import standards were relaxed to allow the importation of left-hand drive vehicles into Japan, as Japanese vehicles made for Japan are right-hand drive.

In 1992 the European and North American companies whose products were imported by Yanase wanted to directly import vehicles to Japan. As of 2000, GM Volkswagen and Audi directly import vehicles but allow their products to be sold at Yanase dealerships. As of 2005, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and BMW reached similar agreements with Yanase.

List of vehicles currently sold in Japan[edit]

  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Smart
  • BMW (vehicles and motorcycles)
  • Volkswagen (1953 to 1992, 2005 ~ )
  • Audi (1967 to 1992, 2002 to 2007, 2007 ~ )
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Jeep
  • Dodge
  • Volvo Cars (1960 to 1974, 2006 -)

Vehicles previously sold in Japan[edit]

  • Prince (until merger of Nissan in 1966)
  • Isuzu (special arrangement to sell Isuzu Piazza PA Nero)
  • Buick
  • Pontiac
  • Saturn
  • Oldsmobile
  • Vauxhall
  • Opel
  • Hummer
  • Saab
  • Renault (1994-2001, France Motors' wholly owned subsidiary of Yanase had been imported and sold. The rights to import Renault ended with the merger of Renault and Nissan in 2001.)

Dole foods[edit]

Dole Food Company Inc. has agreed to sell its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to Itochu for $1.7 billion in cash.[10]

Electric vehicles[edit]

Itochu has partnered with Mazda and EnerDel to produce a solar-charged Mazda2.

Printer models[edit]

  • 1550
  • 8500 / 8510A (NEC 8023, ImageWriter)
  • 8600
  • F-10-40, F-10-55
  • CX-4800 (plotter)
  • Riteman F+, C+


  1. ^ "Our Business". ITOCHU. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b [Hamish] Check |authorlink= value (help) (2010). Ambani & Sons. Australia: Lotus-Roli. pp. 59, 102. ISBN 978-8174368140. 
  3. ^ a b "Annexure to Director's Report". Reliance Industries Ltd., Annual Report 1991-92 (RIL). 1992. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  4. ^ "The ITOCHU Group". Itochu Group. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ "ITOCHU Announces the Relocation of its Osaka Headquarters". ITOCHU Corporation. August 15, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Yanase opened Japan to Western cars, Automotive News, March 31, 2008
  8. ^
  9. ^ AGN ヤナセ、梁瀬次郎会長が「米国自動車殿堂」入り
  10. ^ "Japan's Itochu to buy Dole Food businesses for $1.7 billion". Reuters. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Japanese Wikipedia.

External links[edit]