Kongō Gumi

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Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi
Native name 株式会社金剛組
Romanized name Kongō Gumi
Type Kabushiki Gaisha
Industry Construction
Fate Acquired
Founded 578 (578)
Headquarters Osaka, Japan
Parent Takamatsu Corporation

Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. (株式会社金剛組 Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi?) is a Japanese construction company which was the world's oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it was absorbed as a subsidiary of another larger construction company. Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned construction company traced its origins to 578 when one of the skilled immigrants, whom Prince Shōtoku brought from Baekje to Japan to build the Buddhist temple Shitennō-ji, decided to start his own business. Over the centuries, Kongō Gumi participated in the construction of many famous buildings, including the 16th century Osaka Castle.

A three meter 17th-century scroll traces the 40 generations back to the company's start. As with many distinguished Japanese families, sons-in-law often joined the clan and took the Kongō family name. Thus, through the years, the line has continued through either a son or a daughter.

The company fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006.[1] Its assets were purchased by Takamatsu Corporation.[2][3] Before its liquidation, it had over 100 employees and annual revenue of ¥7.5 billion ($70 million) in 2005; it still specialized in building Buddhist temples. The last president was Masakazu Kongō, the 40th Kongō to lead the firm. As of December 2006, Kongō Gumi continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Takamatsu.

Several Kongō Gumi workers, early 20th century.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The End of a 1,400-Year-Old Business". Businessweek. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  2. ^ (Japanese) Announcement of business transfer from Kongō Gumi Takamatsu Corporation IR Topics, 14 December 2005.
  3. ^ "End of the Road for World's Oldest Firm" Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition), 15 December 2005.

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