Toray Industries

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Toray Industries, Inc.
Native name 東レ株式会社
Romanized name Tōre Kabushiki-gaisha
Type Public (K.K.)
Traded as TYO: 3402
Headquarters Chūō, Tokyo, Japan
Employees 42,584 (2013)
Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, headquarters of Toray, in Chūō, Tokyo.
Nakanoshima Mitsui Building, Osaka head office of Toray, in Kita-ku, Osaka.

Toray Industries, Inc. (東レ株式会社 Tōre Kabushiki-gaisha?) (TYO: 3402) is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan that specializes in industrial products centered around technologies in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry. Its founding business areas were fibers and textiles, as well as plastics and chemicals. The company has also diversified into areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical products, reverse osmosis bigmembranes, electronics, IT-products, housing and engineering, as well as advanced composite materials.


Toray Industries had been originally established as Toyo Rayon in 1926 by Mitsui Busan, one of the two largest Japanese trading companies (sogo shosha) of the time (the other being Mitsubishi Shoji). The fact that Mitsui did not allow the company to be named as a Mitsui company indicates their skepticism of the risk on the business. Risk arose from the fact that, when it was established, the company did not have the right technology to produce Rayon. It had approached Courtaulds and then Du Pont to buy the technology but, because the price was too high, it decided to buy equipment from a German engineering company and hire about twenty foreign engineers to start the operation.[1]

When Nylon was invented in 1935 by Wallace Carothers of DuPont, Toray immediately got hold of a sample product through the New York branch of Mitsui Busan, and started research by dissolving this sample in sulfuric acid. Because of the patent protection, the company had to make its own effort to synthesize polyamide and make fibre out of it. In 1941, just three years after Du Pont's announcement of nylon, Toray completed the basic research on nylon and started building a small plant to produce Nylon 6. The operation started in 1943 and the product was sold, mainly to make fishing nets. In 1946, following the end of World War II, Du Pont requested an investigation by GHQ (the General Headquarters of Allied Powers) of Toray's infringement of Du Pont's nylon patents but GHQ found no evidence of infringement, certifying that Toray's nylon technology was its own.[1]

Toray is currently the world's largest producer of carbon fiber, and Japan's largest producer of synthetic fiber.[2] Its carbon fiber is extensively used in exterior components of the Boeing 787 airliner.[3]


In 2013, Toray acquired an approximately 13% stake in Spectral Diagnostics, a Canadian pharmaceutical company focused on sepsis.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Odagiri, Hiroyuki (1996). Technology and Industrial Development in Japan. Clarendon Press, Oxford. pp. 88, 127–128. ISBN 0-19-828802-6. 
  2. ^ Reuters |url= missing title (help). [dead link]
  3. ^ Suga, Masumi (20 November 2007). "Boeing, Toray in Talks to Expand $6 Billion 787 Deal (Update5)". Bloomberg L.P. 
  4. ^ "Toray takes $5M Stake in Spectral Diagnostics". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (paper). 1 April 2013. p. 12. 

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