Kuraray was founded in 1926 as Kurashiki Kenshoku Co., Ltd. in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture for the purpose of commercializing synthetic rayon.
In the 1950s, Kuraray became the first company in the world to commercialize polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fiber, under the name KURALON™. Synthetic fibers replaced arboreous cotton in student uniforms within a generation.
Kuraray used outside technology to commercialize polyester, and independently developed and marketed man-made leather CLARINO™. In addition, Kuraray was the first Japanese company to export PVA fiber plants to China, before the normalization of diplomatic ties.
Kuraray commercialized the world’s first synthetic isoprene chemical products and established a series of new businesses in the 1970s. These included the gas barrier resin EVAL™, medical businesses such as contact lens, artificial organs and dental materials, as well as a nonwoven fabric business (through a joint venture with an overseas company).
Kuraray established a joint venture in the U.S. to manufacture and market EVAL™ to support overseas business development, and also began producing opto-screens.
Kuraray commercialized thermoplastic elastomer SEPTON™, new PVA fiber KURALON K-II™ and heat-resistant polyamide resin GENESTAR™. Kuraray also established EVAL™ and PVA resin manufacturing facilities in Belgium and Singapore, respectively.
Kuraray accelerated overseas business development by acquiring a PVA-related business portfolio in Germany and starting SEPTON™ production in the U.S.
Used M&A and alliances to become a specialty chemical company with a global presence.
The Story of the Birth of New Products
Kuraray has a variety of number one and one and only one products. Our commitment to creativity and unique technical capabilities has been essential for developing these products.
The Story of the Birth of New Products presents episodes with themes including Kuraray’s new business development mindset and the trials the company experienced in its early years.