1926-1950s

1926-1950s

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.

1926
Kurashiki Kenshoku Co., Ltd. established (President: Magosaburo Ohara).
1928
Commercialized rayon filament.
Began producing rayon filament at the Kurashiki Plant.
1933
Began producing rayon filament at the Niihama Plant. (In 1942, operations were halted. In 1943, they were transferred to Dai Nippon Breweries, Co. Ltd.).
Listed on the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges.
1936
Began producing rayon filament at the Saijo Plant and Okayama Plant.
1937
Commercialized rayon short staple fiber (Saijo).
1938
Rayon manufacturing capacity hit its prewar peak.
1939
President Soichiro Ohara took office.
Professor Sakurada’s research group at Kyoto Imperial University developed polyvinyl alcohol fiber. They called it Synthesis No. 1.
Groundbreaking ceremony at the Kurashiki Plant
1940
Equipment installed for test manufacturing of polyvinyl alcohol and PVA fiber (Okayama).
Chugoku Sangyo Co., Ltd. established.
1943
Capital participation in Kakuichi Rubber Co., Ltd. (now Kuraray Plastics Co., Ltd.).
Company name changed to Kurashiki Koku Kiko Co., Ltd.
With the exception of the Saijo Plant, manufactured plywood and wooden airplanes until the war’s end.
1945
Terminated military production at the end of the war.
Company name reverted back to Kurashiki Kenshoku Co., Ltd.
1948
Resumed rayon filament manufacturing (Kurashiki: halted in 1987; Saijo: halted in 1995).
1949
Resumed production of rayon-cotton (Saijo: halted in 1975).
Company name changed to Kurashiki Rayon Co., Ltd.
Named a core PVA fiber manufacturing company by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in connection with its initiative to rapidly establish a synthetic fibers and textiles industry.
Re-listed on stock exchanges when they reopened.
Rayon production at the Kurashiki Plant (soon after the Second World War)
1950
Industrialized PVA resin.
Began producing PVA at the Toyama Plant as a raw material for KURALON (halted in 1978).
Commercialized KURALON short staple fiber (Okayama).
KURALON sales exhibition
1951
Acquired Ozaki Plant through merger with Japan Spinning and Weaving (closed in 1976).
1955
Established Korenori Hoso Zairyo (now Kuraray Living Co., Ltd.) jointly with Korenori Unyu Soko Co., Ltd.
1956
Established Tamashima Rayon Co., Ltd. (absorbed into Kuraray in 1964) jointly with Chuo Fiber.
Began producing rayon filament in Tamashima (halted in 2001).
1958
Exported PVA manufacturing technology to Air Reduction Company, Inc. of the U.S.
Commercialized PVA resin.
Began producing PVA (Toyama: halted in 1978).
1959
Commercialized methacrylic resin.
Kyowa Gas Chemical Co., Ltd. began producing methacrylic resin.