Two chimneys at the Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu) that are being torn down from today

As a part of its initiatives to streamline and reinforce its R&D structure, Kuraray Co., Ltd. has been restructuring the Kurashiki Plant since August 2005. In May 2007, Kuraray transferred the majority of functions at the Kurashiki Plant (the Company’s birthplace in Sakazu, Kurashiki City) to Tamashima. For the final phase of this restructuring plan, Kuraray is to announce the teardown of two chimneys—the symbol of the Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu)—and simultaneously, the opening of the "Kuraray Museum."


1. Outline of Chimney Teardown Project

(1) Object
Number of objects Two chimneys (made of ferroconcrete)
Construction Size Western chimney: 1931; Eastern chimney: 1933
Western chimney: 47.5m in height, circumference of 4.15m at the base and 2.85 m at the top
Eastern chimney: 47.5m in height, circumference of 4.70m at the base and 3.05 m at the top
Application For boiler (used for the remaining facilities even after the cessation of rayon production)
Termination of operation Western chimney: November 2007; Eastern chimney: December 1997
(2) Chimney teardown
Schedule Plan to commence teardown operations on July 14, 2008 and complete them the end of August 2008
Demolition company Fujiki Komuten Co.,Ltd.

2. Outline of Kuraray Museum

(1) Objective
  • (i) To maintain the old headquarters that has remained since the inauguration as a new "office building" together with trees in the surrounding area and make use of it as a new administration office for the headquarters and the Kuraray Museum, as well as a communication space for all the Group employees, including the Company's predecessors.
  • (ii) The Kuraray Museum is going to be established at the site of the auditorium adjoining the "office building" to preserve reference materials, videos, pictures and building models that portray Kuraray's history. Materials are going to be digitized for the purpose of providing better search and access services through a virtual museum system. There will not be many exhibits on display since the Kuraray Museum will not be open to the general public.
(2) Overview of the building
  • Steel-reinforced one-story building
  • Total site area: 229m²
  • Total floor area: 171m²

General office and chimneys of the Kurashiki Plant
(Sakazu) in the old days

Aerial photo of the Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu) in the old days


1. History of Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu)

This year, Kuraray commemorated the 82nd anniversary since its inauguration as Kurashiki Kenshoku Co. by the founder, Magosaburo Ohara, in 1926. Established in April 1928 and starting the production of rayon yarn in the following month, the Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu), the headquarters in those days, was one of Kuraray’s oldest plants.

The Commencement of Product Production at the Kurashiki Plant
1928 Rayon filament (production terminated in 1987)
1938 Rayon staple (production terminated in 1987)
1972 EVAL film (business transferred to the Okayama Plant in 1985)
1980 Dental materials (business transferred to Kuraray Medical Inc. in 2001; Currently in operations)
1981 Hollow fiber for artificial kidneys (business integrated into Asahi Kasei Kuraray Medical CO., LTD. in 2007)
1985 Contact lenses (business transferred to FACIL Co., Ltd. in 2005)
1989 Meltblown nonwoven fabrics (business transferred to the Saijo Plant in 1996)

2. Background of the Kurashiki Plant's Restructuring

Initially Kuraray had three main bases: the Kurashiki Plant (Sakazu) for development and production; the Kurashiki Research Laboratories for R&D; and the Kurashiki Plant (New Kurashiki = Tamashima). However, several conditions encompassing: (1) the growing necessity for integration of development functions amid increasingly advancing and complex technological development; (2) impossibility of responding to future environmental changes on the back of deteriorating buildings and facilities at Sakazu; and (3) difficulties in business operations in the urban development of the surrounding area. Given this, the Company decided in July 2005 to transfer its development function, production facilities and back-office sections to Tamashima, and as a part of the plan, Kuraray established the Production and Technology Development Center in Tamashima (current Kurashiki Plant) in May 2007.

3. Major Exhibits at the Kuraray Museum

  • Photographs, plant models as of 1970, model of research facility before teardown, face plats and signboards used since the foundation, all issues of in-house magazines and product samples
  • Search and access services to past in-house magazines and TV commercials through the virtual museum system
  • There are circles marked on the floor to show the actual size of the chimneys' diameters, the original pillars of the cafeteria and the ventilator system, preserved from the actual site, reminding visitors of bygone days.