Origins of Mitsui:
The history of Mitsui began with Takatoshi Mitsui, a merchant who revolutionized Japanese business methods during the 17 th century. In 1673, Mitsui traveled to Edo (now Tokyo) and opened a department store called Echigoya. As he ran his business, Mitsui put every customer’s needs first, introducing a number of new methods such as cash sales and ready made products. He was also the first to attach price tags to items. Word of Echigoya spread across Japan as people gravitated toward the store that catered to the customer. Mitsui also understood the value of marketing his business. He created promotional fliers and purchased umbrellas printed with the store’s name for customers to use when it rained. Mitsui’s customer-focused strategies, along with his efforts to boost employee satisfaction, laid the foundation for Mitsui’s subsequent success and prosperity.
Origins of Sumitomo:
The history of Sumitomo can be traced to the 17th century when Masatomo Sumitomo opened a book and medicine shop in Kyoto. Sumitomo expanded his business to include copper and other trading, banking and more. Sumitomo’s brother- in-law, Riemon Soga, ran a copper refinery and invented a technique called “Nanbanbuki,” which involved separating silver from crude copper. This technique allowed Japan to preserve silver, a valuable treasure at the time. In 1690, Sumitomo discovered Besshi Copper Mine in Ehime Prefecture. The new mine contributed significantly to Japan’s economic development and prosperity. Despite the mine’s success, Sumitomo worked diligently to mitigate the impact of copper production on the environment. His company initiated a program to plant more than one million trees and relocate copper refineries. Before his death, Sumitomo passed down a set of precepts, outlining his principles for doing business. He encouraged his successors to place integrity before profit and to conduct business in a way that would benefit the public. Sumitomo’s high regard for the greater good became a signature for Sumitomo business—a standard that still exists today.
1955: Launched first representative office in NY.
1957: Launched U.S. branch status and started marine insurance business.
1974: Launched Taisho Management Corporation and started non-marine business.
1988: Launched Taisho Marine and Fire Insurance Company of America.
1994: Obtained licenses from all 50 states.
2001: Launched Mitsui Marine Management (U.S.A.) Inc.
1957: Launched first representative office in NY.
1971: Obtained U.S. branch status and started marine insurance business.
1976: Started non-marine business.
1987: Launched Sumitomo Marine Management (U.S.A) Inc.
1993: Obtained licenses from 50 states.
2001: Launched Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance Company of America.
2001: Mitsui and Sumitomo merged and became Mitsui Sumitomo Marine Management (U.S.A.) Inc.