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Our Story

The history of Kuriyama goes back to 1939 and founder Yoshio Kuriyama's establishment of the Kuriyama Rubber Company as a wholesale commercial rubber products trading company. From its inception, Kuriyama has handled a diverse range of commercial rubber products and, soon after World War II, began expanding overseas, all with an eye to keeping up with the ever-changing needs of customers. This overseas expansion was the impetus not only for the establishment of Kuriyama's ongoing North America business operations, but also for Kuriyama's commitment to looking worldwide for the best products. In the years since, Kuriyama has developed its successful, longstanding industrial materials business and construction materials and sports facilities materials business, which include construction and installation.No matter the endeavor, however, the spirit of the founder lives on in Kuriyama's dedication to business which meets customer needs and management which ceaseless strives for growth based on customer trust.

Starting with Rubber and One Man's Passion

1939Kuriyama's foundations are laid

Yoshio Kuriyama was a valuable employee in the Dannoura Rubber Company and highly trusted by the company's manufacturing clients. In 1939, at the age of 31, his passion for exploring unknown markets led him to set up shop for himself in the Nishi Ward of Osaka City, calling his new company the "Kuriyama Rubber Company."

〈Business Policy〉

The general way of doing business at the time was to procure directly from the rubber manufacturing plants; however, no plant was capable of manufacturing innumerable amounts of commercial rubber tailored to the customer's specific usage needs. Yoshio Kuriyama's believed that "success is rooted in gaining faith and trust," and towards that end made it a core tenet of his trading business that, as a trader, his essential significance and responsibility derived from ensuring that manufacturing plants met the customers' needs in terms of providing products suited to the intended use, according to the stated specifications and by the deadline required. Thus, he sought out numerous suppliers both in Japan and overseas. And it is this mentality that still drives Kuriyama today.

1940Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. established at the height of World War II

Materials were scarce during World War II, and the government has strict restrictions in place making it extremely hard for anyone other than the military to acquire human and material resources. It was in this harsh climate that Yoshio, in order to survive as a trader, established Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. To ensure that his company would win the respect and trust of the public and his suppliers, he worked in advance to secure the approval of the suppliers and others around him and put in place a strong corporate structure capable of responding to severe restrictions.

Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. survives the war

At the time, because of the government's restrictions on procurement of commercial rubber products, it was not enough to simply send an order to a manufacturer or trading company. Thus, providing products and parts to customers' and suppliers' manufacturing plants required directly visiting these plants and engaging in other time, labor and money-consuming tasks. Even under such conditions, Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. stuck to its business policy of being responsive to its customers' needs, going so far as to establish field offices in Kyushu and Hiroshima to facilitate direct meetings with far away customers in target markets. These and other practices allowed Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. to not only survive but thrive during the harsh wartime conditions.Yoshio himself was later drafted for the war, and the headquarters and warehouse Kuriyama Rubber Co., Ltd. were burned to the ground. Nevertheless, the employees worked together to keep the business running and, after Yoshio returned and with the help of a close client, the company's headquarters were successfully relocated and rebuilt.

Spreading Our Wings Worldwide

1948Venturing overseas – Beginning to export -

Domestic demand was not enough to reliably drive market growth, so Kuriyama began export sales of products to various industries in America. Employees were dispatched to America to help facilitate exports of baby pants, canvas shoes and rubber boots. Kuriyama worked with their customers' local representatives to cultivate the commercial rubber products market and, in 1968, established Kuriyama of America, Inc. in Chicago. From that point, Kuriyama began export sales of domestic hoses.

1978North American base of operations established – Transitioning from exporting domestic rubber products to localized overseas production -

Initially, Kuriyama sold and exported hoses manufactured in Japan; however, in 1978 Kuriyama and Tigers Polymer established Tigerflex Corporation as a joint venture to begin localized manufacture and sale of hoses.Kuriyama's North American business continued to grow with the establishment in 1984 of a local subsidiary in Canada as well as with other, subsequent acquisitions. The business successfully grew to the point where Kuriyama became the go to company for hoses. This was the start of the expansion of Kuriyama's North America Group.

To the Ends of the Earth in Search of Resources and Products to Bring Success

Developing domestic business – Kuriyama's first branded product: Semtex -
  • 1957Sales and application agreement concluded with British company Dunlop for "Semtex" ship deck coating material
  • 1973Exclusive importation and sales agreement concluded for hose bands with ABA Bolagen

At the same time that Kuriyama was developing its exportation business in North America, it was laying the foundations in Japan for its industrial materials business, which develops and provides rubber products tailored to the needs of customers.During the period of rapid economic growth that followed World War II, Japan's focus shifted from agriculture, textiles and other light industry to steel, shipbuilding and other heavy and chemicals industry, and orders for Japanese export ships surpassed domestic demand, resulting in an extremely busy period in the shipbuilding industry known as the "first export ship boom." Kuriyama's primary emphasis was on developing its heavy and chemicals industry product business, thus it established a sales office in Hiroshima in 1955 and then a sales office in Nagasaki in 1956, where the shipbuilding industry was experiencing remarkable growth. In order to increase business, Kuriyama began developing products aimed at ship hulls and decks. After surveying the market, Kuriyama entered into negotiations with representatives of the deck covering material manufactured by British company Dunlop, and in 1957 a sales and application agreement was reached concluded for the ship deck coating material "Semtex." This was Kuriyama's first branded product, and it became a core product of shipping departments, who were supported by Japanese shipbuilding companies.
Further, in 1973, Kuriyama concluded an exclusive importation and sales agreement for hose bands with Swedish company ABA Bolagen (Present: NORMA Group), thereby expanding Kuriyama's customer base among a wide range of industries and sectors.
A ship hull and deck coated with SemtexThe Oceanic Grace is another ship which uses Semtex

From heavy and chemicals industries to building safe and comfortable urban environments
  • 1971Exclusive Japanese distribution rights acquired for synthetic turf developed by a major American carpet manufacturer
  • 1974Sales agreement for plastic cork concluded with Swedish company WicandersSales of Japan's first imported cork floor tiles begun

Semtex represented the start of an expansion in Kuriyama's business built upon finding superior products around the world to import into Japan. In 1974, Kuriyama began selling and installing cork floor tiles which it imported from a company in Sweden.Kuriyama was already handling construction sector rubber materials by that point, including joints used at road construction and civil engineering sites, rubber shoes and fenders for the PC stringer boards used at harbors, and the rubber platform edge tiles used for railways; however, it now also made a priority of finding products and materials that could be used under its own brand.
FendersPlatform edge tilesRoadway jointsCork tiles

Innovating the Japanese gymnasium industry through the importation of sports facility flooring
  • 1981Domestic distribution agreement concluded with French company BAT (Present:Gerflor) for Taraflex long, elastic gymnasium flooring
  • 1982Domestic distribution agreement concluded with Italian company Mondo for Super X all-weather athletic field track paving

The introduction of Taraflex, which stood in contrast to the woody flooring popular in Japanese gymnasiums, and Super X, with its rubber characteristics and distinctive shape, drew attention to the largely-ignored importance of balancing competitiveness with safety and had a revolutionary impact on the domestic market.