Corporate History

DNP’s century-plus history of taking up new challenges is also a history of contribution to the development of emergently evolving society

Shueisha, the predecessor of DNP, was founded on Oct. 9, 1876, shortly after the beginning of the "cultural awakening” that accompanied Japan's Meiji Restoration.
Teiichi Sakuma and three partners began the company based on their keen awareness of the need to spread knowledge and culture by means of printing. They started by printing newspapers aimed at spreading Buddhist and Shinto teachings, as well as ordinary daily newspapers.
Shueisha also printed a revised edition of “Self-Help” -- the first book manufactured completely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding -- an advance that was made possible by the development of heavy paper. The book lifted the spirits of the Japanese people as they battled the confusion of a new era, and became a best seller. Further developments in printing technology then gave rise to a boom in the launching of new magazines.
Shueisha grew larger primarily through printing books and magazines, and merged with Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. to form Dainippon Printing Co., Ltd.

*1 Company headquarters around 1887
*1 Company headquarters around 1887

*2 “Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles: first book made entirely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding
*2 “Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles: first book made entirely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding

*3 Fonts cast by Shueisha, with pin marks
*3 Fonts cast by Shueisha, with pin marks

*4 First Plant in Ichigaya, around 1887
*4 First Plant in Ichigaya, around 1887

*5 Inaugural issue of “King” magazine, published by the Greater Japan Oratorical Society (the predecessor of Kodansha Ltd.)
*5 Inaugural issue of “King” magazine, published by the Greater Japan Oratorical Society
(the predecessor of Kodansha Ltd.)

1876Founding of Shueisha, the predecessor of Dainippon Printing, at 2 Ginza 4-chome, in Tokyo *1
1877Printing of revised edition of “Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles (translated into Japanese by Masanao Nakamura), the first book printed in Japan using Western-style bookbinding *2
1882Began casting and selling printing type *3
1886Built First Plant, in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district *4
1898Entered the field of certificate printing, with the printing of temporary certificates representing construction bonds issued by the Osaka Municipal Chikko Office
1910Near completion of DNP’s original Shueitai font
1916Began offset printing
1923Moved the head office to Tokyo’s Ichigaya district after the original one (in the Ginza district) was burnt in the Great Kanto Earthquake
1925Received order to print 740,000 copies of the inaugural edition of Kodansha’s “King,” a general-interest magazine published by Kodansha, which became a top seller *5
1935Changed company name to Dainippon Printing Co., Ltd. following merger with Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd.
1944Launched the Technical Research Laboratory, the forerunner of today's Research and Development Center
 

2. Rebuilding and Expanding into a New Era: (1945 - 1962)

 

Tokyo was devastated by fire in World War II, but the Ichigaya district where DNP’s First Plant was located narrowly escaped damage.
With the end of the war, a new era once again demanded that information be conveyed by means of the printed word. Publishing companies began issuing weekly magazines, which only newspaper companies had been equipped to print in the past. DNP beefed up the facilities at its Ichgaya plant in order to support this trend and allow publishing companies to issue magazines.
Also during this period, DNP came out with its “Five-year Reconstruction Plan.” The company entered the fields of paper containers, flexible packaging, building materials, business forms and electronics, in addition to its main business of printing, and soared to the top of the printing industry.

*6 New Bank of Japan 100-yen note
*6 New Bank of Japan 100-yen note

*7 Checking print quality on paper cartons
*7 Checking print quality on paper cartons

*8 Inaugural issue of Shukan Shincho, the first magazine published by Shinchosha
*8 Inaugural issue of Shukan Shincho, the first magazine published by Shinchosha

*9 Successful production of prototype shadowmasks for making color televisions
*9 Successful production of prototype shadowmasks for making color televisions

1945Began printing “Time,” a weekly magazine published by Time-Life International Ltd.
1946Began printing new Bank of Japan notes after being designated to do so by Japanese Ministry of Finance *6
1949Listed shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange
Enokicho Plant switched to printing securities certificates after it stopped printing paper money
1950Established paper container plant in Kyoto and entered the paper containers field
1951Announced five-year reconstruction plan aimed at rebuilding the company, which had been exhausted by labor disputes
Osaki Plant reopened after being dedicated to the production of paper containers *7
Begin specialized printing on materials such as vinyl, cellophane, and cloth; entered the flexible packaging field
1952Received orders to produce boxes for Hikari and Peace brand cigarettes
Succeeded in printing decorative laminate for melamine boards; entered the decorative materials field
1955Used DNP’s original Shueitai font to print the first edition of “Kojien,” Japan's most authoritative dictionary
Installed two-color form rotary rubber letterpress at Enokicho Plant; entered the business forms field
1956Printed the inaugural edition of “Shukan Shincho,” the first weekly magazine issued by a publishing company *8
1957Opened the Oji Plant, specializing in flexible packaging
1958Succeeded in producing prototypes of shadowmasks for color televisions and entered the electronics field *9
Printed bags for Nisshin Foods’ chicken ramen noodles
1959Established Dai Nippon Photomechanical Engineering Co., Ltd. (now DNP”s Kamifukuoka Plant)
Became the leader of the Japanese printing industry in terms of sales and profits
Succeeded in producing prototypes of photomasks for semiconductor production
1961Succeeded in printing directly onto copper plate for the first time in Japan
 

3. Rapid Progress amid Dramatic Economic Change (1963 - 1979)

 

In 1963, DNP introduced a new structure whereby business and manufacturing units that addressed the same product field began to work together as distinct business divisions, with corporate directors assigned responsibility for managing specific divisions. This gave DNP a management system that could successfully steer the wide variety of businesses in which the company engaged. DNP was able to overcome the effects of the oil crisis of 1973, which acted like a sudden brake on Japan’s rapidly growing economy, because it had been quick to foresee the advent of the information era and had improved production efficiency by introducing computerized typesetting, and because the company had taken steps to improve its management practices. Also during this period, DNP actively expanded overseas.
DNP worked at creating a corporate structure that made the most of all of its capacities -- sales, technology, and planning -- in order to ride out this period of slow growth.

*10 CDC Operations photo studio
*10 CDC Operations photo studio

*11 Editing equipment in the early days of computerized typesetting
*11 Editing equipment in the early days of computerized typesetting

*12 Paper cup production line
*12 Paper cup production line

*13 Maple pattern printed by Using Curlfit technology
*13 Maple pattern printed by Using Curlfit technology

1963Established Hokkaido Beverages Co., Ltd. (currently Hokkaido Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Ltd.)
Established Sagami Yoki Co., Ltd. to manufacture metal tubes for Lion brand toothpaste
1964Opened Hong Kong representative office
Began manufacturing 16-pin lead frames that transmit electronic signals and support semiconductors chips.
1965Developed gravure technique for printing on cloth
1968Finished construction of Yokohama Plant, specializing in paper containers
Established Creative Design Center to strengthen design and planning functions (renamed “CDC Operations” in 1970) *10
Established New York representative office
1969Established representative offices in Sydney and Frankfurt
1970Established Dai Nippon Printing (Europa) GmbH in Dusseldorf
1972Established Dai Nippon Gitakarya (now P.T. Dai Nippon Printing Indonesia) in Indonesia.
Established CTS Dai Nippon and commercialized computerized typesetting in Japan. *11
Completed construction of Warabi Plant in Saitama Prefecture, specializing in business forms
1973Established Sayama Plant, specializing in paper cups *12
Established Tsuruse Plant, specializing in printing of decorative materials
Established Nara Plant, specializing in business forms
Became the world’s largest comprehensive printing company
Established framework for mass production of magnetic plastic cards
1974Established DNP (America) Inc.
Introduced “Curlfit” technology for printing on curved surfaces
1975Established Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (now called “Manufacturing Technology Integration Laboratory”)
1976Established DNP (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
Developed technology for aseptically filling single-portion packages of Snow Brand Milk Products Co. Ltd.’s coffee whitener
1978Developed large, three-dimensional holograms
 

4. Taking on the future (1979 - 1988)

 

Yoshitoshi Kitajima became president in 1979 and faced a harsh economic environment in the aftermath of the second oil crisis. Right after he assumed the presidency, Mr. Kitajima announced to all DNP employees his intention to implement three key management policies: 1) Improve management efficiency, 2) Bolster communication, and 3) Devise and promote a medium-term business plan. He asked DNP's workers to all pull together in order to overcome the difficult period.
In 1981, DNP set about strengthening the company under the motto “Take on the future.” The goal of 1 trillion yen in net sales that was set at that time was achieved in the fiscal term ended March 1991. This period represented yet another step forward, from comprehensive printing company to information processing company.

*14 Thermal transfer ink ribbons used in word processors and facsimile machines
*14 Thermal transfer ink ribbons used in word processors and facsimile machines

*15 Carrier tape for transporting precision electronic components
*15 Carrier tape for transporting precision electronic components

*16 Re-writeable smart card
*16 Re-writeable smart card

*17 CD-ROM version of the Trilingual Dictionary of Science and Engineering
*17 CD-ROM version of the Trilingual Dictionary of Science and Engineering

*18 Transparent hologram
*18 Transparent hologram

*19 Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg), after renovation in 1991
*19 Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg), after renovation in 1991

1979Yoshitoshi Kitajima became president and announced new management policies.
1980Established our Packaging Laboratory, Business Forms Laboratory, and Decorative Materials Laboratory
1981Began development of fusion-type thermal transfer ribbons *14
1982Became the first printing company to exhibit at DRUPA ‘82, Dusseldorf’s comprehensive international printing equipment trade fair
Established Electronic Components Laboratory and Image Processing Technology Laboratory
Developed carrier tape for storing and transporting precision electronic components; entered the “Industrial Supplies” field *15
1983Developed “Thermoject” technology for simultaneous injection molding and printing
Completed construction of Kuki Plant in Saitama Prefecture, for printing of publications
Developed re-writable smart cards *16
Produced the third edition of Kojien dictionary using computerized typesetting, for illustrations as well as for text
1984Equipped Kuki Plant with facilities for making fine-pitch shadow masks
Developed large-size projection screens for high-definition televisions
Succeeded at mass production of holograms using thermal transfer printing technology
1985Developed read-only optical cards with large memory capacities
Produced the world’s first dictionary on CD-ROM: the Trilingual Dictionary of Science and Engineering *17
Completed construction of our Central Research Institute’s Kashiwa Laboratory
Developed production technology for color filters used in LCDs
1986Developed transparent holograms *18
Opened Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg) in Tokyo's Ginza district (the gallery was renovated in 1991) *19
1987Developed technology for direct printing of high-definition images
 

5. Playing an Important Role in the Advancement of Information Society (1989 - 2000)

 

For Japan, 1989 marked the end of the turbulent Showa Era, the reign of Emperor Hirohito. From the beginning of the Heisei Era that followed it, a string of new information technologies were introduced, including satellite communications, high-definition television, and widespread use of the Internet. In an address at the 1991 Comprint International Conference, DNP President Kitajima noted that although DNP has been refining its technologies for expressing and processing information in the form of printed media recent changes in information communication were among the factors behind the reshaping of world markets.
DNP was quick to computerize its operations. Positioning ourselves as an "information communication provider,” we quickly developed technologies for handling a variety of new types of media, including electronic books, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and high-definition systems. The company also built a framework for acquiring expertise in these areas.

*20 High-definition Gallery system at the Museum of Fine Arts in Gifu Prefecture
*20 High-definition Gallery system at the Museum of Fine Arts in Gifu Prefecture

*21 Home page of DNP’s first web site
*21 Home page of DNP’s first web site

*22 Center for Contemporary Graphic Art (CCGA)
*22 Center for Contemporary Graphic Art (CCGA)

*23 Reforestation venture in Vietnam
*23 Reforestation venture in Vietnam

*24 DNP’s ACCUWAVE R IC tag
*24 DNP’s ACCUWAVE ® IC tag

*25 Build-up wiring board
*25 Build-up wiring board

*26 Server racks at Internet Data Center
*26 Server racks at Internet Data Center

1989Delivered first version of DNP’s “High-definition Gallery” image display system to Gifu Prefecture’s Museum of Fine Arts *20
Established DNP Denmark A/S to manufacture and sell rear projection TV screens
Established Information Media Supplies Operations to manufacture functional supplies related to bar codes, ink ribbons, and ID photographs
1990Acquired controlling share of Singapore's Tien Wah Press (Pte.) Ltd.
Established DNP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
1991Completed construction of Ono Plant in Hyogo Prefecture, for publications and commercial printing
Established Dai Nippon Printing Co. (UK) Ltd. in London
Completed construction of Information Media Supplies Operations' Okayama Plant
Opened "ddd gallery" in Dojima, Osaka
1992Instituted “DNP Group Corporate Pledge”
1993Completed construction of Mihara Plant for manufacture of shadowmasks and rear projection TV screens
1994Completed Otone Plant in Saitama Prefecture, specializing in LCD color filters
Launched DNP web site *21
1995Established Center for Contemporary Graphic Art (CCGA) in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture *22
Started operating Concord Plant in the US, specializing in information media supplies
Invested in Vietnam reforestation joint venture with Oji Paper Co., Ltd. and Sojitz Corp. *23
Launched "Media Galaxy," a comprehensive/ full-service website design, hosting, and management service
Completed Tanabe Plant in Kyoto Prefecture, specializing in paper cartons for liquids
1996Established C&I (Communication and Information) Operations to propose and develop information media-related solutions
Developed new technology for manufacturing electrodes for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
Started up production base for flexibie packaging materials at Izumizaki Plant in Fukushima Prefecture
1998Opened RMN (Reunion des Musées Nationaux or French national art museums association) Image Archive
Completed construction of DNP Graphica Co., Ltd. in Tochigi Prefecture, specializing in general and commercial printing
Established Dai Nippon Printing (Taiwan) Co., Ltd. (now DNP Taiwan Co., Ltd.) to sell electronic components
1999Began operating DNP Data Techno Co., Ltd.’s Ushiku Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, specializing in plastic cards
Reorganized Micro Products Operations and established Display Components Operations and Semiconductor Components Operations
Completed Information Media Supplies Operations’ Okayama Plant for manufacturing thermal transfer ribbons used in fax machines
Launched IC tag project and began developing IC tags *24
Developed ultra-high density multi-layered substrates for use in BGA/MCM semiconductor packages; entered the build-up wiring board business *25
2000Established DT Fine Electronics Co., Ltd. as a joint venture with Toshiba Corp. (with DNP investing 65%)
Established IPS (Information Processing Solutions) Operations, entailing information processing and manufacturing related to smart cards and invoices
Established Internet Data Center *26
Established Dai Nippon Printing (Korea) Co., Ltd. to sell electronic components
 

In 2001, we unveiled the “DNP Group’s 21st Century Vision,” which cited contribution to emergently evolving society as our management concept. We aim to contribute to the development of emergently evolving society through our business vision, which we call “P&I solutions." In other words, our goal is to combine printing and information technologies with the knowledge, experience, and expertise that we have accumulated over the years in order to offer appropriate solutions to problems faced by corporate clients and consumers.
In 2006, we completed construction of the DNP Gotanda Building as a base for promoting our solutions business. In addition, we have actively promoted mergers and acquisitions in order to accelerate growth in our existing businesses. As of March 2009, DNP Group employees numbered over 40,000 worldwide.

*27 Flexible organic EL
*27 Flexible organic EL

*28 Public announcement of the DNP Group Vision for the 21st Century
*28 Public announcement of the DNP Group Vision for the 21st Century

*29 Maison des Musées de France
*29 Maison des Musées de France

*30 Solar battery module
*30 Solar battery module

*31 Capillary blood vessel pattern after transfer
*31 Capillary blood vessel pattern after transfer

*32 The DNP Gotanda Building, home of DNP's solutions business
*32 The DNP Gotanda Building, home of DNP's solutions business

*33 Package for Japanese-style space food
*33 Package for Japanese-style space food

2001Succeeded in developing a flexible organic EL display *27
Commemorated the 125th anniversary of DNP's founding by announcing the "DNP Group’s 21st Century Vision” *28
Changed the name of DNP America Inc. to DNP America, LLC
Established DNP Electronics America LLC to manufacture and sell projection TV screens in the US
Established DAP Technology Co., Ltd., a joint venture with Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., to produce PDP back panels in Kitakyushu City
Launched silicon micro-machine processing service on contract basis
2002Established Industrial Supplies Operations and transferred the lithium-ion rechargeable battery electrodes division to it from Information Media Supplies Operations
Established DNP's first in-house venture business, CP Design Consulting Co., Ltd., which helps client companies create personal data protection systems and implement employee training
Established DNP Industrial Supplies Co., Ltd. (now DNP Optomaterials Co., Ltd.)
Established DNP Photomask Europe S.p.A to produce photomasks in Italy
Invested in Advanced Colortech Inc., a manufacturer of LCD color filters
2003Established Maison des Musées de France (MMF), jointly with the French national art museums association (Réunion des Musées Nationaux), in Tokyo's Ginza district *29
Developed materials for solar battery modules; expanded into the energy field *30
Established Compagnie de Découpe de l'Ouest (CDO SAS), a joint venture with France-based Sagem SA, to produce thermal transfer ink ribbons
Established DNP IMS France SAS
2004Established DNP France SAS
Consolidated information communication-related businesses in the Kansai region and formed Information Communications Kansai Operations
Established the Information Communication Research and Development Center and the Advanced Industrial Supplies Laboratory (now the Opto-Materials Laboratory)
A joint effort with Tokyo Medical and Dental University succeeded in forming capillary blood vessel patterns, marking DNP's expansion into the regenerative medicine field *31
Established DNP Hokkaido Co., Ltd. and DNP Tohoku Co., Ltd.
Established DNP Display Technology Taiwan Co., Ltd. to sell color filters
2005Established DNP International Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. and began sales activities
Established Nano Science Research Center for research and development of materials and processes as well as for product analysis
Held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kamiya Solutions Center, a printing and manufacturing base
Completed transfer of various divisions in the Osaka/Kyoto region to the Namba SS Building
Reorganized DNP Group businesses in western Japan and established DNP Nishinihon, K.K.
Began operating Kurosaki Plant, manufacturing LCD color filters in Kitakyushu
2006Acquired photography-related businesses from Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc.
Established DNP Photo Imaging Co., Ltd., DNP Photo Marketing Co., Ltd., and DNP ID Imaging Co., Ltd.
Renamed Industrial Supplies Operations “Opto-Materials Operations” and DNP Industrial Supplies Co., Ltd. “DNP Optomaterials Co., Ltd.”
Established DNP Color Techno Kameyama Co., Ltd. to manufacture LCD color filters at Sharp Corp.'s Kameyama Plant No. 2
Renamed Industrial Supplies Operations “Lifestyle Materials Operations” with an eye toward expanding the business
Established DNP Lifestyle Materials Marketing Co., Ltd.
Completed construction of the DNP Gotanda Building as a base for promoting the DNP Group's solutions business *32
Opened the “Louvre - DNP Museum Lab” inside the DNP Gotanda Building, as a venue for exploring new ways to appreciate the Louvre Museum’s artworks by making use of DNP's cutting-edge imaging technologies
Celebrated the 130th anniversary of DNP's founding
2007Formed capital alliance with TRC Inc., a provider of library operation services
Formed operational and capital tie-ups with Maruzen Co., Ltd., becoming Maruzen’s primary shareholder
Developed Japan's first domestically produced packaging for Japanese-style space food *33
2008Consolidated DNP ID Imaging Co., Ltd. DNP Photo Marketing Co., Ltd., and DNP PrintRush Co., Ltd. to form DNP Fotolusio Co., Ltd.
Established the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion
Increased DNP's stake in TRC Inc., making it a consolidated subsidiary
2009Established Energy Systems Operations