History of ASAHI SHOES, LTD.

History of ASAHI SHOES, LTD.

The dreams and passion that ASAHI SHOES, LTD. has realized for more than 120 years.

Our company was established in 1892 and has supported Japanese shoe culture for more than 120 years.
As “ASAHI Shoes,” we have become a familiar brand to many people. While continuing our research on Japanese feet, we mastered the manufacturing techniques involved in the making of shoes and have handed down these skills to the current generation.

Shimaya

1892

Tokujiro Ishibashi, the company’s founder, opens “Shimaya,” a tailor shop, the predecessor of ASAHI SHOES, LTD., in Kurume City.

electric motors

1911

First electric motors introduced. Automobiles used for advertising. A weaving mill and dye factory (a pioneering figure in Kyushu) established to promote integrated production from cotton cloth.

Construction of a new plant in Arai-machi, Kurume City

1916

Construction of a new plant in Arai-machi, Kurume City (currently, the site of the Kurume Plant).

Nihon Tabi Corporation

1918

Sole proprietorship changed to “Nihon Tabi Corporation” in June.

Foundation ~ 1940’s
1892

Tokujiro Ishibashi, the company’s founder, opens “Shimaya,” a tailor shop, the predecessor of ASAHI SHOES, LTD., in Kurume City.

1907

Tailor operations wind down and converted to a tabi (Japanese socks) maker business. Sewing machines and cutting machines employed to promote mechanization.

1911

First electric motors introduced. Automobiles used for advertising. A weaving mill and dye factory (a pioneering figure in Kyushu) established to promote integrated production from cotton cloth.

1914

“Wave and morning sun” logo adopted and registered as the representative trademark. Company succeeds in selling a pair of ASAHI Tabi socks at a flat rate of 0.2 yen.

1916

Construction of a new plant in Arai-machi, Kurume City (currently the site of the Kurume Plant).

1918

Sole proprietorship changed to “Nihon Tabi Corporation” in June.

1922

Jika-tabi (Japanese rubber-soled socks with the big toe separated) called a revolution in the history of shoes invented.

1923

Manufacture and sale of athletic shoes launched.

1928

Fukuoka Plant (a plant exclusively for rubber shoes for export) newly constructed.

1929

Export of shoes to the U.S.A., Europe and Africa initiated.

1931

Tire division spun off into “Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd.”

1937

Corporate name changed to “Japan Rubber Co., Ltd.” in April. “ASAHI Shoes.” establishes position as industry leader.

1941

Taiwan Rubber Co., Ltd. established in Taipei City. “Thailand Rubber Co, Ltd.” established in May.

1945

Pacific War ends. Overseas plants naturally dissolved.

1947

Head office moved from Kurume (the place of foundation) to Tokyo in the hope of further development as a modern corporation in July.
Shoe exports restarted in October.

1950’s ~ 1990’s
1952

“ASAHI Light Sole” starts operations blending synthetic rubber with sole rubber in March.

1953

Large flood sweeps over Kurume District and all plants flooded in June.

1954

Fukuoka Plant closed. Operations consolidated at Kurume Plant.

1966

In-house production started with trademark “AP” in the field of leather shoes. From that point, tremendous brand growth.

1970

Xutai Rubber Ltd. established as the Taiwan Plant.

1977

Exclusive contract on domestic production and sales of pro athletic shoes with NIKE trademark concluded with USA NIKE.

1980~1996

Company receives “Good Design Award” sponsored by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, for sixteen consecutive years.

1983

Exclusive contract on domestic production and sales of products with “BROOKS” trademark concluded with USA Wolverine Worldwide (BROOKS SPORTS. INC. after 2002).

1988

CI introduced to promote modernization of the business and corporate name changed to “ASAHI CORPORATION Co., Ltd.”

1992

NISSHO ASAHI established as Asian base in Taiwan.

1996

“Good Design Long Life Design Award” selected by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry presented for “BROOKS Chariot-L” for the first time in the footwear industry.

1998

Head office moved to Kurume City. Company files for bankruptcy reorganization plan.

2000’s ~ present
2000

“Kaiho Shugi” shoes for the elderly and nursing care developed. Fukuoka Design Award grand prize presented for “Kaiho Shugi.”

2001

Reorganization plan accepted. New “ASAHI CORPORATION Co., Ltd.” started.

Good Design Award sponsored by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion and a special award of the Fukuoka Design Award presented for “Kaiho Shugi.”

Integrated production line operations started. (Water jet cutting machines introduced. Small lot production started.)

2003

Total number of “Kaiho Shugi” shoes reaches one million. Distribution bases consolidated to Tokyo and Kurume.

2004

Brand contract for “Champion” concluded with Japan Sala Lee Co., Ltd. Foot type measurement “Footgrapher” developed through joint development with Kyushu University.”

2005

Total number of “Kaiho Shugi” shoes reaches two million. The world’s first “SHM® function” to prevent knee troubles developed.

2006

“ASAHI Medical Walk” with the world’s first “SHM® function” to prevent knee troubles released.

Special corporate award “Good Business Award” for corporate activities through “Kaiho Shugi” presented by Fukuoka Prefecture and the Fukuoka Design Association.

Excellence award “Technology Award” of the 8th Fukuoka Design Award presented for ASAHI Medical Walk.

2007

Licensing agreement for “KOHKINMASTER™,” antibacterial agent providing an effect on 372 bacteria concluded with Idemitsu Technofine Co., Ltd.

2012

“14th Fukuoka Design Award” sponsored by Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka Design Association presented for ASAHI WalkLand. (Also 15th Fukuoka Design Award presented the following year.) ASAHI Caravan specializing in educational activities for foot type measurements and foot health established and visited kindergartens, senior care homes and centers and other facilities in the Kyushu District.

2013

In addition to the Kyushu District in 2012, ASAHI Caravan established in the Osaka and Tokyo Districts to conduct the same activities. Flyer posting activity started. ASAHI style operating activities to support clients started throughout Japan. The mascot character (yuru-kyara) “ASAHI KENKO-KUN” conceived.

2014

Total number of “ASAHI Medical Walk” shoes reaches one million.

2015

Awarded 17th Fukuoka Design Award for “ASAHI KENKO-KUN.” Total number of “Kaiho Shugi” shoes reaches seven million.

2016

“Comprehensive partnership agreement on society contribution” concluded. The brand “ASAHI” launched.

2016

Excellence award of “Fukuoka Design Award” presented for “ASAHI Medical Walk WKL003, WKM002” in 2016.

2017

Reorganization plan under the Corporate Reorganization Act ended in March.

Corporate name changed to "ASAHI SHOES, LTD." in April.