The , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies, all refer to a large grouping of independently operated Japanese companies which share the Mitsubishi brand name. While the companies are autonomous, they share the brand name and trademark, as well as a common legacy.
The Mitsubishi group of companies form a loose entity, the Mitsubishi Keiretsu, which is often referenced in US and Japanese media and official reports; in general these companies all descend from the zaibatsu of the same name. A keiretsu is a common feature of Japanese corporate governance and refers to a collaborative group of integrated companies with extensive share crossholdings, personnel swaps and strategic co-operation.
The top 29 companies are also members of the Mitsubishi Kin'y¨_kai, or "Friday Club", and meet monthly. The Mitsubishi.Com Committee is charged with maintaining the overall integrity of the brand as well as maintaining the portal web site.
The first Mitsubishi company was a shipping firm that Yataro Iwasaki established in 1870. In 1873 it took the name Mitsubishi Shokai (ÈýÁâÉÌ»á). The name Mitsubishi (ÈýÁâ) has two parts: "mitsu" means "three" and "bishi" means "water chestnut", and hence "rhombus", which is reflected in the company's logo. Another translation is "three diamonds".
The company bought into coal mining in 1881 acquiring the Takashima mine, using the produce to fuel their extensive steamship fleet. They also diversified into shipbuilding, banking, insurance, warehousing, and trade. Later diversification carried the organization into such sectors as paper, steel, glass, electrical equipment, aircraft, oil, and real estate. As Mitsubishi built a broadly based conglomerate, it played a central role in the modernization of Japanese industry.
At the start of the 20th century the company, which by itself accounted for over half of the Japanese merchant fleet, entered into a period of diversification that would eventually result in the creation of three entities:
Mitsubishi Bank (now a part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group) was founded in 1919. After its mergers with the Bank of Tokyo in 1996, and UFJ Holdings in 2004, this became Japan's largest bank.
Mitsubishi Corporation, founded in 1950, Japan's largest general trading company
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which includes these industrial companies.
Mitsubishi Motors, the 4th largest Japanese auto manufacturer.
Mitsubishi Atomic Industry, a nuclear power company.
Mitsubishi Chemical, the largest Japanese chemicals company
Nikon Corporation, a well-known brand of photographic equipment.
World War II
During the Second World War, Mitsubishi manufactured aircraft, including the well-known Zero.
After the war
Mitsubishi split itself into independent companies in 1946 under the postwar government policy of decentralizing industry. The newly independent companies used their accumulated technology and other strengths to pursue growth under separate business models. As independent corporations, the Mitsubishi companies cooperated in some ventures, as in petrochemicals and nuclear power, and competed with each other in other sectors. The Mitsubishi companies form a loose entity known as the Mitsubishi keiretsu, or Mitsubishi group.
Mitsubishi has been accused of neglecting proper corporate practices, most notably with respect to work-place discrimination, and environmental pollution. A disgruntled former employee, Kamal Sinha, has started a website called Mitsubishi Watch to report such complaints. Niall Murtagh's book, "The Blue-Eyed Salaryman", describes both positive and negative aspects of working for Mitsubishi from a foreigner's perspective.
A new era
Mitsubishi participated in Japan's unprecedented economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s. For example, as Japan modernized its energy and materials industries, the Mitsubishi companies created Mitsubishi Petrochemical, Mitsubishi Atomic Power Industries, Mitsubishi Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and Mitsubishi Petroleum Development.
The traditional Mitsubishi emphasis on technological development was in new ventures in such fields as space development, aviation, ocean development, data communications, computers, and semiconductors. Mitsubishi companies also were active in consumer goods and services.
In 1970, Mitsubishi companies established the Mitsubishi Foundation to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the founding of the first Mitsubishi company. The companies also individually maintain charitable foundations. Mitsubishi pavilions have been highlights of expositions in Japan since the historic EXPO'70 in Osaka in 1970.
The Mitsubishi companies
Asahi Glass Co.
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.
Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd.
Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company
Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery
Mitsubishi Aluminum Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Cable Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (part of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation)
Mitsubishi Corporation (Trading company)
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation
Mitsubishi Motors (Automobile manufacturing and sales)
Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc.
Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
Mitsubishi Shindoh Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Steel Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group)
Nippon Oil Corporation
NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha)
P.S. Mitsubishi Construction Co., Ltd.
Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
These companies are members of the Mitsubishi Kinyokai (or Friday Club), and meet monthly.
Chitose Kosan Co., Ltd.
The Dia Foundation for Research on Ageing Societies
Diamond Family Club
Koiwai Noboku Kaisha, Ltd.
LEOC JAPAN Co., Ltd.
Marunouchi Yorozu Corp.
Mitsubishi C&C Research Association
Mitsubishi Corporate Name and Trademark Committee
Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute
The Mitsubishi Foundation
Mitsubishi Marketing Association
Mitsubishi Research and Development of America
Mitsubishi Public Affairs Committee
The Mitsubishi Yowakai Foundation
MT Insurance Service Co., Ltd.
Seikado Bunko Art Museum
Shonan Country Club
The Toyo Bunko