Mitutoyo Corporation

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Mitutoyo Corporation (株式会社ミツトヨ, Kabushiki Kaisha Mitsutoyo) is a Japanese multinational corporation specializing in measuring instruments and metrological technology, headquartered at Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa.

Mitutoyo was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Yehan Numata in 1934. Numata had spent the decade of the 1920s in the United States where he studied at the University of California, Berkeley. While studying, he left a profound impression on those at Berkeley, which led him to be recognized many years later. He first entered the United States to study in 1921 and spent the next few years studying mathematics and statistics as an undergraduate. He remained at UC Berkeley until 1928 when he received his master’s degree. Numata returned to his native Japan where he launched the Mitutoyo Corporation. It is believed that growing up in the Meiji period in Japan and also witnessing the United States’ industrial markets prior to The Great Depression, gave Numata inspiration to form his own corporation.

On October 22, 1934, Mitutoyo was established by Numata. At the time of launch, Mitutoyo only had a single product, the micrometer. The 1930s in Japan was a period of industrialization and Numata was part of a wider movement to begin to produce foreign technology domestically. Prior to this, Japan was heavily focused on textiles, with Mitutoyo forming the foundations for the technically advanced Japan we see today. The Japanese government invested heavily in the 1930s in infrastructure, especially on the railway. This led to the rapid growth of manufacturing across various sectors. This focus on manufacturing, allowed Numata to form a research and development facility in Kamata, Tokyo where he began to experiment with the creation of micrometers. Over a period of three years, Numata developed Mitutoyo’s first product, a Japanese-manufactured micrometer. In order to promote the new product, a promotional towel was created, which read “The World’s Best Micrometer.”

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