Sumitomo Group

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Sumitomo Group (住友グループ Sumitomo Gurūpu?) is one of the largest Japanese keiretsu, founded by Masatomo Sumitomo.


Igeta mark
Igeta mark

The Sumitomo group traces its roots to a bookshop in Kyoto founded circa 1615 by a former buddhist priest, Masatomo Sumitomo.1 Considered its spiritual founder, even today management of the group is guided by his "Founder's Precepts", written in the 17th century.1

It was copper that made the company famous, however. When Riemon Soga, Masatomo Sumitomo's brother-in-law, learned Western methods of copper refining, he established a smelting business in 1590. This he named Izumiya, literally meaning "spring shop".1 The advanced techniques Riemon perfected allowed extraction of silver from copper ore, something which Japanese technology had as yet been unable to accomplish.1

While the smelting and smithing business began in Kyoto, by the late 17th century it was moved to Osaka,1 and Soga passed control of the company to his son Tomomochi who managed its transformation into a major trading house2 during the Edo period.3 Sumitomo began exporting copper,4 importing silk,4 providing financial services,5 and by 1691 copper mining had been added as a business, too.678

The Meiji Restoration allowed Sumitomo to import and utilize Western machines and techniques in its mines.6 Sumitomo soon branched out into even more business areas entering the machine and coal industries, as well as the forestry, banking and warehousing businesses6 becoming a zaibatsu,3 or business conglomerate.


The diamond-shaped igeta mark is reminiscent of a type of frame placed over a well in premodern Japan and was the logo of Riemon Soga's Izumiya company.1

Sumitomo companies

Sumitomo companies which are in the Nikkei 225


External links

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