n 2005, Fujikura celebrated the 120th anniversary of its founding. In Japan, 60 years was traditionally considered the normal human life span, and reaching this milestone is still celebrated as a special occasion. Fujikura has thus been active for the equivalent of two life cycles and is now embarking on its third. With this in mind, we declared that 2005 should mark the inaugural year of Fujikura’s Third Era.
The First Era—the dawn of Fujikura—commenced in 1885 with the establishment of the company in Awajicho, Tokyo, by our founder Zenpachi Fujikura. The firm initially manufactured silk and cotton windings.
The Second Era started in 1945 and was marked by a refounding of the company. Our primary factory in Fukagawa, Tokyo, was completely destroyed during the war, so our employees worked together to literally rebuild the company from the ground up. During this period, the firm enjoyed steady growth, fueled initially by demand to rebuild the national infrastructure that had been decimated by the war, and later, during the period of high economic growth, by demand for optical fiber. Our business centered on electrical power and telecommunications projects, which helped build new infrastructure that enhanced the safety and security of society. Accordingly, the company enjoyed very stable growth simply by responding to the needs of a handful of blue-chip customers.
However, investment in infrastructure has reached a plateau in recent years, and we are entering an epoch of severe competition. It is therefore inevitable that Fujikura’s business environment will change radically in the future. Our way of thinking and our approach to business—deeply engrained in our corporate DNA—proved successful during the recently-ended period of stable growth. However, the firm will severely handicap itself if it adopts similar lines of action as we enter a new era in which change is a constant. We are therefore strongly cognizant of the need to build our company from zero yet again, and now is the time to declare the beginning of Fujikura’s Third Era.