Konica Minolta Celebrates 150th Anniversary

One noteworthy thing about many Japanese companies is that they go back many decades. In fact, the world’s oldest company is Kongo Gumi, a Japanese construction company, that’s almost 2,000 years old, having been founded in the year 578, and which still operates today.

While not quite that old, Konica Minolta is also very well-established, and this year is celebrating its 150 years in business.

The company says that through its long-time commitment to the industry and proactive approach to shaping the future of technology, it’s not only kept pace with industry developments over the years, but consistently appeared at the forefront.

Commemoration of this milestone has centered around showing gratitude to Konica Minolta’s stakeholders and recognizing its employees, the latter of which are carrying out the company’s long-standing philosophy to “create new value for society.

Konica Minolta says it enables that philosophy by enhancing employees’ capabilities as professional, with the company fostering a culture that promotes health and safety, encourages individuals to take on challenges, and facilitates open communication. This approach in turn is said to garners the commitment and loyalty needed from employees to create that value and continue to shape the company.

“Our people are our single greatest asset, and we work extremely hard to cultivate employees who demonstrate innovative spirit and show true dedication to drive success across the business,” said Sam Errigo, president and CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. “We are big promoters of diversity and inclusion and making sure that as an organization, different individuals in different walks of life have the ability to prosper here. It allows us to get different viewpoints on ways to approach the business. That has helped our culture ensure an environment where people can flourish and grow their careers.”

Some key milestones for the company since Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic and lithographic materials in 1873 include:

  • 1873: Konica starts business as Rokusaburo Sugiura begins selling photographic and lithographic materials at Konishiya Rokubeiten in Kojimachi, Tokyo.
  • 1903: Konishi Honten (predecessor of Konica) markets the “Cherry Hand Camera,” Japan’s first brand-name camera.
  • 1958: Company’s first planetarium unit completed and opened to the public.
  • 1962: The first pictures of Earth taken from space with a Minolta Hi-Matic (during John Glenn’s “Friendship 7” Space flight).
  • 1970: World’s first color copy machine introduced, the Konica Minolta’s U-Bix 480.
  • 2003: Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. is established by integrating the management of Konica Corporation and Minolta Company.
  • 2005: Released the world’s first Mammography machine to use phase contrast technology.
  • 2007: Withdrawal from photo and camera business.
  • 2011: U.S. Division acquires All Covered and begins digital transformation journey ahead of competitors.
  • 2013: Company name changed to Konica Minolta, Inc.
  • 2015: U.S. Division launches Step Forward, an initiative to inspire women in professional excellence at all career levels.
  • 2016: The bizhub PRESS C71cf digital press is the first of many new products that supports Konica Minolta’s strategy in the label and package printing industry market.
  • 2018: U-Bix 480 certified as a “Copying Machine Heritage” established by the Imaging Society of Japan (ISJ).
  • 2020: U.S. Division Launches Return to Work solution during the pandemic to assure employee safety when returning to offices.
  • 2021: Announces Status as a Microsoft Global Partner.
  • 2023: U.S. Division acquires Force Security Solutions.

Earlier this year the company debuted its 150th anniversary video, in which the company reflects on its journey. The video launched via a global social media effort, with all regions of Konica Minolta aligning with posts simultaneously, another first for the company.

Amid ongoing challenges in the industry, uncertainty in the market, and general concerns about recession, the company says the tenacity of Konica Minolta’s employees shines through. It notes: “Despite difficulties, particularly in recent years with the pandemic and supply-chain issues, the company has maintained the right culture and drive to turn things around. And with this track record of perseverance, the company is confident that alongside its employees, as well as its clients and partners, it will continue to drive positive change throughout the world.”

For more information about Konica Minolta’s history, visit the company here.


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