StoriesFuji Electric DNA

Episode1. DNA, a coiled bond.

Let’s talk about the DNA of Fuji Electric. It began 36 years before the company was even founded, with the meeting of two people. One was Ichibei Furukawa, a businessman called "the copper king of the Meiji period," who built the foundation of the Furukawa Group. The other was Hermann Kessler, an electrical engineer who was dispatched from the German company Siemens, which was then known as the supreme leader in the global electronics industry.

Ichibei Furukawa
Ichibei Furukawa
Hermann Kessler
Hermann Kessler

Going back more than 130 years to 1887, Kessler wanted to expand into Japan by way of Ashio Copper Mine, which was managed by Ichibei and located deep in the mountains, with no railroads and incomplete roadways. While researching mining conditions in Japan, Kessler enthusiastically explained to Ichibei about electricity and the features of his company’s products. Listening to Kessler, Ichibei strove to pioneer a new era with overseas knowledge and mining development technology. It was that moment when the paths of their enthusiasm crossed. Ichibei was able to expand his business in his lifetime, so he must have been a very enterprising man. He immediately signed a sales contract for electrical equipment for the copper mine with a man he had never met before, and a foreigner at that. He even ordered a generator and a boiler, for which he was said to be a pioneer of the electrolysis business in Japan. The following year, he constructed Japan's first hydro power plant, embodying our current statement, "Innovating Energy Technology."

Establishment of Fuji Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
Fuji Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
headquarter office, 1923

Siemens later expanded and established a Japanese corporation. Despite the strict review of negotiations due to the Great Depression after World War I and the aggressive actions of many rivals who wanted to be the ones to introduce Siemens technology, the two companies, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. and Siemens, entered into a capital and technical alliance, establishing Fuji Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (now Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.) on August 29, 1923. The deep connection between these two companies is even expressed in the name: Fuji comes from the “Fu” from Furukawa and the “Ji” from “Siemens” (how the German “Z” sound is pronounced in Japanese).