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Kongō Gumi

Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi
Native name
株式会社金剛組
Romanized name
Kongō Gumi
Kabushiki Gaisha
Industry Construction
Fate Acquired
Founded 578 (578)
Headquarters Osaka, Japan
Parent Takamatsu Construction Group

Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. (株式会社金剛組 Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi) is a Japanese construction company which was the world's oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it was absorbed as a subsidiary of Takamatsu in 2006.[1][2] Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned construction company traced its origins to 578 CE when one of the skilled immigrants, whom Prince Shōtoku invited from Baekje to Japan to build the Buddhist temple Shitennō-ji, decided to start his own business. Over the centuries, Kongō Gumi participated in the construction of many famous buildings, including the 16th-century Osaka Castle.

A three-meter 17th-century scroll traces the 40 generations back to the company's start. As with many distinguished Japanese families, sons-in-law often joined the clan and took the Kongō family name. Thus, through the years, the line has continued through either a son or a daughter.

The company fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006, and was purchased by the Takamatsu Construction Group.[3] Before its liquidation, it had over 100 employees and annual revenue of ¥7.5 billion ($70 million) in 2005; it still specialized in building Buddhist temples. The last president was Masakazu Kongō, the 50th Kongō to lead the firm. As of December 2006, Kongō Gumi continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Takamatsu.

Several Kongō Gumi workers, early 20th century.

See also

References

  1. ^ (Japanese) Announcement of business transfer from Kongō Gumi Takamatsu Corporation IR Topics, 14 December 2005.
  2. ^ "End of the Road for World's Oldest Firm" Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition), 15 December 2005.
  3. ^ "The End of a 1,400-Year-Old Business". Businessweek. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 

External links

  • Kongō Gumi (Japanese)
  • Nikkei Special "Dawn of Gaia" vol.296 Jan 8, 2008 (Japanese) - Introducing documentary program about reconstruction process of Kongo Gumi with Takamatsu(日経スペシャル「ガイアの夜明け」2008年1月8日放送 第296回)
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