The World's Oldest Company

The World's Oldest Company


The World's Oldest Company operated in Japan from 578 AD to 2006.


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Kongo Gumi Co., Ltd. is a Japanese construction company that was the world's oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it became a subsidiary of Takamatsu in January 2006.

Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned construction company traced its origins to 578 AD when one of the skilled Korean immigrants, whom Prince Shotoku invited from Baekje (one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea) to Japan to build the Buddhist temple Shitenno-ji, decided to start his own business. Over the centuries, Kongo Gumi participated in constructing 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 Kongo family name. Thus, the line has continued through either a son or a daughter through the years.

The company fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006 and was purchased by the Takamatsu Construction Group. Before its liquidation, it had as few as 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 Kongo, the 50th Kongo to lead the firm. As of December 2006, Kongo Gumi continues to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takamatsu.

In January 2006, Takamatsu Construction Group founded a new company named Kongogumi Engineering Co Ltd.


The World's Oldest Company

The World's Oldest Company operated in Japan from 578 AD to 2006.

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