December: letterpress printing company founded in Yoshida in Kita-Uwa, Ehime Prefecture.
July: structure changed to limited-liability company.
Uwajima office opened in Uwajima city, Ehime Prefecture.
Heidelberg automatic letterpress printing machine installed.
Heidelberg offset printing press installed.
Photoengraving equipment installed.
Letterpress machine replaced with phototypesetting machine.
Yoshida head office relocated to new premises.
Matsuyama office opened in Matsuyama city, Ehime Prefecture.
Structure changed to publicly traded company.
Matsuyama office relocated to new premises.
Heidelberg A2 4-colour machine, colour scanner and form printing machine installed.
September: Matsuyama office relocated to new building (present business premises).
Total scanner, computer editing system, Macintosh DTP system installed.
July: operations started from two central offices in Matsuyama and Yoshida.
November: Heidelberg A1 4-colour printing machine installed.
July: Ozu office opened in Ozu city, Ehime Prefecture.
July: high-speed internal network system (LAN) installed.
October: Heidelberg DI printing machine installed and on-demand printing launched.
July: multimedia department (now digital media team) established.
July: network-type management system (MIS) launched.
May: Uwajima office relocated.
In 1667, when Japan was divided into feudal domains known as han, the Iyo-Yoshida han split off from the Uwajima han in the Iyo region (now Ehime Prefecture). The Sakawa family worked in the profession of money changing at the time and was ordered to take care of financial business for the Iyo-Yoshida han (similar to the current functions of the Bank of Japan and the National Tax Agency).
The current company logo is based on the "weight" symbol for money that was displayed on moneychangers' signs or currency during the Edo period, reflecting this important aspect of the Sakawa family history.
Moreover, this "weight" symbol is still used on present day maps to represent banks and is therefore considered a symbol of a trusting business relationship.
By adopting this symbol as a logo, our company sends out a clear message both internally and externally. The logo reflects our company spirit, which places the utmost value on being trusted by society and relied on by our customers.
In modern Japanese history, there are said to have been three major revolutions. The first revolution is the Meiji Restoration, the second is the end of the Second World War, and the third is the IT revolution and the spread of the Internet.
In the Meiji Restoration (1868) the Iyo-Yoshida han was dissolved and as a result both clansmen and townsmen alike were left at a loose end. In particular, the merchants were dealt a heavy blow, losing both their protection and their main customers. Amongst this profession, the Sakawa family belonged to a special group of merchants that were half commercial and half bureaucratic, which meant that they were particularly badly affected during this time. However, while other wealthy merchant families all suffered the same fate, the Sakawa family was able to weather the crisis - no doubt due to their strong sense of pride that stemmed from managing the financial affairs of the leaders, as well as the resilient foundations of their family tradition.
It is not hard to imagine the great difficulties that people must have faced when trying to start their business up again in the new era. The fact that the the Sakawa family was able to survive up until the present day in spite of the severe initial conditions is because they were able to make a new start by transitioning to the new profession of "ironmonger". The Sakawas succeeded in adapting to the changes of the revolutionary era by following the family motto, "from generation to generation – yet original", which is still the motto of the Sakawa family today.
The environment that affects businesses and organisations is constantly changing – it is necessary to adapt business management accordingly. The motto "from generation to generation – yet original" is a reminder that leaders should always aim for innovations, even if they have inherited their family business.
After the end of the Second World War (1945), a member of the Sakawa family, Shigetoshi Sakawa, founded a printing company. During the war, much was destroyed and the social system underwent a dramatic transformation. As a result, the postwar structure of society had changed completely. Faced with an entirely different environment, the Sakawa family took up the challenge to start a new business. When Shigetoshi founded the company in 1947 he was already in his late forties, and just like postwar Japan as a whole, he was starting from scratch.
Shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1947, Shigetoshi Sakawa spent his entire fortune by purchasing a letterpress printing press in Osaka and establishing Sakawa Printing in the town of Yoshida, Kita-Uwa (now Uwajima city), Ehime Prefecture.
This was Shigetoshi's first attempt at managing a business; moreover, it was a field in which he had no experience. In the period of reconstruction after the war, people did not own many material possessions – he literally started his business from nothing.
The company took orders for letterpress printing jobs in Yoshida and started to expand to the surrounding area.
At the time, there were no other printing companies in Yoshida, but in the nearby city of Uwajima there was a much larger printing company. When Sakawa Printing tried to acquire new customers in the area they were often met with a response of "why should I order from a small printing company from a small town?"
Heidelberg Platen letterpress printing machine
Shigetoshi and his wife Taka established the company credo of "trust and reliability" and worked hard at the business along with the employees. In 1961 they opened an office in Uwajima and gradually started to expand the company's sales area.
The Sakawas continued the family spirit that had been passed down from their money-changing ancestors, believing that "the most important priorities are to be trusted by society and to build a reliable relationship with customers".
In 1962, the company purchased the latest German letterpress printing machine with automatic paper feed and continued to expand the business.
This letterpress printing machine is still displayed in the lobby of our company headquarters today as the symbol of our origins.
In January 2000, Masazumi Sakawa became the managing director. Following the mottos "from generation to generation" and "continuity and change" the company continues to pursue its core business of printing while expanding into new business fields.
Feel free to contact us for more information