Meiji/Taisho Eras (1899–)

1899
Taichiro Morinaga returns to Japan from the United States and establishes Morinaga’s Western Confectionery Shop.

Photograph taken in 1900.

Pioneers of Western Confectionary in Japan

In 1899, Taichiro Morinaga—the founder of Morinaga & Co., Ltd.—returned to Japan from the United States with an enormous dream in his heart of spreading Western confectionaries throughout Japan. He began manufacturing Western confectionaries in a tiny factory only 2 tsubo (6.6 m2) in size, and eventually, after he joined forces with a partner, Hanzaburo Matsuzaki, the business expanded in leaps and bounds—and Morinaga’s dream became reality.

1905
The Company registers the Angel Mark, which symbolizes the corporate philosophy of “Delicious, Fun, and Healthy.”

Birth of the Angel Mark!

Taichiro devised the iconic Angel Mark from a concept sparked by the name of the marshmallow that he was manufacturing often at that time: Angel Food. The Angel Mark has evolved seven times since its birth, but it is still Morinaga’s symbol today.

1912
The Company becomes Morinaga & Co., Ltd.
1914
Sales of pocket-sized Milk Caramel begin. The product becomes hugely popular.

The Launch of Pocket-sized Milk Caramel

Easy-to-carry is the key to creating a best-selling product today, but in 1914, caramel pieces were sold individually. Taichiro decided to sell the small caramels together in one pocket-sized box, and Pocket-sized Milk Caramel became an enormous hit. Since then, the milk caramels in the yellow box have been consistently the popular choice of generations of Japanese people.

1918
Morinaga begins selling domestically produced milk chocolate, becoming the first bean-to-bar manufacturer of chocolate.

Japan’s First Domestically Produced Chocolate

In an era when chocolate was still an imported luxury item, far out of the reach of ordinary citizens, Taichiro imported the latest production equipment and invited technicians from overseas to Japan to launch the first bean-to-bar production of chocolate from cacao beans. Sales of domestically produced milk chocolate began in 1918.

1919
  • Launch of Milk Cocoa, Japan’s first drinking cocoa
  • Introduction of the Eight-hour Workday

Introduction of the Eight-hour Workday

Having introduced caps and uniforms for Morinaga workers in 1904, soon after the company was established, Taichiro subsequently led the confectionary industry in implementing an eight-hour workday in 1919. In the post-war period, as well, Morinaga was one of the earliest companies to establish a health insurance society and employee pension fund, which demonstrated that Taichiro was a pioneer in improving the workplace environment.

1920
Production of Dry Milk begins with sales beginning the following year.

Morinaga Launches Japan’s First Domestically Mass-produced Powdered Milk

Having begun condensed milk production as a means of securing auxiliary ingredients for caramel confectionaries, Morinaga commenced production of Japan’s first domestically produced powdered milk in 1920, and Morinaga Dry Milk went on sale the following year.

1923
Morinaga begins selling Marie Biscuits in Japan.