The Mitsubishi companies, or the Mitsubishi Group of Companies or the Mitsubishi Group is a large group (keiretsu) of independently operated Japanese companies which share the Mitsubishi brand name. While the companies are autonomous, they share the brand name and trademark, as well as a common legacy (in general these companies all descend from the zaibatsu of the same name).
The Mitsubishi group of companies form a loose entity, the Mitsubishi Keiretsu, which is often referenced in US and Japanese media and official reports. The top 29 companies are also members of the Mitsubishi Kinyokai, or (Friday Club), and meet monthly. The Mitsubishi.Com Committee is charged with maintaining the overall integrity of the brand as well as maintaining the portal web site.
The first Mitsubishi company was a shipping firm that Yataro Iwasaki established in 1870. In 1873 it took the name Mitsubishi Shokai (三菱商会). The name Mitsubishi (三菱) has two parts: mitsu means three and bishi means water chestnut, and from here rhombus, which is reflected in the company's logo. Another translation is three diamonds.
That company soon diversified into coal mining, shipbuilding, banking, insurance, warehousing, and trade. Later diversification carried the organization into such sectors as paper, steel, glass, electrical equipment, aircraft, oil, and real estate. As Mitsubishi built a broadly based conglomerate, it played a central role in the modernization of Japanese industry.
At the start of the 20th century the company, which by itself accounted for over half of the Japanese merchant fleet, entered into a period of diversification that would eventually result in the creation of three entities:
- Mitsubishi Bank (now a part of the Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group) was founded in 1919. After its merger with Bank of Tokyo in 1996, this became Japan's largest bank.
- Mitsubishi Corporation, founded in 1893, serves the internal financing needs of the group
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which includes these Industrial companies.
World War II
During the Second World War, Mitsubishi manufactured aircraft, including the famous Zero that was used in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and many other occasions during the war. Also, like many other big Japanese corporations at that time, it used many forced laborers from the Japanese captured territories, like Korea and China, during the war.
After the war
Mitsubishi split itself into independent companies in 1946 under the postwar government policy of decentralizing industry. The newly independent companies used their accumulated technology and other strengths to pursue growth under separate business models. As independent corporations, the Mitsubishi companies cooperated in some ventures, as in petrochemicals and nuclear power, and competed with each other in other sectors. The Mitsubishi companies form a loose entity known as the Mitsubishi keiretsu, or Mitsubishi group.
Mitsubishi has been criticized for some of its corporate practices, most notably with respect to work-place discrimination, environmental pollution and the use of slave labour, including that of prisoners of war (POWs), during World War II. A disgruntled former employee, Kamal Sinha, has started a website called Mitsubishi Watch to report such complaints.
The Mitsubishi companies
- Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
- The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd. (part of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group)
- Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd.
- Meiji Life Insurance Co.
- Mitsubishi Aluminum Co., Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Cable Industries, Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
- Mitsubishi Corporation (Trading company)
- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
- Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation
- Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc.
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha, Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation
- Mitsubishi Materials Corporation
- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (Automobile manufacturing and sales)
- Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc.
- Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
- Mitsubishi Shindoh Co., Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Steel Mfg. Co., Ltd.
- The Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Corporation (part of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group)
- Nikon Corporation
- Nippon Oil Corporation
- NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha)
- P.S. Mitsubishi Construction Co., Ltd.
- Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
- Atami Yowado
- Chitose Kosan Co., Ltd.
- The Dia Foundation for Research on Ageing Societies
- Diamond Family Club
- Koiwai Noboku Kaisha, Ltd.
- LEOC JAPAN Co., Ltd.
- Marunouchi Yorozu Corp.
- Mitsubishi C&C Research Association
- Mitsubishi Club
- Mitsubishi Corporate Name and Trademark Committee
- Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute
- The Mitsubishi Foundation
- Mitsubishi Kinyokai
- Mitsubishi Marketing Association
- Mitsubishi Public Affairs Committee
- The Mitsubishi Yowakai Foundation
- MT Insurance Service Co., Ltd.
- Seikado Bunko Art Museum
- Shonan Country Club
- Sotsu Corporation
- The Toyo Bunko
- Portal website for Mitsubishi companies
- Mitsubishi Sucks and Mitsubishi Watch - sites critical of Mitsubishi's track record on issues such as workplace discrimination and environmental concernsde:Mitsubishi
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