A long-established company that delivers ink around the world Environmental Conservation from a Global Perspective.

澤登 信成SAWANOBORI Nobunari

帝国インキ製造株式会社 代表取締役社長

President of Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Joined Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. Co., Ltd. in 1995 and appointed as a Director in 2003. Became President of Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. in 2015, when the company celebrated its 120th anniversary.







澤登代表:先ほどもお話ししたように、海外市場では環境配慮は非常に重要なポイントです。そのため、マレーシア事業所設立とほぼ時を同じくして、山梨工場でISO 14001(環境ISO)を取得しました。また、私たちにはお客様だけでなく、工場で働く社員や研究者の健康を守る責任があります。有害物質を含まない水性インキを他社に先駆けて開発したことは、「社員や商品を手に取ったお客様を守る」という姿勢を示すとともに、身近な自然を大切にする祖父の教えを受け継いでいくという意思表明でもあると考えています。今後も自分たちにできる環境保全に積極的に取り組み、少しでも地球に良い働きかけをしていきたいと思います。





Aiming to evolve from a subcontracting corporation to a pioneer in screen ink development

Yamamoto: Would you please start by discussing the history of Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg., which is celebrating its 126th anniversary this year.
President Sawanobori: Our company was founded in 1895 under the name of “Teikoku Printing Ink Mfg. Co.” Originally, we developed inks and paints for newspaper printing as a subcontractor of major corporations. In 1944, my grandfather restructured the organization and established the current Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. Co., Ltd. Afterwards, our business changed to the development and manufacturing of ink for screen printing*. This change was triggered by a call from Sericol in the United Kingdom.
Yamamoto: So, the desire to challenge new markets was the reason why your company decided to focus on the development and manufacturing of screen inks?
President Sawanobori: In the 1980s, my father, who was our second President, quit the subcontracting development work and decided to concentrate on the screen ink business. At that time, screen ink was not yet mainstream, so its use was limited to disposable lighters and ballpoint pens. However, we subsequently expanded our business into fields where the characteristics of screen inks can be utilized; for example, speedometers for automobiles and operation panels for home appliances. I believe that our aggressive business growth in Japan has laid the foundation for overseas expansion.

* A type of stencil printing. Defined as "a general term for technology that uses gauze as a pattern support material and reproduces an image by transferring screen printing ink to the object to be printed through the plate image created on the gauze." This method can be used to print on everything except air and water. Printing is possible not only on flat surfaces but also on curved surfaces, special shapes, and molded products.

Further growth in overseas markets achieved by following up words with action

Yamamoto: Your company has successfully expanded its business in Japan. Also, you are currently focused on manufacturing overseas; for example, you are currently establishing a number of overseas offices. What is the reason for this strategy?
President Sawanobori: Originally, our aim was to collect information on Japanese corporations that were actively expanding overseas at that time. Additionally, the manufacturing companies of our client corporations were expanding overseas in rapid succession. Due to the nature of ink manufacturers, in order to manufacture ink as requested, we needed to perform local printing in order to check the color appearance and communicate directly with our customers. As a result, we decided to expand globally in accordance with overall trends.
Yamamoto: How has overseas expansion benefited Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg.?
Representative Sawanobori: Encounters with overseas customers have broadened our horizons, and we have become able to objectively reflect on our initiatives. Furthermore, overseas regulations on chemical substances are stricter than in Japan, so engaging in overseas development and manufacturing has dramatically improved our technological capabilities and environmental awareness. We are currently engaged in collaborative development with major overseas IT corporations, and the embodiment of our corporate philosophy is being steadily linked to our achievements.

Protecting the safety of people close to us leads to environmental conservation

Yamamoto: So, engaging in business expansion from a global perspective was the starting point for environmental consideration at Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg.?
President Sawanobori: As I mentioned earlier, environmental consideration is an extremely important point in overseas markets. Therefore, at nearly the same time as establishing our Malaysia Office, we acquired ISO 14001 (environmental ISO) certification at our Yamanashi Plant. Also, in addition to protecting the health of our customers, we are also responsible for the health of employees and researchers working in our factories. Our efforts to become the first corporation to develop water-based ink that does not contain harmful substances demonstrates our attitude of “protecting the employees and customers who handle our products.” These efforts also express the intentions of my grandfather and inherit his values of treasuring the nature found in everyday life. Moving forward, our company will continue to actively engage in environmental conservation and help our planet to the best of our ability.

Teikoku Printing Inks Mfg. Co., Ltd.

Year of Founding: 1895 / No. of Employees: 230