Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Japanese Printer Companies during World War II "Part One"

I've always been fascinated with the history of companies, as to when they first opened, what they manufactured and how they came to prominence in their market place. Okidata has a long history of manufacturing and there is some awesome information on the history of Okidata in the links I provided at the end of this blog. In particular I was interested in what Japanese printer companies manufactured during World War II. Yes, I borrowed some of the information from the history of OKI, but also put together some quick facts about Okidata during the war years. Please enjoy.

Before OKI data was known as OKI data, it was Oki Electric Works and before that Miekosha. Kibataro Oki founded the company in 1881. By 1890 Oki Electric Works had earned an excellent reputation as a communication equipment manufacturer that specialized in telephone receivers.

After December of 1941 civilian communications dropped off and Oki Electric Works devoted most of its efforts to the war effort. Oki Electric Works then relied on orders from the Japanese Imperial Navy and Army to produce field telephones, ammunition, aeronautical radios, and hydrophones. In 1938 Oki Electric Works acquired a site in the Shiba Takahama section of Tokyo, here they were to build their Takahama plant. The plant was finished in 1941 and concentrated manufacturing wireless telegraph equipment, sonar, ammunition, and fuses for the Japanese Imperial Navy. In 1944 Oki was designated by the Munitions Company Act as a “munitions company”, which allowed the Military to take control of the factories and also allowed the government to intervene in personal matters.

March 10, 1945 saw 50 young students and women killed in a bombing raid, they had been held up in an air raid shelter in the Meijiza Theater. When World War II ended in 1945, Oki had 20 plants and nearly 23,000 employees even though its Shibaura, Maebashi and Otsuka Plants had been completed destroyed in American bombing raids.

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