Mitsubishi is one of the largest companies in Japan.

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) means 'three rhombi', which is reflected in the company's logo.

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 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.
    • Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, the 4th largest Japanese auto manufacturer.
    • Mitsubishi Atomic Industry, a nuclear power company.
    • Mitsubishi Chemical, the largest Japanese chemicals company
    • Nikon, a well known brand of photographic equipment.

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.

Today all of the following companies count themselves as a Mitsubishi company:

  • Asahi Glass Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp
  • Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc
  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc
  • Mitsubishi Shindoh Co., Ltd
  • Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Steel Mfg. Co., Ltd
  • Meiji Life Insurance Co
  • Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha, Ltd
  • The Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Corp
  • Mitsubishi Aluminum Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Logistics Corp
  • Nikon Corp
  • Mitsubishi Cable Industries, Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Materials Corp
  • Nippon Oil Corp
  • Mitsubishi Chemical Corp
  • Mitsubishi Motors Corp
  • Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha
  • Mitsubishi Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Ltd
  • P.S. Mitsubishi Construction Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Electric Corp
  • Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc
  • The Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd

Related Links

Mitsubishi Watch
Tracks Mitsubishi group activities related to workplace racial, gender (sex), age, disability discrimination and harassment; consumer complaints and fraud; environmental concerns like rainforest destruction, deforestation, biotechnology, nuclear plants; slave labor and other such issues.
Workplace Racial Discrimination at Mitsubishi, Japan
Detailed account of how an Indian worker was lured to Japan and discriminated and harassed and how that led to a human rights lawsuit.