A History of Niterra Co., Ltd.

The history of Niterra Co., Ltd. is a history of taking on
challenges in new fields.

Our history, which began in 1937 with the manufacture of spark plugs,
has always involved meeting the challenges of solving society's problems in response to the changing times.

Having inheriting our commitment to technology and quality from the DNA of the Morimura Gumi,
we will continue to rise to the challenge of creating new value and becoming a truly indispensable company
through innovative manufacturing that opens up a path to the future.

History of the Morimura Group

The Morimura Group, a leading corporate group in the Japanese ceramics and porcelain industry, traces its roots back to 1876, when Morimura Gumi (now Morimura Bros., Inc.) was founded by brothers Ichizaemon and Toyo Morimura, pioneers of the Japanese trading industry.

The history of the Group dates back to January 1904, when the founders of Morimura Gumi established Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha (later Nippon Toki Ltd.; now Noritake Co., Limited), which was followed by the spinoff in May 1917 of the company’s sanitary ceramics division to form Toyo Toki Co., Ltd. (now TOTO Ltd.) and by the spinoff in May 1919 of the insulators division to form NGK Insulators, Ltd.

Also in May 1919, Okura Art China (currently Okura Art China, Inc.) was established. In February 1924, Ina Seito Co., Ltd. (now INAX Corporation; merged with TOSTEM in October 2001) was established. In September 1936, Nitto Gypsum Co., Ltd. (which merged with Noritake Co., Limited in June 1985) was established. In October 1936, NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. (currently Niterra Co., Ltd., a spinoff from the NGK Insulators, Ltd. spark plug division) was established, forming the foundation of the Morimura Group today.

History of the Morimura Group

Spirit passed down from generation to generation

NGK SPARK PLUG (※) was founded in 1936. Tracing its roots back to the Morimura Gumi (1876), founded by Ichizaemon Morimura, the founder of the Morimura Group, the company has a history of more than 140 years.
※Changed English company name to Niterra

Ichizaemon Morimura, the founder, was an honest and dedicated man of commerce. Determined to recover his fortune, which had been lost overseas, he rose to the challenge of undertaking overseas trade for the sake of his country. Eventually, his business ventures led him to the manufacture of ceramics and porcelain, and the Morimura Group was born.

Niterra is the ultimate product of this destiny.

Spirit passed down from generation to generation

"The Unselfish Life of Ichizaemon Morimura" was published

In April 1998, Soshisha Publishing released "The Unselfish Life of Ichizaemon Morimura" by Yukio Sunagawa.

Just what kind of secrets and history lies behind the formation of the Morimura Group?

What kind of person was Ichizaemon Morimura, who was the man behind the Group's formation, and what kind of contributions did he make to society?

His noble spirit, superior management techniques, and surprisingly austere way of life that have until now been almost entirely unknown are vividly and tangibly depicted in this book.

The Unselfish Life of Ichizaemon Morimura was published
List price 2,000 yen

Tracing our history from
the birth of Morimura Gumi

to the modern day


1876 Sixth-generation head of the family Ichizaemon Morimura and his brother Toyo established the Morimura Gumi in Tokyo.
Younger brother Toyo traveled to the United States and started a miscellaneous goods retail business.
1878 Toyo Morimura established the Hinode Shokai Morimura Brothers store in New York (changed to Morimura Brothers in 1881)
1897 Morimura Bank established (merged with Mitsubishi Bank in 1929)
1899 Research institute founded at the Nagoya branch of Morimura Gumi, which commenced research into the manufacture of white hard porcelain.
(Left) Toyo Morimura, (Right) Ichizaemon Morimura
(Left) Toyo Morimura, (Right) Ichizaemon Morimura

Honesty and Passion

Delivering good products on time at affordable prices. Morimura Brothers' honest attitude was appreciated even in the U.S., where the culture was different, and the company established its credibility. The modest trading that had started in the spirit of self-reliance and refusal of support from the Meiji government gradually grew into a major business as Morimura Brothers gained a reputation for honesty and passion.

(Left) Magobei Okura, (Right) Kazuchika Okura
(Left) Magobei Okura, (Right) Kazuchika Okura

Seeking to satisfy customers with quality products
"We will not sell anything that is useless after the customer takes possession of it"

Magobei Okura, who was in charge of purchasing, was committed to integrity in terms of products. That integrity was passed down to his eldest son, Kazuchika, who preached that "a supply of quality products and the satisfaction of consumers is the reality that we need to grasp." Based on this commitment to quality products, the various Morimura ceramics companies flourished.

1900s to 1930s

1917 The sanitary ceramics division of Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha was spun off to establish Toyo Toki Co., Ltd. (now TOTO Ltd.)
Restructured as an incorporated company, Nippon Toki, Ltd.
1919 Nippon Toki's insulator division was spun off to establish NGK Insulators, Ltd.
Okura Art China, Inc. was established
1921 NGK Insulators commenced research on spark plugs
1930 NGK Insulators launched spark plugs for sale
1936 The spark plug division of NGK Insulators Ltd. was spun off as NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. (※)
1937 NGK SPARK PLUG (※) started production of NGK spark plugs

※Changed English company name to Niterra

Magoemon Ezoe (first president of Niterra Co., Ltd.)
Magoemon Ezoe
(first president of Niterra Co., Ltd.)

Total participation, consistent products:
"Even if only one product in a thousand is defective, the customer who buys it has a 100% defective rate"

With the move from tableware to industrial products, the demand for consistency and uniformity of products became more stringent. In order to realize products that consistently delivered the performance that customers demanded, Magoemon Ezoe required discipline and a strong sense of participation from his employees. This philosophy of "producing quality products" and "participation of all employees," in which all employees in all workplaces dedicate themselves to the principles of "monozukuri" in order to produce quality products, has been passed down through the generations at Niterra Co., Ltd.

Morimura Group Map of
Company History

Morimura Group Map of Company History

Introduction to Morimura Group Companies
and Affiliated Organizations

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