History of the Challenges We Have Faced

The Bonds between people and a strong will not to give up.
The history of Matsuo Sangyo is a history of “challenges.”


The history of Matsuo Sangyo began with the first president, Akira Matsuo, founding the store Matsuo Akira Shoten in Minami-ku, Osaka in January 1938 in order to deal in and sell coating materials and nonferrous metals.
After that, he had to close the store temporarily because of the war but made a restart with one staff member, being supported by customers and friendship. On July 21, 1949, they formed a company, Matsuo Shoten Co., Ltd.

We discover aluminum paste.
The challenge to increase the number of customers

We were the first company to introduce aluminum paste to Japan. We had developed a wide range of relationships with the paint industry since the time of foundation, and the story began with an encounter with an unfamiliar sample can sleeping in a corner of a raw material warehouse of a paint manufacturer.It was brought back with permission and then analyzed and researched by staff members with great interest and the opinions of experts were sought. We were then convinced that it would become an epoch-making silver pigment that could replace conventional aluminum powder. In 1954, relying on many connections, we acquired distribution rights to the aluminum paste of Alcan Aluminum, one of the world's two largest aluminum ingot manufacturers. Although the distribution rights were obtained, the adoption of the aluminum paste by paint manufacturers made little progress, contrary to our initial intention, and aluminum pastes imported on the basis of contract were just piled up in a warehouse of the Yokohama Port. This was a serious financial burden for a microenterprise with a capital of one million yen and with ten employees, and within the company, there was some concern over their future prospects. As a result of company-wide sales activities with the future of the company at stake, we received a formal order of 500 kg from a major paint manufacturer for the first time. With this success, we gradually came to be recognized in the industry.

Since then, this new material that was first introduced to Japan by us has been indispensable for metallic painting, which became dominant in the paint industry. After that, Toyo Aluminium K.K. started producing aluminum paste domestically, and in 1957 we became its distributor to expand the sales. Through such sales experience, we established our way of proposal-based selling based exactly on customer needs such as applications development and acquired techniques, know-how, and insights into the times, eventually building the foundation of sales power: our strength. After that as well, we were to provide services in a variety of fields.

Aluminum Paste


Toward further business expansion.
Challenge to the automotive field

Our entry into the automotive industry started when we became an agent for Nagoya Rubber Co., Ltd (today’s Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd.) in 1957. For Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (today’s Subaru Corporation), we supplied a resin molded article for Subaru Rabbit (scooter) and in 1958 delivered wheels and other components for the start of production of Japan’s first domestic car Subaru 360, with our business expanding into the automotive field. Immediately after the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, motorization began in earnest in Japan and resulted in a jump in vehicle production. At the same time, our trading volume increased, and in 1968 we opened the Ota Local Office (the current Ota Branch) in Gunma Prefecture and provided services closely tailored to clients.


The delivery of steering wheels with airbag, which are now indispensable as an automobile safety system, started from 1991 after four years of trial and error. As a result of dealing in automotive parts as a team of professionals with technological expertise and participating in concept development and conceptual design when a car underwent a full model change every few years, our attitude to development and our commitment to quality were highly regarded. In 2001, we received 2001 Supplier of the Year Award from General Motors Company in the U.S. which was in a capital and business alliance with then Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. This award is given to a company recognized as especially excellent in quality, services, technology, and prices among suppliers around the world who have business relations. Our activities have been highly esteemed in the automotive industry.

Supplier of the Year AwardCommendation certificate and bronze statue

A trading company that knows manufacturing.
Challenge to the manufacturing field

The year 1964, when the Tokyo Olympics was held, is a year that marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of Matsuo Shoten Co., Ltd. We took this as an opportunity to change the company name to Matsuo Sangyo Co., Ltd., the current company name.We established Kyokutoukougyou Co., Ltd. for welding, pressing, and sheet metal processing and advanced toward becoming a trading company that also knows manufacturing.After making a restart together with one staff member after the war, our company took advantage of Japan's rapid economic growth while organizing the organizational structure as a company and striving for business expansion along with the development of the paint industry and automotive industry; this period is the so-called start-up period.The business that began at that time still continues as one of our core businesses.


Shift to aggressive management.
Challenge to new fields

During the 1970s, when the continuously growing economy began to decline, we shifted from aggressive management to steady management and expanded our reach into new business and international services.In 1970, when the Osaka Expo caused excitement all over Japan, we opened the Taiwan Office, our first overseas base, and promoted the expansion of the import export business with overseas companies.With the opening of this office, we established the import/export division to import and export a wide range of products such as chemicals for papermaking, agricultural and marine products, and accessories for a dress.On the other hand, In Japan, we tried new things one after another and diversified our business lines; for example, we became an agent for Showa Aluminum Corporation to deal in aluminum processed products, and sold optical fibers as an agent for SUMITA Optical Glass MFG. Co., Ltd.This attitude to try new things has been passed down to us without change.


In 1969, we started to import and sell the electrostatic powder coating machines of Gema Switzerland GmbH. In this era, the coating method to form a coating by applying powder by the action of static electricity and burning it at high temperature was still unfamiliar in Japan. Pollution began to be brought to the public eye as a major social issue and as the strain imposed by rapid economic growth. We then quickly discovered this coating system that was innovative in not using an organic solvent, which meant it is VOC-free and friendly to the environment and human body as well as being resource-conserving and low in cost because the coating material can be collected and reused. Then, we entered the field of coating machines, which was an unknown field for us, in order to develop new business.

In-house developed powder coating machine with constant feeder “SFC”

Our business, which started with sales of a coating machine as a stand-alone product, was greatly developed in 1978, when we supplied powder coating equipment to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (today’s Panasonic Corporation).It was the first large equipment for us, and it was extremely difficult to complete an automatic control line with the latest features at that time. In addition, we struggled hard to rework defective coatings that continued to occur over about half a year and to make improvements to the equipment. After that, however, the completion of this equipment allowed us to win an order for a seamless powder coating line of a big company and receive orders from overseas, and then the name “Powder Matsuo” began to take hold in the industry.After Gema Switzerland GmbH was acquired by Ransburg in the U.S. in 1982, we shifted direction toward developing our own products as a trading company and started the development of our original products to be sold under the Matsuo brand.

Responding to the trend of technological innovations that took place faster as the 1990s began, we put on the market our in-house developed products: “SFC,” a powder coating machine with constant feeder in 1991 and “Za Masatsu,” a triboelectric auto gun in 1993.「SFC came to be adopted in the automotive coating lines of America's Big Three automakers five years later, or in 1996. The next year, in 1997, it received the Prize for New Machine Developed by Small and Medium Enterprises.In 1994, we established Raseru Co., Ltd. to manufacture and sell laser equipment; the next year, in 1995, we formed a consortium with Itoh Optical Industrial Co., Ltd. and offered society new technology in the vapor deposition field.As described above, we at Matsuo Sangyo have built up a lot of experience not only in selling goods but also in the manufacturing field through our long history.Through past experience, we have grown to be a trading company that understands manufacturing as a manufacturer as well as the commitment to quality.


Rapid overseas development.
Taking on challenges with local staff

The 1990s was an era when we focused on the strengthening of the internal structure and actively promoted personnel system reform and the hiring of foreigners and young people. In those days, it was not usual for a foreigner to be hired, let alone to be promoted to an executive post, but since our entry into the Taiwan market in 1970, we have made efforts to build relationships of equality with local people. As such, a corporate culture such that “those who have made good performance should be valued whatever their nationality is” already took root throughout the company, allowing us to proceed with this reform ahead of other companies. After the 1990s, globalization spread very rapidly. In this era, many Japanese companies found that their business field was no longer limited to the domestic market. In the midst of the trend of globalization, we also opened the Singapore Branch in 1992 and promoted overseas activities, centering on selling aluminum paste to Japanese paste manufacturers who had advanced into various places in Asia.

Arriving in 2000, Asia, which accounts for more than half the population, began to drive the world economy. Then, we also concentrated our management resources on Asia and established subsidiaries one by one in China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.As a result of expanding our network while promoting the hiring of local workers, our sales channels now cover local companies as well as Japanese companies. The products we now deal in range from aluminum paste (our initial product) to coating materials in general, chemicals, electronic materials, and medical device-related products.

Ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the foundation of Shanghai Matsuo-Horsense Trading Co., Ltd.


Together with customers.
Taking on challenges with an eye toward the future

Since the foundation of the company, we have tackled and learned from any challenge aggressively with foresight and have been growing so far.As a result, we are trusted and relied upon by many partner companies. Looking back on our history of over 80 years, we are surprised once again by how many cases of failure there were.For example, a product based on a miscalculation; a product that was not actually used because the time was not ripe, although the idea itself was not bad; a project that we had to give up halfway because it was financially difficult for us at that time; and a product that ended its role and disappeared as time went by.What is always flowing underneath them is nothing but a spirit of taking on challenges which can also be said to be our DNA.Not only in the existing business but also in the field of AI, IoT, and other new technologies that are advancing rapidly, we will actively pursue the proposal of new solutions to customers while taking advantage of the mobility unique to a company with small but highly skilled work forces and repeating trial and error without losing the spirit of taking on challenges developed through our 80 years of history since our foundation.
  We look forward to your continued support of Matsuo Sangyo Co., Ltd.


As we have done until now, Matsuo Sangyo will continue to grow with its customers.