Fukui, Japan is one of the three largest production regions for optical frames in the world, along with China and Italy. 97% of Japanese-made optical frames are manufactured in Fukui. Masunaga Optical premiered the production of eyeglasses in Fukui in 1905. The company founder Gozaemon Masunaga brought in skilled craftsmen from Osaka and Tokyo with the ambition of setting the optical industry solidly in place in Fukui.
He entered into the industry the hard way, and at first the eyeglasses manufactured in Fukui were regarded to be third-rate in the world. In order to raise the quality standards of the products, Gozaemon established a guild like system where full-fledged craftsmen could create their own businesses. Owing to this system, the number of eyeglass craftsmen increased gradually, and the optical industry spread all over Fukui.
There are as many as 200 manual processes involved in making an optical frame. Generally, productivity is low when one company is in charge of all the processes. However, Masunaga Optical is the only company in Japan that has a factory in charge of all processes from raw materials to production and finish in an integrated way. The integrated production system improves the detail and quality. For example, when Masunaga Optical develops a new model, the molds are always built in-house. If there is a problem in the wear comfort that can be felt only after completing one pair of glasses, it will be corrected in the previous process’ promptly.
The company’s mission statement since the establishment is “We manufacture excellent eyeglasses. We want to make a profit if we can, but we don’t hesitate to take a loss. It is always in our thoughts to manufacture excellent eyeglasses.” These words are still the basis of the conduct code of employees even more than 100 years after its establishment.
|Gozaemon Masunaga invites craftsmen from Osaka to live in Fukui and establish an optical frame industry in that region
|Masunaga wins its first Gold Medal at the National Manufacturing Trade Exhibition
|Improved technology for gold/copper and gold/silver frames
|Japan Manufacturer’s Association Award for services to trade and industry
|Emperor visits Fukui and is presented with 3 Masunaga frames
|Gozaemon Masunaga II takes over the company after death of the founder
|Main factory moves to present location in Fukui
|Company incorporates with Gozaemon Masunaga as President
Visit by Prince Takamatsu
|Visit by Prince Mikasa and former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida
|Visit by Crown Prince (the present Emperor) and Princess
|Masunaga frames placed in Osaka Expo Time Capsule
|Junichi Masunaga becomes President
|KOKI Europa (Switzerland) established
|Satoru Masunaga becomes President
|Sales begin of KOKI Sportsflex frames (made of shape memory metal)
|KOKI MASUNAGA Malaysia Sdn.Bhd. established
|KOKI MASUNAGA Hong Kong established
|Masunaga poster wins Boston Good Design Award
|Masunaga poster wins Chicago Good Design Award and becomes part of the permanent collection
|Visit by Prince Akishino and Princess
Masunaga Group, Inc. (USA) established
|Awarded the best prize of Sunglass as the first Japanese company at Silmo Award
Wins IF Design Award
Masunaga poster wins Red dot Award: awarded for communication design in the year 2001
Masunaga poster wins Industrial Art Director Award in 2000, 42nd catalogue & poster Fair
|Win Good Design Prize from Secretary of Small and Medium Enterprises
Masunaga poster wins Good Design Award
Masunaga poster wins Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 43rd catalogue & poster Fair
|Masunaga 1905 retail store opens in Aoyama, Tokyo
|Masunaga 1905 retail store opens at LACHIC in Nagoya
Release the centennial model on the 100th anniversary
Received Design Excellent Company Award
|Selected to 300 energetic manufacturers (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
|“MASUNAGA G.M.S. Limited 2013” won the Silmo d’Or 2013 Special Jury Prize.
|MASUNAGA designed by Kenzo Takada “Campanule” won the Silmo d’Or 2014 for the Sunglass category.
|MASUNAGA GMS-106 won the Silmo d’Or 2015 for the optic frame category.