amuse boucheThe Story of IKINABATA around You
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1890s: Signature of Katsutaro Inabata, our founder

This is the signature of Katsutaro on a letter sent to a transaction partner in France shortly after our founding.
The name "Inabata" follows the initials "I. K."
The letter also included placement of an order to the Lumiere Brothers, who invented the cinematograph, the first motion-picture camera/projector which Katsutaro was trying to import from France. 


1893 and 1895: Ads in industrial journals

In its early days, Inabata Senryoten (renamed to Inabata Shoten in1893) sold dyestuffs imported first from a major French dye manufacturer, "Société Anonyme des Matierès Clolorantes & Produits Chimiques de St. Denis," followed by many other manufacturers overseas. Katsutaro placed advertisements for his products in journals of related industries published in various regions. He also endeavored to enlighten industries about the products by contributing commentary on dyeing methods. The ads of the day had a design accented with the IK logo.

1894: Stage curtain sent to the Ichikawa Sadanji troupe

In cooperation with Nippon Orimono (Japan Textile Company), one of Japan's two leading weaving companies, Katsutaro Inabata succeeded in commercializing Orihime Shusu, a domestically-produced black satin product to replace the imported satin “Nanking-Shusu” then in vogue.
Along with the sales of Orihime, a troupe led by kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanji staged Orihime no Shusu Enishi no Iroito, a play to publicize the product, at the Meiji-za theater in Tokyo. The stage curtain sent to the troupe by Inabata Shoten for this staging also bears the IK logo.


1897: “Happi” uniform at Inabata Dye House

In 1897, when the level of domestic dyeing technology was gradually rising, Katsutaro established Inabata Dye House which was dedicated to dyeing work. He introduced state-of-the-art dyeing machines and the latest dyes from overseas, and took a personal hand in cultivating the development of technicians and workers at the Dye House. Until it was handed over to Toyobo Co., Ltd. in 1935, Inabata Dye House devised and produced excellent goods including maroon dyes used for women's “hakama” style skirts and khaki dyes for military uniforms.


1897: Relocation to Osaka

In October 1897, Katsutaro moved Inabata Shoten to the Minami-Semba (where our head office is still located) in Osaka, Japan's biggest center of commerce at that time. He made the move so the company could achieve an additional leap, and used the new location as the headquarters of the business. In the photograph of the relocated store can be seen several boxes marked with the IK logo.


From 1897 to around 1917: Souvenir towel from the Osaka store of Inabata Shoten

The IK souvenir towel was presented to customers in this period.


1901: The new Tokyo branch in Horidome-cho

As the domestic economy rapidly developed, the company opened up an office in the Hongoku-cho district of Tokyo's Nihonbashi Ward in 1894. In 1901, the company opened the new Tokyo branch store in Horidome-cho. The IK logo is displayed high on the wall of the new building for all to see.


1918: Establishment of Inabata & Co., Ltd. 

Reacting swiftly to the changing times, Katsutaro converted his privately-run store into a corporation to pave the way for further advancement of the business. The design of the stock certificates issued upon incorporation also bears the IK logo.