- The Uyeno Group has grown by overcoming numerous crises through a series of innovations.
This section introduces the more than 150 years of history that have passed along
with the turbulent times that began with the opening of the port of Yokohama.
Yokohama developed along with the progress occurring during the Meiji Restoration and quickly grew to become the center of trade in Japan and home to many foreign trading houses. In 1869, Kinjiro Uyeno would establish Maruiya, a ship cargo handling office and inn near Noge Bridge (now Miyako Bridge) in Yoshida-machi. This was the beginning of the Uyeno Group.
Founder Kinjiro Uyeno was from Uyeno Village, Uma County in Iyo (now Doi Town, Uma County, Ehime Prefecture). At the end of the shogunate, the clan of Iyo-Matsuyama was assigned to guard the coast of Kanagawa Daiba (Yokohama). Perhaps hearing the news of prospering Yokohama is what promoted Kinjiro to go Kanagawa to participate in the battery construction project assigned to the clan. Through this involvement, Kinjiro directly felt the new breeze prevailing in Yokohama and decided to move there after returning to his home village for a short time. This was the kind of decision you would expect from someone with the business foresight of Kinjiro.
The businesses of Maruiya were the handling of trading goods to and from Boso, in Chiba Prefecture, and management of an inn for ships' crews and passengers. In those days, commodities and food were transported from Boso in sailing ships called godairikisen to feed the rapidly growing population of Yokohama. Although the early business of Maruiya was an inn for ships' crews and passengers, Kinjiro became aware of the growing volume of commodities being transported, and he started his own shipping business. With Yokohama as its homeport, his business expanded throughout Tokyo Bay and then to Shizuoka and northeastern areas of Japan.
Kinjiro's reputation as a reliable and honest businessman spread, and he gradually received more orders for cargo handling. He was later elected chairman of the Association of Inns, a group composed of representatives from 21 towns. His activities were not limited to the expansion of his business as he also contributed to the development of Yokohama.
In 1890, at the age of 16, Kametaro, the first son of Kinjiro, succeeded him in the family business. Two years preceding this transition, Kametaro started helping his father in the business, came to know their customers, and helped with collecting money and other tasks. Kametaro was very studious and in addition to working in the family business, he attended Tokyo Commercial College (now Hitotsubashi University). Although most merchants' sons of those days ordinarily found jobs after graduating from senior courses of the primary schools, Kametaro was an exception. He was so eager to learn, and his father Kinjiro had foresight to let him study.
Maruiya, however, was burned to the ground in the great fire of 1899. In his dedication to restore the family business, Kametaro interrupted college studies. It took him seven years to finally finish his studies and graduate. After graduation, he worked for Naigai Trading and Iwasaki Copper Trading House while also running Maruiya. He learned trading during this period despite being very busy. His busy schedule, however, did not keep him from his favorite activities, such as judo, boating, tennis and horseback riding. His vitality was amazing. Like his father, Kametaro was a man of few words with a determined spirit and a great caring for his fellow man.
An opportunity came to Kametaro who was anxious to restore his family business. Rising Sun Company asked him to transport petroleum. The newly founded Rising Sun was established by Samuel Company, known today as Showa Shell Sekiyu. At the time Kametaro was handling petroleum, it was transported in cans. These cans were often damaged when they were stuck against the ship. Kametaro then looked into this problem and reduced damage drastically by distancing the cans from ships' structures and by placing experienced personnel in key positions. With this accomplishment, Kametaro gained the confidence of Rising Sun. In 1909, a petroleum storage terminal was built in Fukagawamannencho, Tokyo. From this storage point the petroleum was to be distributed to Tokyo using tank wagons. Kametaro acquired three tank wagons of his own and entered the overland petroleum transport business.
The Great Kanto Earthquake and the financial crisis were overcome, but the shadow of war looms.
At noon on September 1, 1923, the ground began to shake violently. The Great Kanto Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 had occurred. In Kanagawa Prefecture alone, 66,366 houses were completely destroyed, and another 64,753 houses were totally burned in the fires that followed. Damage of this extent had never been experienced before. Kametaro and his family were in their house in the less affected area of Honmoku when the earthquake occurred, and the damage was considerably less. But the damage sustained by the newly organized (1918) Uyeno Kaisoten was serious. Fortunately, the employees were all safe, but the office and the warehouse in Kaigandori as well as the Maruiya Inn in Yoshida-machi were destroyed. The office building of Rising Sun was also demolished and the Hiranuma Oil Terminal was burned to the ground. Consequently, Rising Sun was forced to temporarily move its headquarters to Kobe. Their office was shifted to Marunouchi for their business in the Kanto region, which was resumed mainly with flammable oil and paraffin. Similarly damaged Uyeno Kaisoten rented space in the office of Omuragumi to resume their business. Despite the dire circumstances, Kametaro joined the Yokohama Reconstruction Association and worked hard for the reconstruction of Yokohama.
Rising Sun also began to build new oil storage terminals. In 1924, they built Tsurumi Oil Terminal to replace Hiranuma, and Yanagishima Oil Terminal to replace Fukagawa. Uyeno Kaisoten was transporting more than 25 shipments per month. Small tug boats were used to pull the barges full of oil. Hot bulb engines were used to power the tug boats, so they were equipped with iron cylinders and measures were taken to keep the gases generated inside the barges from leaking out. In 1926, the company was renamed Uyeno Unyu Shokai. At the same time, new offices were opened in Yamashita-cho, in a building belonging to Kametaro's uncle, Kichiji Watano. The financial crisis in the United States spread to Japan causing one bank after another to collapse and Uyeno Unyu Shokai also had a very difficult time. The rapid drop off in business forced the company to sell off its barges and take any other measures it could to hold things together.
In 1931, the Manchurian Incident occurred. The oil market was revived by war-time events and prices rose greatly. Rising Sun expanded its sale of oil and Uyeno's business volume grew proportionately. Having gained Rising Sun's confidence, Uyeno was given charge of all cargo operations and transportation, and as domestic demand rose, Uyeno's gasoline transport volume became No.1 in the country. The prosperity was short lived, however. In 1932, Japan entered pre-war conditions and the Strategic Industries Control Act was enacted. Petroleum was among one of the many commodities affected by the new law.
Emerging from the post-war confusion, Uyeno takes a big step forward with its sole agent agreement with Showa Shell.
In 1950, Uyeno began the overland transport of petroleum products exclusively for Shell Oil Company. Since that time, Uyeno has grown to be the second largest tank truck operator in Japan.
Established Japan Oil Network through a joint venture with Showa Shell Sekiyu and Heiwa Kisen.
Takashi Uyeno appointed as governor of Rotary International District 2590.
Uyeno Transtech and Hana Marine Co., Ltd. of South Korea established Uyeno Hana Transia S.A., a small ocean-going chemical tanker company (September 27).
Philippines NTMA Solar facility completed. (September 27)
Irago Escort Business attains 100,000trip no-accidents,no-disasters mile stone. (August 29)
Uyeno Group's first mega solar power system plant in Japan built in Inashiki, Ibaraki.
Uyeno Kosan acquired 100% stake in NCU Logistics, Ltd.
Establishment of TRANSNATIONAL UYENO SAFETY ACADEMY INC.
The head offices for Uyeno Transtech Corporation, Uyeno Logichem Corporation, NCU Logistics Corporation, Oxachem Corporation, Uyeno Green Solutions Corporation, as well as some functions of Uyeno Transport, Uyeno Industries moved to the Kasumigaseki Building.
The 3 marine environment companies Uyeno Marine Services Corporation, Chubu Marine Services Corporation, Ise Bay Disaster Prevention Corporation assimilated together and started operating as Uyeno Maritime Japan Corporation.
Uyeno Industries Corporation, Ltd changed name to Uyeno Group Holdings Ltd