Kao celebrates the 100th anniversary of Sumida Complex, its facility in Tokyo; the site has evolved from mass-production to include new Incubation Center Tokyo, which develops new products and services from a manufacturing standpoint

Sample article from our Consumer packaged goods (CPG)

October 23, 2023 (press release) –


Kao Corporation’s Sumida Complex (Sumida Ward, Tokyo) began operation as the Tokyo Azuma factory in 1923, and celebrated its 100th anniversary in August 2023.

The Sumida Complex, which has the longest history in the Kao Group, has developed alongside the community while providing a variety of products that contribute to the enrichment of people’s lives and transform people’s lifestyles.

Now, Kao is changing from traditional mass production and mass consumption to manufacturing that places less of a burden on resources and the environment. Kao will continue to evolve together with local communities in order to help people live richer lives and create a caring and resource-circulating society that develops sustainably.

The Tokyo Azuma factory
at the beginning of operation in 1923

The current Sumida Complex

The Sumida Complex makes use of its proximity to consumers to further strengthen activities that are rooted in the local community, get to know consumers better, and their functions including R&D, business, supply chain, administration, and others are working together to develop valuable products and services that respond to diverse needs.

The Tokyo Plant within the Sumida Complex has been launched as the Incubation Center Tokyo for new businesses and challenges. The Sumida Complex is also creating environments that connect people to create new value. Kao promotes the transformation into a base to provide products and services kind to people, society and the Earth.

In addition, the Sumida Complex has been working on community development and disaster prevention in collaboration with Sumida Ward, including the construction of a new plaza open to the community, development of safe and comfortable walking spaces and temporary evacuation sites in the event of a disaster, reduction of environmental impact by utilizing highly durable pavement made from waste PET and solar power generation, and the environmental protection by creating green spaces. The Sumida Complex will continue to contribute even more to local communities and continue to act as a well-loved workplace.

The challenge of creating new products and services through the Incubation Center Tokyo

The Tokyo Plant evolved from being a factory for mass-production to the Incubation Center Tokyo (ICT) which promotes the agile development of new products and services from a manufacturing standpoint. The ICT’s goal is to satisfy consumers’ needs by providing genuinely appealing solutions with the development of new markets and ground-breaking products and services that have never been before.


Creating new products and services through the ICT

New products with special features
and new businesses that “protect lives”


Initiatives to contribute to the local communities and reduce environmental impact

New plaza open to the community

Safe and comfortable walking spaces

Environmental protection
through the creation of green spaces

Yukeijuku, a space where people connect and create value (Planned completion in 2025)

The history and future of the Sumida Complex

Since the Sumida Complex began its operation, it has produced a high-quality toiletry soap and Kao’s inaugural product, Kao Sekken, as well as Kao Shampoo, which brought the custom of “hair washing” to Japanese people and established the term “shampoo” in society, Japan’s first washing detergent Kao Kona Sentaku, Bioré facial cleanser launched as a replacement for soap, Kao Sofina cosmetics based on dermatology, and other products that contribute to the enrichment of people’s lives and transform people’s lifestyles.

The Sumida Complex, which employs the most people within the Kao Group, is a part of a community with a large number of residential buildings close by. Through consumer research and cultural exchange activities, the Sumida Complex has grown together with the community.

Cultural exchange activities with members of the community

With the corporate purpose “to realize a Kirei World in which all life lives in harmony,” Kao Group established its ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan in 2019, and since 2021, has been employing the Kao Group Mid-term Plan with its vision of “protecting future lives” and “sustainability as the only path.”

The Sumida Complex will transform into a base for quality manufacturing from an ESG perspective that places less of a burden on resources and the environment for the future and will continue to evolve together with local communities in order to help people live richer lives and create a caring and resource-circulating society that develops sustainably.


About Kao

Kao creates high-value-added products and services that provide care and enrichment for the life of all people and the planet. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries, and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America, and Europe. Combined with its chemical business, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,550 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 35,400 people worldwide and has 136 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.


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