History of Nippon Sanso Holdings

History of Nippon Sanso Holdings


The Dawn of Industrialization in Japan (1910~1980)


Establishment of Nippon Sanso Ltd.

One of the company’s founders, Mr. Takehiko Yamaguchi (founder of the current Azbil Corporation (formerly Yamatake Shokai) and the current NSK Ltd.) talked to the then deputy governor of the Bank of Japan and future prime minister Mr. Korekiyo Takahashi about his desire to start an oxygen business and his lack of capital to do so by himself. Mr. Takahashi’s interest was roused by Mr. Yamaguchi’s explanation that "the raw material is air," and approved a capital injection with the other board members of the Bank of Japan. The Nippon Sanso Ltd. partnership company was thus established.

Mr. Takehiko Yamaguchi

Historical background

Japanese industry at that time was focused mainly on light industries.

Oxygen production began to be industrialized in Europe.


Company name changed to Nippon Sanso Co., Ltd.

With the economic boom that occurred due to World War I, the scale of the company’s business expanded with the development of the mining industry, and the company’s name was changed to Nippon Sanso Co., Ltd. in 1918.

Nippon Sanso Corporation appearance

Toyo Sanso K.K. 1918-1994

Establishment of Toyo Sanso K.K.

Mr. Yoshihira Wada (founder of the current NAGANO KEIKI CO., LTD., formerly TOKYO KEIKI) became the incorporator of the company, and Mr. Takichi Ishii (founder of ISHII IRON WORKS CO., LTD.) and others were involved in its establishment. With the rise of industries related to iron and steel processing after World War I, the demands for oxygen within Japan rapidly increased, and the company was established for the future development of the country, its industries, and the medical field.

With the onset of the First World War and the development of industrial production in Japan, the demand for oxygen increased rapidly.

In the Spanish flu, people lined up in front of Nippon Sanso Co., Ltd.'s head office to get oxygen.


Completion of first Japanese-built air separation unit

The first Japanese-built air separation unit (ASU) for producing oxygen was successfully built by the company.

air separation plant


Taiyo Sanso Co., Ltd. 1946-1994

Establishment of Taiyo Sanso Co., Ltd.

Former submarine captain Mr. Genbei Kawaguchi established the company, with an oxygen-generating apparatus for producing oxygen used in oxygen torpedoes and for pressurized air within submarines as capital to start an oxygen supply business.

After the Second World War, the basic oxygen process of blowing in oxygen during the steel making process became popular, and oxygen became more valuable.



Beginning of full importation of helium gas, a rare resource

The company started the full-scale importation and sale of helium gas in 1964. Helium is required in a wide range of areas such as food, energy, communications, transportation, astronautics, and oceanic development.

One of the Helium usages

Postwar period of rapid growth

Spread of frozen foods


Establishment of Shunan plant, the first on-site plant system

We established the first on-site plant system, the Shunan plant (currently Shunan Sanso Co., Ltd.). This on-site plant system is in the form of an air separation facility constructed adjacent to the factory of a company that consumes a large amount of industrial gas, and supplies gas through a pipeline.

This system enables the stable supply of a large amount of gas to the large-scale steel factories, petrochemical industrial complexes, etc. that have facilitated the economic growth of Japan. The introduction of on-site plants continues to this day, and they have been instrumental in ensuring the company’s dominance in the Japanese market.

Shunan plant, the first onsite plant system

The nitrogen (inert gas) for security applications began to be used in the petrochemical industry.


Development of semiconductor-related gas business

Since about the 1970s, silicon has been used in the electronic industry in Japan. The company observed this trend and was an early investor in the development of the electronic material gases required for silicon semiconductor production processes, establishing its secure position in the electronics market.

The semiconductor, non-ferrous/metal, and aerospace/aircraft industries began to use oxygen, nitrogen, argon, etc. in their manufacturing processes. It also began to be used for spectroscopic analysis and as rocket fuel.



Commercialized the world's first stainless steel vacuum-insulated bottles

We were the first company in the world to commercialize the stainless steel vacuum-insulated bottles using vacuum technology and special welding. It was developed as the "Thermos" brand, and our range of products is still prized the world over.

New Tokyo International Airport (Narita International Airport) opened