Okura & Co – first Japanese company to open in Britain

1837 Okura Kihachiro, founder of Okura, born in Niigata prefecture

1854 Kihachiro becomes an apprentice for a merchant house in Edo

1857 Kihachiro opens his own shop

1870 Kihachiro opens a Western style tailor store in Ginza

1871 Okura participates in construction of the Shinbashi Station

1872 Kihachiro makes an 18 month private trip to Europe, including London, where he met some members of the Iwakura Embassy

1873 Okuragumi Shokai founded

1874 first overseas branch opened in London. Yokoyama Magoichiro (1848-1911) sent to run it – spoke English – had been in Switzerland in Meiji 5 (1872) studying trade.

1882 Kihachiro’s son, Kishichiro born

1885 Okura & Co at 9 Fenchurch Avenue

1895 Okuda & Co at 84 Bishopsgate

1902 Okura & Co at 53 New Broad Street

1903-1906 Kishichiro studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, but does not graduate

1907 Kishichiro competes in first ever car race held at Brooklands, Surrey

1912 George Osborn is London Manager of Okura & Co. Born in Nanao, Japan in 1879 to Percival Osborn and Seto, nee Ogawa.

1922 Mr C Kadono, vice-president of Okura & Co visits Britain as part of the Japanese Industrial Mission. Tells Birmingham Chamber of Commerce that “I do not think that Motor Car Industry can be very promising in Japan.”

1953 Baron Okura visits UK to sound out the acquisition of manufacturing rights for helicopters and fighters.