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The Standard of Perfection in Fine Porcelain Wares

A Brief Overview of the History of Noritake

Noritake celebrated its 100 year anniversary in January of 2004.

Baron Morimura was born into a merchant family in 1839 who acted as purveyors to the Tokugawa Feudal Shogunate Governing Lords 1603 - 1868 and more. At the Age of 20 he joined a high level delegation to the US after for reciprcial trade negotiations in 1859 after the visit by Commodore Perry in 1852 to Japan.

In 1876 'the founder' Baron Ichizaemon Morimura founded 'Morimura Bros Inc.', not long after Japan opened its doors to the world (end of the Feudal Sogunate Governing Lords 1868), and established export office in Toyko and a retail and wholesale office in New York trading as 'Morimura Brothers Co'. With his astute business acumen he realised that the American market was positioned to receive imports of Japanese porcelain. The range of products imported during this period to the U.S.A., were china, gifts and other decorative products sourced from independent factories around Nagoya.

The original company comprised the following directors -
  • Magobei Okura (father - later founding Okura Art China 1919)
  • Jitsuei Hirose
  • Yasukata Murai
  • Kazuchika Okura and (son - later founding Okura Art China 1919)
  • Kotaro Asukai

Morimura Brothers in New York 1876
Reproduced with permission
Noritake (Australia) Pty Ltd
In order to ensure that his exports were of the highest quality, 'the founder' recognised the need to control production. In 1904 he established the 'Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha' (the forerunner of the present Noritake Co., Limited) and the first factory was constructed in the then small village town of Noritake, Nagoya, Japan.

Six years later, in 1910, the first china products from the new company, called Nippon Toki Kaisha, left Japan for the U.S.A. market.

The mark used on these wares was the 'M' (standing for Morimura) in the wreath (and was also the crest of the Morimura Family) with the words Hand Painted Nippon. This early period of porcelain production was known as the NIPPON ERA 1968 to 1921. This coincided with the reign of 2 Japanese Emperor's Meiji - 1868 - 1912 and Taisho - 1913 - 1926.

The use of the name 'Nippon' on products imported into the USA at the time was a requirement resulting from the 'McKinley Tariffs & Customs Administrative Act of June 10, 1890', (McKinley Act - highest protective measure ever proposed to Congress) which required in part
  • It advanced duties ad valorem on a considerable number of commodities, both raw materials and manufactured articles.
  • All foreign goods imported into the USA be marked with the country of origin in English.
Japan decided on the use of the name 'Nippon,' as the translated work to english for Japan. In 1921 the USA, deemed the use of the word 'Nippon' unacceptable and required the country of origin name to be 'Japan'.

In 1941 the export offices were closed and the 'M' was changed to an 'N' for Noritake post WW2 Japan. However some pieces with the letter 'M' were produced till around 1953.

There is believed to be more than 400 variations of back marks used on products associated with Noritake which include the founding companies of the Moriumura Brothers.

In 1981 the company changed its name to Noritake Co., Ltd.

Today, the Noritake Company has diversified its 'core ceramic technology' to a cutting-edge company base, which operates five business groups -
  • Industrial Products,
  • Tabletop,
  • Electronics,
  • Ceramics & Materials, and
  • Environmental Engineering
The Noritake Company still holds true to the Philosophy set out by Ichizaemon Morimura VI in 1919.

The timeline chart below maps the progress of the Noritake Company from its beingings to present day.

Information compiled is © and ™ and has been researched
with written consent of Noritake (Australia) Pty Ltd.


  • Morimura Ichitaro (Later Ichizaemon VI) and his brother Toyo founded "Morimura Gumi" at Ginza 4-chome, Tokyo. On March 10, Toyo sailed from Yokohama for America in December, Toyo, Sato Momotaro and Date Chushichi established the retail store "Hinode Shokai" in a partnership at 6th Street, New York.

  • Established Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha., established at 510, Mukai, Noritake, Takaha-mura, Aichi-gun, Aichi-ken. (Now, 31-1-36, Noritake Shinmachi, Nish-ku, Nagoya, Japan)


  • Began production of grinding wheels for in-house use


  • Succeeded in production of the first dinner set in Japan


  • Nitto Shokai, established in Nagoya for the home market. (Now, Noritake Sales, Ltd)



  • Electric insulator division spun off to become (The Nippon Gaishi Kaisha, Limited) NGK Insulators Ltd. Established in Nagoya
  • Okura Art China, established in Tokyo. (Now Okura China, Inc)


  • Nitto Yoko, established in Semarang.


  • Nitto Yoko, established in Soerabaja.


  • Began production of first bone china in Japan



  • Began full-scale production of industrial grinding wheels


  • Tableware production stopped on account of World War II, changed to full production of grinding wheels (only bone china production continued to preserve technique)


  • Production of tableware resumed


  • 1946 Morimura Gumi was renamed Morimura Shoji K.K. (MORIMURA BROS., INC.)
    Capitalized at ¥2,500,000. (Morimura Bldg., 3-1, Toranomon 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8451, Japan)


  • Established Noritake Co., Inc. in the United States


  • Began production of stainless steel flatware (cutlery)


  • Established Noritake (Australia) Pty. Ltd. in Australia (Registered in Australia on the 07/08/1958)
  • Noritake Co., Limited and Toto Ltd. contracted the production agreement with Gladdin McBean & Co., U.S.A. (Brand name Franciscan)


  • Began production of resinoid grinding wheels at the Kamori Plant


  • Began production of crystal glassware
  • Began production of melamine ware


  • Began production of grinding & ceramic abrasives


  • Began production of belt and fabric abrasives, coated Abrasives

  • Established Noritake Canada Ltd. In Canada


  • Began production of grinding wheels
  • Began production of electronic products


  • Established Noritake (U.K.) Ltd. In the United Kingdom

  • Began production of filtration equipment
  • Stared to produce Earthenware
  • Started to produce Stoneware


  • Established Noritake Lanka Porcelain (Pvt.) Ltd. in Sri Lanka
  • Began production of ceramic pipes


  • Began production of diamond tools


  • Established Noritake Porcelana Mfg. Inc. in the Philippines


  • Noritake Ireland Limited, established in Ireland


  • Began operation of the Craft Center
  • Began production of materials and equipment for the ceramics industry


  • Morimura Bros. (U.S.A.), Inc. established in New York and Los Angeles Branch opened.


  • Changed the Company name to Noritake Co., Ltd.


  • Established Noritake Europa G.m.b.H. in Germany


  • Established Noritake Taipei Co., Ltd. in Taiwan
  • Morimura Bros. (Europe) B.V. established in The Netherlands.


  • Began production of fine ceramic industrial products


  • Established Noritake Hong Kong Ltd.
  • Morimura Bros Inc. - Chettinad MB-F Hi Silica Pvt., Ltd. established in India.


  • Established Noritake Singapore Pte. Ltd.


  • Opened the Noritake Gallery
  • Shunsuke Morimura appointed President of Morimura Bros Inc.


  • Established Pt. Noritake Indonesia
  • Hong Kong Liaison Office opened Morimura Bros Inc..


  • Established Noritake (Siam) Co., Ltd. in Thailand


  • Established Itron (U.K.) Ltd. in the United Kingdom
  • Morimura Bros., (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. established.


  • Established Noritake Dental Supply Co., Ltd.


  • Onoda Morimura Magnesium Ltd. established in Toki Morimura Bros Inc..
  • Assumed full control of Morimura Bardiche from BASF, and restructured the company as a wholly-owned subsidiary under the new name, Morimura Chemical Ltd.


  • Morimura Bros Inc., Assumed full control of Besho Plastic Co., Ltd. from Bakelite Shoji Co., Ltd. (Company name retained).
  • Morimura Bros., (H.K.) Ltd. established in Hong Kong.


  • Established Noritake Gypsum Co., Ltd.
  • Opened the Noritake Garden


  • Established Noritake Bonded Abrasives Co., Ltd.
  • 2002 Yusuke Morimura appointed President. Moralco Limited shall merge with Alcoa Kasei Limited and change the name of company to Alcoa Chemicals Japan Limited.iPresently Almatis Ltd.


  • 2003 Morimura Bros., (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. established in China.


Noritake Display Technique
Noritake Co., Ltd Japan - 2004 Annual Report
Noritake Australia Pty Ltd
The Collector's Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain, Joan Van Patten
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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