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History: 1781 - 1944

Takeda Starts as a Small Medicine Wholesaler


Chobei Takeda

Chobei Takeda

Over two centuries ago in 1781, 32-year-old Chobei Takeda I started a business selling traditional Japanese and Chinese medicines in Doshomachi, Osaka, the center of the medicine trade in Japan. His small shop bought medicines from wholesalers, then divided them into smaller batches and sold them to local medicine merchants and doctors. This was the beginning of the present-day Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.


Import of Western medicines begins

Chobei Takeda IV led other medicine retailers in turning his attention to Western medicine. He formed a cooperative union for purchasing Western medicines in Yokohama and began transactions with foreign trading companies. Western medicines imported at the time included quinine, an anti-malaria drug, and phenol, an anti-cholera drug.

Takeda began direct imports from England, the U.S., Germany, Spain and other countries around 1895, and in 1907 obtained exclusive sales rights in Japan for products from German company Bayer. Thus, the business that began as a shop selling old-fashioned Japanese and Chinese remedies steadily increased its selection of Western medicines, before shifting its basic orientation to Western medicine.

Establishment of an Integrated Business, from R&D and Manufacturing to Sales


Pharmaceutical manufacturing business launched

In 1895, the Company acquired Uchibayashi Drug Works to establish its own factory in Osaka and became a pharmaceutical manufacturer. This factory produced products such as bismuth subgallate (an antidiarrheal agent) and quinine hydrochloride.


Research activities begin with establishment of a research division
Takeda Research Division (1925)

Takeda Research Division (1925)

Around this time, Takeda began introducing a succession of its own products. Among these were Calmotin®(a sedative), Novoroform®(an analgesic) and Lodinon®(an injectable form of D-glucose). Takeda steadily expanded its pharmaceutical business and even began exports to the U.S., Russia and China.


Incorporated as Chobei Takeda & Co., Ltd.

The Company was incorporated as Chobei Takeda & Co., Ltd., with capital of 5.3 million yen and Chobei Takeda V as president. The Company went from being an individually owned business to a modern corporate organization integrating R&D, manufacturing and marketing.

The Company changed its name to Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. in 1943 (its English name was changed to Takeda Chemical Industries, Ltd. in 1961).

Head Office of Chobei Takeda & Co., Ltd. (1928)

Head Office of Chobei Takeda & Co., Ltd. (1928)

Picture of a laboratory experiment (1939)

Picture of a laboratory experiment (1939)

The Osaka Plant (1935)

The Osaka Plant (1935)

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