Mitsubishi Group, sometimes called Mitsubishi Companies or Mitsubishi Group of Companies, is a group of Japanese companies that cover a massive range of different businesses and types of products. Even though they have a variety of different types of products among all of those divisions and companies, they share the same brand, the same trademark and logo, and ultimately, the same origin. The origins of the company begin more than 140 years ago.
The company began as a shipping business, started by Yataro Iwasaki in 1870. The name became Mitsubishi Shokai in 1873. The etymology of the name is actually interesting, as well. Mitsu means three and hishi, or bishi, becomes water caltrop, which is where they get the rhombus. This is why they have three diamonds in their logo. Some translate it to mean three diamonds.
The company started as a shipping business, but they quickly learned just how important diversification was. When they wanted to ship certain goods or items, if they couldn't easily access those goods, they would gather them themselves. One addition to the business led to another and another, and this was, ultimately, what allowed them to expand the business.
One of the examples often given to exemplify what Mitsubishi did surrounds coal. They wanted to ship coal, so they bought a coalmine, and they wanted to ship regularly, so they bought a shipyard. They learned how to repair ships in the yard and offered that as a service. They eventually offered insurance for those ships, too.
They created a number of entities over the years, including Mitsubishi Bank, founded in 1919, Mitsubishi Corporation, founded in 1950, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. This last group features a number of other subgroups in a variety of industries. They include Mitsubishi atomic industry, Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi Power Systems, and Nikon Corporation.
During WWII, the company created the Zero, or the Mitsubishi A6M, which was the naval fighter Japan used during the war. Their history has a bit of a dark side as well. During WWII, they used forced labor, including citizens of China and Korea, as well as allied POWs.
After the war, the company became a very important part of the new growth that Japan experienced, as well as a huge factor in all of the technological advances in the country during that period.
Today, they continue to look at more and more areas where they can spread their brand. For example, they announced in 2013 that they wanted to takeover Yonekyu Corp, a Japanese meat processor.
The company has a very interesting business structure that one would not expect from such a large group of companies. They do not have an actual parent company. Instead, they are a group of 40 or so individual companies, and each of these companies owns part of the other companies in the group. The three main companies handle the operations itsubishi Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The heads of the top 25 companies in the group will meet with one another once per month to discuss business, policies, and more.
They have used this method of operating their businesses for a long time, and it seems to work quite well for them. While some of the businesses may have their bumps along the way, overall, they are a very successful company with a strong brand.
One of the interesting things about the brand, which some other companies share, is the fact that a single name single name, Mitsubishi, stands for so many different types of industries. Still, the power of the brand means the same thing whether someone is buying a vehicle or anything else the company makes.
The group features a variety of companies including some that many may not realize are a part of Mitsubishi at first. Companies that part of the core group include Asahi Glass Co., Meiji Yasuda Life, Mitsubishi Logistics, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Plastics, and Mitsubishi Steel Mfg Co., Nippon Oil Corporation, and Nikon.
The company continues to grow and continues to push their name and brand into as many areas as possible, keeping the same philosophy as their founder.