Marunaka History

Tochizawa village (with green-tea field) It is an hour's drive outside Shizuoka city.
Marunaka Tekkosho Inc. was founded by my grandfather NAKATARO MOCHIZUKI. He was born in 1909 in the very poor village of Tochizawa, as the first-born son.
He had 5 elder sisters and 1 younger sister. He was the only son… His family was very poor and sometimes he could get only one meal a day, and already at the age of 9, he was sent out to landlord’s house as live-in babysitter. Then, in 1920, at the age of 12, he was sent to a small ironworks factory in Shizuoka city serving as an apprentice. The name of the factory was “Maruzen Iron Works.” He worked very hard and diligently, so he was commended by Shizuoka Chamber of Commerce for “excellent apprentice” at the age of 20.
When he became 21 years old, he had to take the examination for conscription. As the result, he was exempted because he was too small to go to military service. (he was only 150cm tall or so…)
NAKATARO MOCHIZUKI in 1930 (21 years old)

In 1932 he was married and the same year in November, Toshihei Mochizuki (=my father) was born. Next year he went independent and established “MARUNAKA TEKKOSHO” (1933, the age of 24) First he started to make wooden clogs machines, because clogs were wanted at that time.

The name of “MARUNAKA” was made by two names “MARU+NAKA”; one is “MARU” which was named after “MARUzen Ironworks”, because he owe a lot to Maruzen Iron Works who brought him up to a good craftsman. The another one is “NAKA” which was taken from “NAKAtaro”, the name of his own.

During WWII, the factory was assigned as a subcontractor of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry which was ordered by Naval Department and he was forced to produce bullets in his factory.

Marunaka 1942

1945 June 19, city of Shizuoka was destroyed by B-29 bomber (total 137 airplanes). The factory was burned down completely. ….My father told me that he clearly remember that his father(Nakataro) was crying so loudly standing beside the burned factory. My father told me that has never seen his father crying so much. (at that time, my father 12, and grandfather 36)

Factory over view (1950’s)

He rebuilt a factory in May 1946, but it was very poor factory at first. But he worked very hard and gave clogs machines many imaginative and original improvements.

Old catalogue of wooden clogs machine
Wooden tea boxes
Holzkiste innen
Covered by tinfoil to prevent moisture

In 1948, MARUNAKA TEKKOSHO INCORPORATED was established as a cooperate organization.
He invented many machines and devices, especially among them, the super surfacer is the biggest best seller machine ever and it formed the basis of Marunaka’s development.

The background of the invention of the super sufacer machine was: <>
Prefecture Shizuoka is a major producer of green tea since long time. Even now it holds about 40% of all Japan green tea production. So, there was a big demand for wooden tea box but the surface of the box was finished all by hand at that time (hand planed). My grandfather, Nakataro saw many of such factories in 1950’s. Then he began to think “how about finishing the surface by a machine…..” This is the start of the invention of the surfacer machine.

Wooden tea boxes are still produced now.
This is an example of a factory who makes wooden tea box:

You can see our super surfacer machine.

“The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” in 1979 (70 years old)

At an early stage of surfacer machine which he made was not perfect. It took about 10 years until the machine was known widely as “super surfacer” and began to sell well. (It was not until 1961 that he got the first patent as “automatic surface finishing machine”). When super surfacer became popular, he received a lot of claims from craftsman who worked for finishing wooden tea box; “Don’t take our job away! Stop selling the machine!……”
At a later date he used to say that “a lot of users and dealers came to my factory even from long distances bringing cash in their bags and beg me to sell machines.” He got more than 100 patents and utility model registration of his own name until he died in 1993 at the age of 84.
During his lifetime, he received a lot of certificates of commendation for his work and contribution to the woodworking industry.
Among them, it must be a greatest honor for him that he was commended “Medal of Yellow Ribbon” in 1971, and also “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” in 1979. Both times, he was received in audience by the Emperor at the Imperial Palace.

At the Imperial Palace

Export of Marunaka machinery started in June1954. The very first one was wooden sandals manufacturing plant to Malaysia and to Burma.
In 1955, Marunaka exhibited wooden sandals plant at “The 1st Tokyo International Exhibition”, there
made an export contract with a sales agent of Philippines.

Export business became very busy after patents of Super Surfacer (1971) and a patent of Lengthways Veneer Slicer (1972) were granted in the U.S.A.
From that time to the present, there are a lot of overseas customers in more than 42 countries.


Der Vulkan Fuji von Shizuoka aus gesehen

My grandfather had 7 children, 4 sons and 3 daughters. (one son was died in childhood)
As a policy of his own, he did not allow his all sons entering Marunaka Tekkosho Inc.
He granted only eldest son (=may father) as the successor of the company and let him enter.
The reason is: If two or more bothers are in the same company, soon or later, they will be broken up because of arguments….So he believes firmly.
Therefore, my grandfather established new companies one after another for his sons as follows:

Marunaka Tekkosho Inc. ~ My father (eldest son)
Marunaka & Co., Ltd / Marunaka International Inc. ~ Second son
Manufacturing mainly NC Boring machine, Edge-banding machine, Wrapping machine Dainaka Seiki ~ Third son. (this company was closed down in 2003 and not existing anymore) They used to manufacture Super Surfacer, Knife Grinder for Marunaka Tekkosho Inc.

I (Kiyoshi Mochizuki) am the third generation of Marunaka Tekkosho Inc.
When I entered Marunaka Tekkosho Inc. in 1985, Japanese economy was very good.(so called “bubble economy”). However, after the collapse of the bubble economy of Japan in the beginning of 1990’s, we were suffering from poor business results for a long time. I had to fire many employees, specially aged workers who worked for us many years, this was a painful experience for me. Now Japan is getting into an era of a “aging society”, and a “shrinking population”. But our company has to continue somehow. Japanese people are familiarized themselves with wooden culture through the ages. Touching the wood is very pleasing and comfortable. This “softness” and “warmth” make people calm and peace. So I believe the demand of the wood will never be lost and its style of usage will take many different forms to meet the needs of the times. In addition, nowadays, we have “following wind” for wooden industry. The reason is, for preventing of global warmth is being cried for world-wide and the usage of much wood is quite effective for fixation of CO2.

The Olympics come to Tokyo in 2020, so Japaese government already started to finance(or to give subsidy) for non-residential large scale constructions using timber for their frames or for interior furnishings. So we believe we could survive as long as we make an effort to embody such demand into machinery somehow.
On the otherhand, we know that inventing a new machine (or equipment, system etc.) for wooden industry is very hard and difficult. So, we should make also an effort to get into other industries using our technology which we have cultivated in wooden field. For example, we succeeded to sell slicing machines to IT industry.(for slicing “functional resin”)
In this way I think we could manage to survive. I don`t want my company bigger and bigger, but like to be “small but unique & muscularity” and continue forever.

February 25, 2016

Kiyoshi Mochizuki

Storch Industrie-Anlagen GmbH
Eilenau 123
GER 22089 Hamburg / Germany