Each great story begins with a big dreamer: Shozaburo Shimano.
Shozaburo in February 1921, at the age of only 26, opened the Shimano Iron Works at Higashi Minato in the city of Sakai, a province of Osaka. Shimano’s ambitions were to produce the most technological component for the time: the freewheel. The financial resources were very scarce, so much so that the lathe to start production was borrowed, and the premises, rented for 5 yen per month, had an area of 40 square meters. In 1930 Shimano produced 30,000 free wheels at one speed. Shozaburo was so confident about the quality of his product that he decided to launch an innovative initiative for the time: every defective freewheel would be replaced by two more. The company’s success was such that in just 15 years the number of employees grew to 130. In 1940 Shozaburo Shimano became the first president of the company and remained in office until 1958, the year of his death.
The successor was Shozo Shimano. His leadership was the fortune of Shimano Inc. He remained at the wheel for 34 years, until 1992. Thanks to its capabilities, Shimano Inc. has become the world’s leading manufacturer of bicycle components and one of the top 10 industrial companies in Japan. All major innovations in the “bicycle components” sector took place during his presidency.
The third president and successor of Shozo was Keizo Shimano. Keizo is remembered for three important events during his presidency:
- the opening of the Bicycle Museum in Sakai;
- the launch of the first Stella Shimano reel;
- the presentation of the group Dura Ace 7410.
In 1995 Yoshizo Shimano was appointed 4th President of Shimano Inc. The new president had the honour of presenting a milestone in Shimano’s production:”DURA-ACE 25th anniversary”, the DURA ACE model produced for the 25th anniversary of its introduction on the market. The presidency of Yoshizo ended with the new millennium, which will give birth to the whirlwind “Millenium Edition” with the body plated in gold.
In 2001 Yozo, Shozo’s son, took over from Yoshizo: Yozo Shimano is the 5th president of the company, still in office. Since 2001 to date Shimano Inc. has continued to grow and renew itself, introducing a new technology in the bicycle sector called “Digital Integrated Intelligence, or Di2 in short, present for the first time in the DURA-ACE series.
To summarize Shimano’s philosophy it is important to bring back the thought that Yozo Shimano expressed in a letter.
Letter from Yozo Shimano 5th President Shimano
In this rapidly changing world, everyone is seeking a healthier and more enriched lifestyle. While it is important to accept changes proactively, we must also adhere to something basic, and something unchangeable, upon which we should create new value.
Shimano hopes to help realize such a wonderful lifestyle by offering bicycle components, fishing tackle, and rowing equipment. Taking advantage of our original technologies and a wealth of experience accumulated throughout Shimano’s 96-year history, we are developing innovative products that go beyond the expectations of cyclists, anglers, and rowers.
We believe that our Captivating Products should feature not only exceptional quality and performance, but also a fascinating design that appeals to respective users’ sensitivities at first touch.
Imagine a cyclist, riding a steep hill in cold and crisp air, hearing nothing but the sound of one’s own breathing…
An angler, casting for the first time in the morning haze, while envisioning the first fish he will encounter on that day…
And rowers, feeling refreshed while their boat slides smoothly across the calm water surface.
To ensure that many more people are able to share such joyful moments, and to spread such lifestyles as part of a long-cherished culture, rather than a fad or a short-term trend, all employees of Shimano will continue to make down-to-earth efforts, taking pride in being Team Shimano members.
In March 2021, Shimano will celebrate its centennial.
From our founder, we have inherited an enthusiastic commitment to creating truly reliable products with an uncompromising attitude toward manufacturing quality.
Toward the centennial and onwards, Shimano will keep on advancing as a Value Creating Company, working towards the development of bicycle, fishing, and rowing culture by offering our Captivating Products.
President, Shimano Inc.