Olympus was founded on October 12, 1919 as Takachiho Seisakusho. The founder of the company, Takeshi Yamashita, established the company with the financial assistance of his previous employer, with a view to achieving domestic production of microscopes.
Takeshi Yamashita became an attorney after graduating from Tokyo Imperial University Law school in 1915. After one year of military service, he joined Tokiwa Shokai, a trading company. He brought considerable profit to Tokiwa Shokai through sugar trading. Tokiwa Shokai then compensated his effort by allowing Mr. Yamashita to establish his own firm, Takachiho Seisakusho with Shintaro Terada, a friend from his lawyer days. The objective of Takachiho Seisakusho was to launch domestic production of microscopes.
Mr. Terada was the first Japanese to build microscopes using industrial techniques in the 1910s. A microscope built by Mr.Terada was exhibited at the Taisho Expo held in 1914 and won the bronze prize. Mr. Matsumoto of Iwashiya, a long-established medical equipment firm, financially supported him to produce "M&KATERA" microscopes. This name was created by combining the names of the three people involved in the development of this microscope: Mr.Matsumoto, Mr.Kato, and Mr.Terada.
Yamashita encouraged his engineers by saying that mere imitations of imported products wouldn't suffice and that it would be necessary to create something truly original. In June 1920, just six months after the company's founding, Yamashita's dream of making a domestic microscope came true with the introduction of the Asahi, the first microscope manufactured by Takachiho.
Three decades later, Olympus successfully developed the world's first gastrocamera for practical use. The spirit of creation that infused the company at its founding has been passed on through the years, from the release of the company's first product to its breakthroughs in Opto-Digital Technology today.
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According to olympus-global.com; en.wikipedia.