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A Century of History

Over 100 years and still going strong

In our early days, SAPTI gained a reputation as a pioneer of signage in textile media, such as free-standing and hanging banners and armbands. Under our second president, we made our own contribution to Japanese society at the Osaka World Expo and the Tokyo Olympics. Under our third president, we embarked on full-scale mechanization and established a production system integrating all steps from printing through sewing, which still remains in operation today. We seek to win greater public trust as a company through our ongoing commitment to integrity in our craftsmanship, our service, and the way we do business.

Year Events at SAPTI Events in the world at large

First president
Jinshiro Saito

1912
  • Saito Dyeworks is established in the Wakamiya-cho district of Honjo Ward, Tokyo.
  • Yuzen dyer Jinshiro Saito strikes out on his own as a producer of dyed articles for public display such as shop curtains, the Japanese flag, and championship flags.
1923
  • Relocates to Tateishi in what is now Katsushika City, Tokyo, after the factory burns down in the 1923 Kanto earthquake.
  • The golden age of movie theater banners in Japan.
  • Kanto earthquake
Around 1943
  • During the war, makes flags and armbands for the National Defense Women’s Association, and flags for sending off soldiers to the front.

Photo taken during the chaotic war years. The Burmese flag in the background was made to order by the firm.

1945
  • The company’s first job after the end of the war is making armbands for the National Safety Forces (predecessor of the Self Defense Forces).
  • End of World War II

Second president
Jinshiro Saito Jr.

1950
  • Jinshiro Saito Jr. becomes the second president.
  • Saito Dyeworks Co., Ltd. is established with ¥1,000,000 in capital.
  • Invents a machine for dyeing the Japanese flag.
  • Outbreak of the Korean War
1953
  • Begins operating a plant for hand printing using the honzome technique, alongside its existing chusen dyeing plant.
1958
  • Produces the oilcloth used by the future Empress Michiko at her wedding to the future Emperor (the current Emperor Emeritus). Is widely covered in the media.
  • The Imperial Wedding
1959
  • Inundated with orders for Japanese flags to commemorate the Imperial Wedding.

Producing the Japanese flag

1964
  • A technological advance makes it possible to dye synthetic fabrics on both sides.
  • Saito Dyeworks dyes over 90 percent of the flags used at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Corporate advertising spreads rapidly as the Japanese economy grows. Advertising on textile media, including curtains and banners in stores and restaurants, also takes off.
  • The Tokyo Olympics
1967
  • Commences full-scale pigment printing (a first in Japan).
  • The 2nd floor of the plant is partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt to accommodate machinery.

Mr. Endo (center), the developer of pigment printing

  • There were no aluminum frames in those days; they were all of wood. The wooden frames were washed in the morning, and when work resumed in the afternoon, it often happened that the pattern did not match.
1970
  • Makes some 50 percent of the international flags displayed at the Osaka World Expo.
  • The Japan World Exposition in Osaka
1971
  • Installs the industry’s first fully automated textile printing machine.
  • Installs the world’s first fully automated textile printing machine equipped with steps, which enables multicolored printing.
  • Meanwhile boosts quality by strengthening its inspection arm.

The company’s first fully automated textile printing machine

1972
  • Renamed Saito Dyeing Co., Ltd.

Third president
Takamasa Saito

1976
  • Takamasa Saito becomes the third president.
1982
  • Installs its third fully automated textile printing machine, which dramatically boosts production volumes.
1984
  • Becomes first in the industry to succeed in photoprinting on cloth (using color separation). Its work now decks the streets.
  • Spins off its hand dyeing arm to form Saito FP Co., Ltd.
  • Establishes Saito SG Co., Ltd. to handle sewing in house, creating an integrated production system embracing every step from dyeing through final stitching.

Manual and mechanized operations were performed separately (Saito FP)

1985
  • Recognized as an outstanding company by the Tokyo government and awarded the Governor of Tokyo Award.
1988
  • The integrated line for pigment printing is perfected.
1990
  • Wins the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency Director-General’s Award.
1991
  • Renamed SAPTI Inc.
  • Tsukuba Factory comes online.
1994
  • One of Japan’s largest fully automated textile printing machines is installed at Tsukuba Factory.

One of Japan’s largest fully automated textile printing machines

1996
  • Becomes the first Japanese industry player to expand abroad, establishing Shanghai SAPTI Printing Co., Ltd. in Shanghai, China.

Fourth president
Juichiro Saito

1998
  • Juichiro Saito becomes the fourth president.
  • Contributes to the success of the Nagano Olympics.
  • The Nagano Olympics
2000
  • With the completion of the new wing at Tsukuba Factory, closes the Tokyo plant and centralizes operations.
  • Subsidiary Saito FP Co., Ltd. is certified as an outstanding product manufacturing plant by Katsushika City, Tokyo.
2003
  • Tsukuba Factory is certified for ISO 14001 (environmental management systems).
2004
  • Installs a direct-to-plate inkjet platemaker.
  • Installs a CST digital platemaker.
2006
  • Installs digital printing equipment.
  • Debuts at the Sign & Display Show and begins selling US-made ink in earnest.
2012
  • Celebrates its 100th anniversary.
  • Compiles a commemorative history of its century in business.
Copies are donated to the National Diet Library, the Katsushika City government, the University of Tokyo Library, the Kanagawa Prefectural Kawasaki Library, and the Hosei University Research Institute for Innovation Management.
2013
  • Shanghai SAPTI Printing Co., Ltd. closes.
2014
  • Absorbs Saito FP Co., Ltd. and resumes operations at Tsukuba Factory.
2014
  • Relocates headquarters to Nihonbashi in Chuo-ku, Tokyo.
2016
  • Relaunches the operations of what had been Saito FP under a new department, Dyed Goods Division.
  • The Support Wrestler Saori Yoshida Project(>Details
吉田沙保里選手 日の丸国旗
2017
  • SC Karuizawa Club men’s curling team qualifies for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics!(>Details
SC Karuizawa Club curling team
2019
  • Relocates headquarters to Nihonbashi Horidome-cho in Chuo-ku, Tokyo.

Washing dyed cloth in the Nakagawa River, ca. 1955. Woodblock print by Shintaro Narita.