Yokowo Co., Ltd.

Archivements of Founder Chutaro Yokoo

Early years
Chutaro Yokoo was born in 1894 in Sogi, Tomioka-machi, Kitakanra District, as the first son of the Yokoo family.
Having graduated from Jinjo Koto Shogakko (primary and lower secondary education) at the age of 15, he abandoned subsequent education due to economic conditions and his family, and decided to be a resident apprentice at a pipe manufacturer in Tokyo.
The manufacturer produced precision metal pipes with a diameter of 1 mm or less, which were mainly used as components in pocket watches. Chutaro persistently worked to gain skills in processing precision pipes.

From craftsman to businessman

From craftsman to businessman
He devoted himself to pipe processing for 15 years. The turning point came in 1922, at the age of 31, when he became independent and opened a bicycle shop. In 1925, he opened a precision pipe processing factory in Mukojima, Tokyo, based on the techniques he had learned in his 15 years as a craftsman.
This is how Yokowo Mfg. Co., Ltd., predecessor of Yokowo Co., Ltd., was established.

Invention of the Spring Bar saved the company

Invention of the Spring Bar saved the company
Early in the Showa period, the shift from pocket watches to wristwatches resulted in a decline of demand for precision pipes, which were used in the hinges of pocket watches.
At that time, Chutaro spotted the components for attaching watch bands. Using his experience in pipe processing, he invented a Spring Bar, which was a fine bar with a spring inside that enabled both ends of the bar to extend and retract. This revolutionary component was later adopted in wristwatches produced all over the world and gained the world's largest market share.

Rod Antennas gave a big thrust to the company.

Rod Antennas gave a big thrust to the company.
Rod Antennas for portable radios helped the company to make significant business progress. A Rod Antenna is a combination of pipes, and Chutaro's company excelled in the precision processing of pipes.
In 1956, Chutaro used his experience and ingenuity as a pipe maker to jointly invent the rod antenna together with engineers. It was highly regarded for its quality by major home appliance manufacturers and later seized the world's largest market share.

Swiftly erecting a factory in Tomioka City

Swiftly erecting a factory in Tomioka City
Around 1960, the widespread use of transistor radios led to a massive growth in demand for rod antennas. Yokowo Mfg. Co., Ltd. received a rush of orders from home electronics manufacturers from around the world.
To meet this high demand, Chutaro decided to construct a new factory at Kanohara in Tomioka City. The factory came into commercial operation in 1962, which coincided with signs of the weakening growth of the yarn-making industry that had long supported the local economy since the early Meiji period.
Erected before Tobu Industrial Park, Yokowo Mfg. Co., Ltd.'s Kanohara Plant represented the future of the industry in the city.

Relationship with Tomioka City Government

Relationship with Tomioka City Government
In 1951, Chutaro was first elected as member of the municipal assembly of Tomioka City. Later, he served as a member and chair of the Tomioka City Assembly. In May 1965, he was elected as mayor of Tomioka City. Meanwhile, he served as a director of the Kanto Association of Chairs of City Assemblies and as a member of the committee for establishment of new cities in the National Association of Chairs of City Assemblies to help realize mergers between towns and villages. In recognition of this contribution, he was awarded a letter of gratitude from the Minister of Home Affairs.
While serving as mayor, he achieved the construction of the joint school meal cooking center for elementary and junior high schools. He was also honored by the governor of Gunma Prefecture in recognition of his contributions to the development of commerce and industry through his service as deputy chairman and chairman of the Tomioka Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1958 to 1965.

The final chapter

The final chapter
After completing his four-year term as mayor, Chutaro became involved in the management of Yokowo Mfg. Co., Ltd. as chairman and adviser. He ended his life on June 30, 1977, at the age of 82.