It is no exaggeration to say that Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's 100-year history is the history not only of a pharmaceuticals wholesaler, but also of a manufacturer.
Immediately after its founding in Nagoya as Kobayashi Seidaido, our company developed and commenced sales of many products under our "brand name". The records show that, in the late 1890's and first years of the 20th century, our products, such as Tamushichinki, a ringworm tincture produced by our company that is just as popular today as it was then, sold like hotcakes.
While our former managers, including Chubei Kobayashi, were still planning the completion of our wholesale division, they were also working hard on the development of the manufacturing division. At times, due to war and depression, temporary setbacks were unavoidable. However, no matter how bad the situation got, the manufacturing division never relented in its struggle to develop.
It was not until the late 1960's and early 1970's, in the turbulent post-war market environment, that our obsession with manufacturing was realized, some 80 years after the company's founding.
In 1967, after a massive sales campaign which required the full strength of all of our employees, Ammeltz (indomethacin) became a big hit. This product's success was not the result of a ready-made market. Ammeltzcreated its own market, and it was the backing of many consumers which made it a hit. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical did not grow up in a so-called "safe business" with mature markets and guaranteed demand.
Bluelet, a toilet flush deodorizer, was one such product without a guaranteed demand. It was put on the market right when the national average diffusion rate for flush toilets in Japan had just exceeded 20%. The figures clearly showed that the market was limited: only a few select households in large cities could use Bluelet.
Nonetheless, Bluelet was introduced to the market and became a best-selling product. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's Sawaday deodorizer was also a pioneering product which opened Japan's now huge deodorizer market.
However, Kobayashi Pharmaceutical does not simply develop new products. It also develops markets. A pioneer in a new market enjoys an overwhelming advantage. It can fight on equal or better terms, even against a competitor who has a general advantage in capital, sales, and technology.
I know that some people believe that we targeted a niche and got lucky. Perhaps it was just a niche. However, anyone who believes that probably does not realize that a niche is after all only as wide as a niche. If we carefully remember Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's development strategy, we see that one must recognize the niche before anyone else, choose the best timing to leap in with audacity, and pry open the niche in order to develop a market.
This process is, of course, very complex. However, it can be summed up in one word:"marketing". For Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, "marketing" is marketing which develops the market. (From an interview with Hiroaki Miyata)