Liaison with our Courses
Masao Horiba, Supreme Counsel, Horiba, Ltd.

Life History

Childhood and Kyoto University Student Days ~ Start-up of Horiba, Ltd. (1953)

Mr. Masao Horiba was born in 1924 in Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto-shi, as the second son to Shinkichi, his father, a professor of Kyoto Imperial University and Mikiko, his mother. After graduating from Kyoto Teachers’ School’s Elementary School and Konan Junior High and Senior High Schools in Kobe, Mr. Horiba studied at the Faculty of Science of Kyoto University, with the aim of becoming a researcher and a scholar. As a child, he was fond of science and became interested in making things. In his high school days, he was a rugby player and his team won the national championship. When he was an undergraduate at Kyoto University, World War II ended and nuclear research facilities and equipment were destroyed by the U.S. occupation forces. This robbed him of the chance to study nuclear physics, but he established Horiba Radio Laboratory in 1945 to study electronics. The Laboratory was almost an extension of a Kyoto University laboratory and, besides manufacturing facilities and equipment for the university, developed hit products such as storage batteries for electric lights that could be used in the case of blackouts. In those days, there were no domestic high-quality capacitors that were necessary in manufacturing electronics products. Mr. Horiba tried to establish Horiba, Ltd., a manufacturer of capacitors, but had to give up factory construction due to the inflation caused by the Korean War. He went into debt to establish the company, and, in order to repay the loans, he developed a glass electrodes pH meter, the first of its kind in Japan, because this product could be made with only a small investment. The product was sold extensively to fertilizer plants throughout Japan during the period of increased food production.

Cooperation with Hitachi, Ltd. (1959) ~ the Development of MEXA, an Automobile Emission Analyzer (1964)

Mr. Horiba joined an economic association’s business mission to the U.S. and met a person from Hitachi, Ltd., who was also a member of the group. This opened the door for Horiba to establish a cooperative relationship with Hitachi in 1959. In their alliance, Hitachi was responsible for sales and Horiba, Ltd. was able to concentrate in R&D and manufacturing of devices. This relationship between Hitachi and Horiba continued for about 40 years until it ceased when President Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Motors initiated a distribution reform. In 1964, an automobile emission analyzer was developed, which triggered further expansion for Horiba. The product was realized by Mr. Masahiro Ohura, the second president, and his colleagues continued its research and development without the knowledge of Mr. Horiba.

Inauguration to Chairman (1978) ~ Present

Horiba, Ltd. was successful in being listed on the Second Section of the Osaka Stock Exchange in 1971, on the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1974, followed by listing on the First Section of both Exchanges in 1982. In 1978, when Horiba, Ltd. celebrated its 25th anniversary, Mr. Horiba stepped down from the post of president to that of chairman (with representation) at the age of 53. This was when the unique corporate philosophy of ‘Omoshiro Okashiku:Live Merrily and Cheerfully’ was instituted by him, despite the objection of the board of directors. Since then, Mr. Horiba made contributions to the promotion of small and medium enterprises and venture companies in Kyoto, as well as to promotional and educational activities for nurturing new industries and venture capitals throughout Japan. In 1992, Mr. Atsushi Horiba, his eldest son, took office as President, and is now vigorously promoting a global strategy utilizing his experiences in overseas sales.

Page Top