YKK initially was founded by Tadao Yoshida in Higashi Nihonbashi, Tokyo as San-es Shokai, in January 1934, with its main focus on production and marketing of fastening products. Later in February 1938 it was renamed to Yoshida Kogyosho. In January 1946, the company registered the YKK trademark which stands for Yoshida Kogyo K.K. YKK presently has operations in 71 countries and regions.
Initially YKK zippers were made by hand and hence had an inferior quality compared to automated zippers from other manufacturers, but that changed when in 1950 the company purchased a chain machine from the U.S., which allowed the automation of the zipper making process and hence the quality of zippers improved.
YKK relocated its headquarters thrice from 1951 to 1963, the first time it was relocated to Nihonbashi Bakuro-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, and then in 1958 it was moved to Asakusa Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo. The final move came in 1963 when the headquarters were moved to its current location, Kanda Izumi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.
Another major achievement for YKK came in November 1959, when the production in its first overseas location started, which was New Zealand. YKK's first US office opened in New York City in 1960 and now is the country's top supplier of zippers and other fastening devices such as snaps and buttons. As the company grew, it brought every step of manufacturing in-house, including smelting brass and dyeing cloth.
In July 2000, the company established YKK Newmax Co., Ltd, specializing in the production of snaps and buttons. In December 2002, a machine company was established in Suzhou, China. A company specializing in sales, YKK Fastening Products Sales Inc. was established in February 2003. YKK AP Inc. was founded in October 2003, specializing in architectural products.
Overall, the organization operates 114 affiliated companies in 71 countries, with over 40,000 employees.
YKK has the broadest product line and serves the widest range of customers. It has established a competitive advantage in each segment. In general, YKK, which offers an extensive lineup of high-quality products, is known for its stable and responsible supply, as well as its capabilities for developing new models that are customized to meet specific customer needs.
The YKK Group currently does business in many countries/regions worldwide. Its geographical management structure is divided into six blocks:
This regional approach enables us to adapt to the characteristics of each region to further expand our businesses.