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The Beginning of
INAX Manufacturing

Hatsunojo Ina and his son, Chozaburo Ina, were highly evaluated for their skills in yakimono (earthenware). They were invited to be technical advisors for the Imperial Hotel's brick manufacturing factory, which had been founded solely to produce the exterior tiles of the Old Main Building – a structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The pair demonstrated their competence and produced 2.5 million scratch tiles (known at that time as Sudare brick), 1.5 million punched bricks, and tens of thousands of decorative tiles between 1918 and 1921 (years 7 to 10 of the Taisho Era). The Old Main Building of the Imperial Hotel was subsequently completed and regarded both in Japan and overseas as a beautiful and famous architecture by Wright.

Chozaburo, who went on to become the founder of INAX, and his father had been successful in mass-producing the building materials at a high level of quality while keeping the hues and expressions that Wright wanted - all within the limited amount of time.

Although the history of exterior tiles in Japan had only just begun, the idea that each tastefully designed piece could help define a space started from here and is still alive today. Since then, various exterior tiles have been used in the outer walls of buildings, beautifully decorating Japan's cities and streets.

Yakimono are shaped by adding water to clay before they are baked. Tiles that make up walls, floors, and spaces are also yakimono. Only through the precise and masterful control of firing conditions can the unique strengths of clay be drawn out, completing the final design of the tiles.

Each small tile is an embodiment of the feelings of its designers and users. Without compromise, we will continue to make attractive yakimono. This is where manufacturing at INAX first began.

• The Old Main Building of the Imperial Hotel was dismantled in 1967 (year 42 of the Showa Era) due to deterioration of facilities. The entrance part, however, was restored at the Museum Meiji-mura (an open-air architectural museum and theme park in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture). The decorative tiles are kept in the INAX Museums.

• Although the Imperial Hotel's brick manufacturing factory was closed at the same time as the last tile was delivered, Hatsunojo and Chozaburo Ina hired the employees to work in a factory that they were running at the time. Ina Seito, which had advanced its tile manufacturing in this way, was proactively dissolved in 1924 and Ina Seito Co., Ltd. was thereafter created.


Imperial Hotel reconstructed in Museum Meiji-mura


Imperial Hotel reconstructed in Museum Meiji-mura