Kito at 90
Just Getting Started

Kito Corporation, this year celebrating its 90th anniversary,
began on November 8, 1932 as a small machinery plant,
and from that start has grown to establish itself as one of the world’s top hoist and crane brands.
With gratitude in our hearts,
Kito will continue to deliver unmatched customer satisfaction an
excitement while working to contribute to the sustainable development of society.


The Beginning

Miyoshi Kito established the Kito Manufacturing Company in 1932 in Tokyo’s Omori district, a small machine shop equipped with just a few lathes and milling machines. Kito was a young man, still in his 20s, and had only six employees. Within a few years the staff had grown to ten and the company gradually expanded its scale and product line.



First Chain Hoists

In the earliest days Kito’s core products were winches, plate conveyors and pumps for military use. Chain hoists were generally imported from Europe and North America in 1910s. Kito chain hoists, introduced in 1934 as high-quality homegrown products of their kind, were accepted eagerly by Japanese manufacturers.


Chain, the Life of the Hoist

In 1939, at the Port of Yokohama, Kito received Japan’s first automatic chain bender and welder from a German supplier. Although it’s hard to convert the prices it paid to current value, the investments were large, clearly undertaken to ensure the company’s continuing success. Kito did not hesitate to acquire these machines because what separates a truly good hoist from the rest is the quality of its chain.


Honing Manufacturing Skills

Business was tough following the end of the second world war, and Kito adapted, even producing binoculars to survive. If it had focused on and continued in that direction, Kito might be a completely different company today. It also produced bicycle hubs and rakes and hoes. Sharpening its design and manufacturing skills this way through trial and error led directly to its later success with chain and lever hoists.


Kito Yellow

Today Kito products are instantly associated with their signature color. Kito Yellow dates back to 1969, the year that Apollo 11 put the first explorers on the moon, and it’s been the official corporate color ever since. Our products can come in white, light blue or even pink, depending on the customer’s particular work environment.


Responsibility for User Safety

After-sale service is essential to a manufacturer, helping ensure that the customer can use its products safely. Kito began this aspect of its operations with a single company car in 1949, shortly after introduction of its first lever hoist. Service personnel traveled to the mining towns where core customers operated to demonstrate the correct ways to operate and repair the hoists, and hear about user experiences to help maintain continuous product improvement.


Studying the US Market

Kito founder Miyoshi Kito went to the US for the first time in 1951, visiting over 40 companies, including automakers and machine-tool producers. He was particularly impressed with the chain-makers. The US trip opened what would be a lifetime of research on chain, which he called “the life of the chain hoist.” “Looking into the excellent American products, I decided to begin a company-wide chain campaign,” he said.


A Landmark All-Kito Masterpiece

In 2016 Kito introduced the RY wire-rope hoist, designed and developed entirely in-house. RY stands for “the Rope hoist of our Yearning,” and it is designed for success on the global market. The model is chock-full of the original technologies that Kito has been developing with its chain hoists. It is an all-Kito masterpiece, designed in Japan, produced in China and assembled in the US.


Helping Support Japanese Cultural Assets

Every New Year’s Eve the huge bells of Buddhist temples in Japan ring 108 times, marking out the 108 earthly desires of every human. To install one of these bells on its premises, the Raigoin temple in Ryugasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture employed Kito products. The 750kg bell was made by casting master Shouemon Kotabe the 37th over six months.


General-Purpose Products, Custom Products

Part of the legacy our founder Miyoshi Kito left to his future employees is the admonition to “make general-purpose and custom products equally important.” For us this means that markets demand more than a single category of products, and we should flexibly respond to specialized customer needs while offering standard products. Through the company’s history Kito employees have worked with this attitude, cherishing our founder’s words.


A Human Hand Lifts a Load of Tonnes

The Kito motorized manual chain hoist, based on its Mighty series of chain hoists. It’s a marvelous tool, allowing a single person to lift a load as heavy as 50 tonnes. It’s a great help in moving heavy objects, as seen on the demolition site of the old bridge and construction of the New Sogi Bridge, over the Sendai River in the city of Isa, Kagoshima Prefecture.


Passing Down a Cultural Legacy

In 2014 the Tomioka Silk Mill was added to the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Its West Cocoon Warehouse, designated a national treasure in Japan, is 104.4 meters long, and Kito products on four overhead rails work in maintenance and preservation of the structure. During maintenance nearly 50,000 roof tiles are removed one-by-one for inspection to determine whether to reuse or replace them.


Welding Champion

“I won the championship in Yamanashi Prefecture’s 51st Welding Technology Competition (carbon-dioxide gas arc-welding division), and moved forward to the national competition representing Yamanashi Prefecture. While I didn’t win any national award, it was a very exciting experience for me to compete with excellent welders representing their prefectures.” [Yukiya Nakazawa]


The Falcon Retires

The EF electric chain hoist, beloved by our customers worldwide over four decades as the Falcon, has been discontinued, with its last assembly on March 29, 2018. It was a core Kito product used worldwide, shipping over 13,000 units in the 1980s.


TV Prop

It’s not rare to spot Kito products on television. They are in not only factories and construction sites, but indoor scenes to demonstrate the handling of heavy objects.


The First Kito Mighty

The Mighty manual chain hoist was the first product to employ chain made with a quenching operation. The market debut of the Mighty in March 1959 established ‘chain’ as Kito’s middle name.


Lever Hoists Behind Japan’s High Economic Growth

The Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train connecting Tokyo and Osaka opened in October 1964. The train ran on rails each 200 meters long, about four times the length of those for older lines. Japan National Railways noted Kito’s technical prowess, sought advice on how to lay these extra-heavy rails, and we got the job done.


Entering the Crane Business

To fulfill a customer order for a package of crane and hoists, Kito developed its first simple crane in 1961. Two years later the company developed a simple double-end-driven crane, signaling its full entry into the crane business. The one pictured is an endless telpher crane delivered to a cancer-treatment center, featuring a circular rail 20 meters diameter.


Becoming a Workplace for All

In 2017 Kito won the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Grand Prize for excellent employers of disabled people. The award showcases Kito’s various initiatives to improve its workplaces in terms of both management and environment, to better include people with disabilities in its workforce.