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Built to last: the FUJIHORO difference

Article - August 8, 2023

For over 75 years, FUJIHORO’s expertise in enamel has seen the Japanese brand create kitchenware of unparalleled quality.

“The popularity of enamel comes down to its excellent durability – it lasts for a century and beyond.”

Minoru Kanehira, President, FUJI PORCELAIN ENAMEL Co., Ltd.

Founded in 1947, FUJIHORO has established itself as one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of kitchenware. Specializing in enameled-steel cooking vessels such as pots, pans and casseroles, the Tokyo-based company boasts an extensive range of outstanding products that are sold both at home and abroad.

“Our core strength is that we’re particular about the quality of the steel materials we use,” says FUJIHORO’s president, Minoru Kanehira. “We procure the most suitable special steel from leading Japanese manufacturers. The best products cannot be produced without using steel plates specially designed for enameling. What’s more, the glass material, enamel, is manufactured using a FUJIHORO firing method that leads to consistently first-class products. Our production process also involves  special pre-treatment technology that we’ve developed over a number of years.”

Among FUJIHORO’s major product lines is its EX series of long-lasting, efficient cookware. “These pans are particularly suitable for induction cooktops,” Mr. Kanehira says. “They’re extremely energy efficient, so you can cook quickly with the minimum amount of electricity required. In addition, the good heat conduction means that heat is transferred from various directions, which makes cooking tastier.

“EX series products are durable and can be used for more than 100 years, which means less waste and makes them very environmentally friendly. Instead of consuming large quantities, you make one thing last longer.”

In addition to its domestic factory in Tsukuba, FUJIHORO has operated a production plant in Thailand since 1988. With Japan feeling the effects of population decline, the manufacturer’s Thai base is expected to have a key role to play in the years to come, as FUJIHORO pursues its target of becoming a century-old company.

“The fusion of steel sheets and glass, which is at the heart of our manufacturing, requires special chemical knowledge,” Mr. Kanehira says. “However, there’s a growing shortage of researchers in inorganic chemistry in Japan who can understand this. To compensate for this, we have set up a technical development team at our plant in Thailand and recruited excellent Thai university students in inorganic chemistry.

“We will continue to develop new products at the Tsukuba plant, but at the same time we have an R&D center in Thailand as well, where Japanese engineers are teaching young, talented local professionals and passing on thetechnology.”

FUJIHORO is likewise looking beyond Japan’s borders as it seeks to grow its client base – and the firm’s efforts to strengthen its international presence go hand in hand with a drive to boost its e-commerce sales volume. “Of the countries we export to, 60% are in Asia, but we still want to expand more in Malaysia, Indonesia and other Asian countries,” Mr. Kanehira says. “Our focus is to provide enriching food culture, through our high-quality products, to those who have a deep affiliation with food. Currently, we export to 22 countries, and we’d like to add more. We want to have a big network.”

He continues: “E-commerce has been doing very well during the covid-19 pandemic, so we now see it as a growing sales channel both domestically and overseas. E-commerce in the United States is particularly attractive. We’re currently attempting to penetrate the U.S. market through the Amazon route.”

Having already collaborated on special product ranges with global brands such as Disney, FUJIHORO is also out to grow its international reach by establishing tie-ins with more major companies. “We’re actively seeking partners,” Mr. Kanehira says. “Our uniqueness is being able to offer not only design expertise, but also one-of-a-kind manufacturing technology – and reduced costs. New molds have to be developed to create these collaborative products, but we can now make the molds ourselves instead of outsourcing the process. This cuts initial costs for our partners.”