Group History

1950s Founded as Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd.

Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd. was founded in January 1955 in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. The company began work publishing educational materials and student pocketbooks for junior high school students.

Just one year earlier, in 1954, the company's forerunner, Fuji Publishing Co., Ltd., being unable to recoup cash, failed despite showing healthy sales performance.

The origins of Benesse's present-day business model can be found in the fierce desire to avoid bankruptcy ever again, a hard lesson taught by this inauspicious start. This is reason that Benesse still insists on being a cash-driven enterprise, inventory-free management, and repeat business.

1955
  • Founded as Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd. in Minamigata, Okayama City
  • Starts publication of educational materials and student pocketbooks for junior high school students

Main products when Fukutake Publishing was established

1960s Successful Launch of Simulated Exams as the Company's First New Business

Started in 1962, mock or simulated exams for high school students began as a relatively small business focused on schools in Okayama Prefecture and surrounding regions.

However, these simulated exams were soon adopted by a growing number of schools across Japan. In addition to innovative ideas, such as holding "joint simulated exams" through mutual data exchange with multiple schools, this growth resulted from relationships of trust built with teachers through diligent groundwork in schools and communities by sales staff to promote education.

1962
  • Launches Kansai Simulated Exams for senior high school students
    (developed nationwide as Shinken Simulated Exams in 1973)
1969
  • Creates Correspondence Education Seminar for senior high school students
    (later renamed Shinkenzemi Senior High School Courses)

First Correspondence Education Seminar publication
(Published February 15, 1969)

1970s The Start of Shinkenzemi Correspondence Courses

The company's simulated exams were renamed Shinken Simulated Exams in 1973. Catching a boost from the start of a uniform entrance exam schedule in Japan in 1979, the company moved to develop its business base, adopting a large computer system and increasing the number of business sites, as it expanded operations to a nationwide scale.

In the meantime, the company in 1969 began offering correspondence courses for senior high school students, with courses for junior high school students following in 1972. Both courses started out with about 500 enrollees each. Before long, though, largely through trial and error, enrollment began to climb as correspondence courses grew into one of the company's core businesses.

1972
  • Launches Correspondence Education Seminar Junior for junior high school students
    (later renamed Shinkenzemi Junior High School Courses)

First Shinkenzemi Junior High School Course publication
(Published April 15, 1972)

1980s Expansion in Correspondence Courses and Advancement into Taiwan

The company launched its first correspondence course for elementary schoolchildren in 1980, followed by a course for preschoolers, known today as Kodomo Challenge, in 1988. These moves created a correspondence course lineup covering preschoolers to senior high school students, and marked another major expansion for the business. In 1989, the company made its first major foray into the wider Asian market by offering its courses for preschoolers in Taiwan.

1980
  • Announces "enculturation, computerization, and globalization" as corporate identity (CI) at first CI review
  • Creates Shinkenzemi Elementary School Courses

First Shinkenzemi Elementary School Course publication
(Published September 1, 1980)

1988
  • Shinkenzemi Preschool Courses (later renamed Kodomo Challenge)
  • Establishes Taipei Office

Educational materials provided when starting courses

1989
  • Launches courses for preschools in Taiwan

Preschool course event in Taiwan

1990s Multifaceted Businesses around the Basic Philosophy of "Benesse"

The year 1990 saw adoption of the concept "Benesse" as both a philosophy and brand. The company coined the term by combining the Latin roots "bene" (Well) and "esse" (Being).

From there, guided by a basic philosophy of supporting well-being, the company developed multifaceted business operations in step with the changing times in Japan, particularly trends such as globalization, declining birthrates, and societal aging. This period in the company's history saw the acquisition of Berlitz, the start of the nursing care business, and the publication of magazines Tamago Club and Hiyoko Club dealing with pregnancy, childbirth and parenting .

In 1995, the company took the step to unify its varied business activities under a single corporate philosophy by officially changing its name to Benesse Corporation.

1990
  • Announces "Benesse" as corporate philosophy and brand

Newspaper ad about the CI announcement

1991
  • Completes construction of the Benesse Logistics Center in Okayama Prefecture, Japan
1992
  • Establishes Telemarketing Japan, Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary
1993
  • Berlitz International, Inc. (later renamed Berlitz Corporation) becomes subsidiary
  • Launches magazines Tamago Club and Hiyoko Club

Berlitz Corporation

First issues of Tamago Club and Hiyoko Club published in October 1993

1994
  • Tokyo Office (now Tokyo Head Office) relocated to Tama-shi, Tokyo
1995
  • Company renamed Benesse Corporation; listed on Second Section of Osaka Securities Exchange (OSE) and Hiroshima Stock Exchange
  • Offering of Home-Helper Level-Two Training Courses Start of nursing care business

New company name logo and character

Benesse Home Clara Okayama nursing home

1996
  • Launches magazine THANK YOU!
1997
  • Benesse stock listing moved to First Section of OSE

2000s Fortifying Basics for the Next Stage of Growth

Shinkenzemi has added higher value over the years through a more individualized approach. This move has seen the introduction of educational materials tailored to academic ability, as well as the offering of optional materials. In 2008, Benesse unveiled Shinkenzemi + i, a new breed of educational materials for junior high school students that combines paper-based and online elements. This innovation was the first step in the development of Benesse's next-generation educational materials. The same period saw Benesse move to meet diversifying study needs, including through its entry into the cram school/prep school business.

To achieve further expansion in the correspondence course business, in 2006, Benesse began offering courses for preschoolers in China and South Korea, marking its full-scale advancement overseas. In October 2009, Benesse put a management structure for achieving new growth in place by moving to a holding company structure. The company then positioned Domestic Education, Overseas Education, Lifestyle, Senior/Nursing Care, and Language/Global Leadership Training as its five growth business domains.

2000
  • Listed on First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • Establishes Benesse Care Corporation, provider of nursing care services
  • Acquires business rights to Shinkoukai Co., Ltd., provider of residential-care services for seniors
2001
  • Berlitz International, Inc. (later renamed Berlitz Corporation) becomes wholly owned subsidiary
  • Establishes Learn-S Co., Ltd., a publisher of educational materials for senior high schools
2003
  • Consolidates its three nursing care-related companies to form Benesse Style Care Co., Ltd.
  • Consolidates Shinken-AD Co., Ltd.
  • Establishes Benesse Hong Kong Co., Ltd.
2004
  • Establishes Benesse Korea Co., Ltd.
2005
  • Launches Benesse Educational Research & Development Center
  • AVIVA Co., Ltd. becomes subsidiary
2006
  • Begins offering courses for preschoolers in China and South Korea
  • Ochanomizu Seminar Co., Ltd. becomes wholly owned subsidiary

Courses for preschoolers in China (top) and South Korea (bottom)

2007
  • Tokyo Individualized Educational Institute, Inc. becomes subsidiary

Tokyo Individualized Educational Institute

  • Establishes Benesse Corporation China
2008
  • Begins offering Shinkenzemi Junior High School Course + i
2009
  • Establishes Tokyo Educational Institute Co., Ltd.
  • Benesse Group changes over to holding company system; Benesse Corporation renamed Benesse Holdings, Inc. upon inauguration as holding company for Benesse Group
  • Benesse Corporation established at the same time via corporate spin-off

2010s Benesse Takes on New Challenges: Globalization, Next-Generation Education, Growth in Senior/Nursing Care Services

In a new medium-term management plan announced in October 2011, Benesse has set out a vision of becoming the world's leading company in the education field and driving further growth by positioning the senior/nursing care business as a key growth field. At the same time, the Group will address globalization, usher in the next-generation of education, and expand its senior/nursing care operations.

2010
  • Consolidates Bon Sejour Corporation
2011
  • Announces medium-term management plan for fiscal 2012-2016
  • Establishes Benesse America Inc.
  • Opens a Benesse Corporation representative office in Indonesia
2012
  • Consolidates UP Inc.
  • Benesse Style Care Co., Ltd and Bon Sejour Corporation merged with Benesse Style Care Co., Ltd as the surviving company

Last updated : 2012/10/23