History 

The Sunstar Story: Seven decades of stellar success

1932-1959    1960's    1970's    1980's    1990's    2000-Today


1946: The debut of Sunstar toothpaste.
  • From the manufacturing of rubber glue for bicycles and metal tubes to the manufacturing of toothpaste.

The origin of Sunstar was in 1932. It all began when Sunstar's founder Kunio Kaneda started selling parts for bicycles. After that, the company had great success when it began to manufacture and sell rubber glue for
the repair of bicycle tires and metal tubes. At that time, the rubber glue was sold in metal-tube containers. The decision of the founder to place toothpaste into these metal tubes led to the birth of the first Sunstar toothpaste in 1946.

The Sunstar name for the company came about from combining the idea of brushing in the morning (Sun) and in the evening (star). In 1950, group companies, which were independently managed for the purpose of diversification in such businesses as toothpaste, metal tubes, bicycle parts and rubber glue, were merged, and Sunstar Inc. was born. The basic foundation of today's Sunstar had been created.


1967: “Betaseal 169” sealant for building construction developed.
  • Sunstar advances into the motorcycle parts business.
  • The company's international marketing strategy results in its first tie-up with U.S. companies, as Sunstar expands into Japan's hair care and chemicals market.
In 1961, Sunstar entered into the motorcycle parts business area. At this point, the company had already recognized that the future of Sunstar would not only be in Japan, and the company decided to promote the globalization of its business. As a key step in its international marketing strategy, in 1966 Sunstar set up a joint venture with the Alberto Culver Company, the major U.S. hair-care products company, and began to sell VO5 brand hair-care products in the Japanese market. In the chemicals field, in 1967, Sunstar established a joint-venture company, Sunstar Essex Chemical, together with an American chemical company and began production in Japan of sealants for building construction.


1973: Mass production began of disc plates for motorcycles.
  • Strengthening our motorcycle parts business, advancing into the cosmetics business.
  • As a result of tie-ups with various overseas corporations, Sunstar enters a new stage of growth.

Sunstar made a significant leap forward in 1972, as the two-wheeled vehicle industry rapidly grew. It focused its production on motorcycle parts as a main product, namely, sprockets for two-wheeled vehicles, and in 1976 succeeded in receiving many orders from famous U.S. two-wheeled vehicle makers. Demand also increased for sealant products for the automotive industry, and in 1970, Sunstar's market share for these sealants rose to be No.1 worldwide. In 1976, Sunstar's VO5 hair-spray products also achieved a top share in the Japanese hair-care products market. Moreover, in 1971, Sunstar entered the cosmetics business, establishing the Sareine brand of natural-ingredient cosmetics. In each of these businesses, Sunstar moved forward through tie-ups with international companies in such countries as the U.S. and France.


1989: Sales began of the “G∙U∙M” dental series of products, specifically designed to help fight the periodontal bacteria that cause gum disease.
  • Sunstar Group companies in North America and Southeast Asia established.
  • Sunstar develops “G∙U∙M” brand that establishes a new market in the oral-care business, becoming the leading company supplying products to help prevent periodontal disease.

For Sunstar, which aimed to aggressively pursue global expansion, the 1980s was a very meaningful era. In 1986 it held an international symposium concerning periodontal disease in Kobe, Japan. While building a network of experts around the world, in 1988, Sunstar acquired the American company John O. Butler (currently Sunstar Americas, Inc.), which has world-class technologies in the field of toothbrushes, to set up a base for entry into the world oral-care market. This step led to the development of the “G∙U∙M” dental series that helps eliminate the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, and this development led to the creation of a new market for products that help prevent periodontal disease. In addition, Sunstar established manufacturing and sales bases for motorcycle parts, adhesive agents and sealants in the U.S. and Thailand.


1998: Sales began of “Ora²” oral-care products, which are designed for assuring a healthy mouth and beautiful teeth.
  • With Singapore as its core base, Sunstar expands its business in Southeast Asia.
  • Obtains ISO 14001 certification, puts top priority on the environment.

In 1992, Sunstar established Sunstar Logistics Singapore (currently Sunstar Engineering Pte. Ltd.) in Singapore to put in place an overall production control base for Southeast Asia. Sunstar continued to widely expand its businesses in Southeast Asia, establishing in 1993 a manufacturing and sales base for adhesive agents for automobiles in Thailand and in 1995 a manufacturing and sales base for motorcycle parts in Indonesia. At the same time, putting high priority on the conservation of the global environment as an important issue in management, Sunstar obtained ISO 14001 certification in all four of its Japan plants in 2000.
In 1990, as a fruit of joint-research collaboration with the State University of New York at Buffalo, a medicine for the treatment of chronic periodontal disease, called “Periocline,” was developed, and as a result, Sunstar entered the pharmaceutical business field.


2003: “EcoCan,” an environment-friendly container, was developed.
  • Sunstar establishes its World Headquarters in Switzerland as the center for its global management activities.
  • Strives to further develop its business role and contribute to society around the world.

In addition to implementing its global business strategies in Asia, Sunstar also established sales bases in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Furthermore, in addition to the United States and Canada, it expanded its business into Mexico and Argentina. At present, Sunstar is developing businesses with the theme of “Oral Health and Systemic Body Health,” starting with “Mouth & Body,” that pursue the values of health, beauty, safety and comfort. From 2002, aiming to build a global management system whose functions are carried out from Switzerland, Sunstar established its World Headquarters in that country. Sunstar is currently providing products and services in more than 90 countries around the world. As a corporate citizen of the global community, Sunstar is striving to further develop our business role and contribute to society around the world.