The YKK Group was established in 1936 as a collection of manufacturing companies based out of Tokyo, Japan. They are the world’s largest zipper manufacturer but also make a range of other fastening, architectural and industrial products and machines.
YKK stands for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (Yoshida Manufacturing Corporation). The founder, Tadao Yoshida was only 24 years old when he was impressed by the zipper manufacturing process and founded the original company in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. The company eventually settled on the name Yoshida Kogyosho in February 1938. After enduring the Second World War, and the complete inceneration of their plant, the company acquired Uozu Tekkousho K.K. and renamed itself to the current name in 1945.
The following year, the company registered its trademark and established its presence as a leading quality manufacturer with the purchase of US chain machinery, automating its production line process and improving the quality which was unattainable by previous handmade processes. After expanding its plants through the 1950′s YKK opened its first overseas location in New Zealand and then in New York City by 1960.
The company was mentioned in Hip-Hop band Outkast’s song “So fresh and so clean”
In Japan, YKK is also referred to in a similar manner as “XYZ” (eXamine Your Zipper) which translates in Japanese to Yokoso KoKo or “welcome here.”