The Origin of the YKK on Zippers

By Phineas Upham

If you look closely at the zippers attached to most objects, like backpacks and sweaters, you’ll notice a small insignia of “YKK” on them. This wasn’t always standard for every zipper, but it’s very easy to spot once you know what it is.


The logo stands for: “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha,” and it was founded in 1934 by Tadao Yoshida. The company’s English name means “Yoshida Industries Limited” and it has risen to become the world’s foremost zipper manufacturer. Today, the company creates 90% of the world’s zippers, from 206 different facilities that lie across 52 countries. As it turns out, they also make the machines that make the zippers in addition to making the zippers themselves.

Over 7-million zippers are manufactured in the Georgia factory every day, which is their largest factory to date.

Yoshida practices what he calls “The Cycle of Goodness.” He believes that no one prospers truly unless he is able to render benefit unto others. This drove him to create a zipper that was strong and affordable, something capable of withstanding the test of time. He felt, rightly, that his product would help manufacturers build up an image that they sold and produced quality products.

This fulfilled the cycle. Yoshida’s company could help others develop their own business, it served to bring jobs to new communities, and benefitted his own relationships through referrals and business dealings.

Today, the YKK Group consists of a series of manufacturing companies that build glass and architectural products as well as machinery and dyes.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

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