The History of Postwar Razors Episode 3: The Great Transformation of Razor Makers in the Early 21st Century

Contributed by Yasuki Takeuchi, President of Razor Club

As we entered the 21st century, we were about to see an unexpected big event. Chic's parent companies, Warner Lambert in the U.S. and Gillette in the U.S., were subsequently acquired through M&A, both of which were part of a super-big company with sales of 5-6 trillion yen.
This was a global strategy and representative example of the American style. In fact, Gillette, Chic, Wilkinson, etc. have a global brand with a focus on blade type, and there is no other razor manufacturer that is superior in both production scale and technical aspects.

July 5, 1983 at a hotel in Tokyo
His late father, Kinzo Takeuchi, 69, meeting with Mr. J. Williams, Chairman, Warner Lambert, USA

 


As for the chic razor, its parent company, Warner Lambert (WL), was acquired by Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, and changed its name to Pfizer Consumer Inc. in April 2002. In January 2003, Pfizer separated its shaving business units, such as Chic & Wilkinson, and agreed to sell the batteries to Energizer, Inc. in the U.S. In the Japanese market, the relevant divisions were established independently and Chic Japan Co., Ltd. was established, and Shinichi Goto was appointed as the Japanese president in 2009.

Sanbao Trading Co., Ltd. Headquarters Showroom
July 28, 1986 Author Yasuki Takeuchi Age: 43
U.S. Vice Governor of Buajnia (later the first black governor) D. Wilder to promote razor imports

Meanwhile, Gillette was acquired in 2006 by Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in the U.S., the world's largest toiletry manufacturer, including household detergents. Headquartered in Boston, Gillette is a prestigious financial company with a long history of 1904 and the world's largest market share. The company also owned leading companies such as Brown Electric Razor and Oral-B Toothbrush. In terms of products, Gillette released the electric-type male system three-blade MachEm 3 Power in 2004, and the four-blade Quattro 4 was released from Chic. Following this, in 2005, we launched a three-blade F-system MR3 chrome holder for domestic feathers. In the second half of 2006, the Gillette Fusion 5+1, a five-blade system for men from P&G, attracted worldwide attention. On the other hand, KAI, which mainly deals with disposables, launched the Premium Dispo 5, a five-blade luxury disposable razor, in 2008.

Otemachi Sankei Kaikan
November 27, 1989
Announcement of the establishment of the Shaving Culture Museum and Razor Club
Author Yasuki Takeuchi 46 years old (left)
His late father, Kinzo, 75 years old (right)

On the other hand, innovation also occurs for women, but products subjected to special processing in addition to the three-blade and electric type based on design preferences such as Gillette Vinas and Chic Intensity has been developed one after another, both are body razors of the same type as the Western market, L-type razor of the face shaving type used mainly by Japanese women is a product of most domestic manufacturers. In addition, the attachment holder "Sick Revolation" which allows the care of the bag became a topic. In the field of shaving-related products, a new gel type of pre-shaving containing chic aloe extract and charcoal (cleaning aid) was marketed in 2009 against shaving foam and other general male cosmetics manufacturers.

By the way, the last ten years in the 21st century were not long periods, but they were in the midst of tumuls and change. For the razor industry, it has become an era of great change that will go through history. In addition to the dynamic merger play of the two manufacturers by M&A, the appearance of four blades and five blades in a revolutionary new product was a momentum that was just at the fore of the times. In the past, only the blade itself was processed in the double-edged era, but today's razors use plastics and special chemical agents to become cartridge types. The price of the replacement blade has increased by that amount, but safety has increased and it has gained a favorable feeling from consumers. The improved sharpness is also from high-quality razor material (strip steel), and the number of times of use for each replacement blade is naturally increasing. Mr. Hona, chairman of Hitachi Metals Co., Ltd., the world's largest razor material supplier, was also talking passionately about the recent replacement blades during an interview in July 2009. Since the Lehman shock in the U.S. in 2008, deflation and the yen's appreciation have depressed the economy, and overall razor sales have been negative, but on the other hand, the sale of high-end razor gifts on the Internet, which is being developed by the razor club, has created new markets and attracted interest.