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One of the world’s oldest companies has endured two atomic bombs, despite its 1,443-year existence

Despite two atomic bomb attacks , a company that has survived for over 14 centuries is still in business today. A Japanese family-owned construction company called ‘Kongo Gumi’ has been operating for more than 1443 years.

Temple-building firm
Shigemitsu Kongo, a Korean builder, founded the company known for building temples. Prince Sh?toku invited Kongo to build a Buddhist temple in Japan.

Located in Osaka, Japan, the Shitenn?-Ji temple was the foundation of the Kongo family business. Since then, the Kongo family has been in the construction industry for four generations. In a scroll from the 17th century, the names of Kongo family members were prominently listed. According to Interesting Engineering, the business has survived because religion never goes out of style. The company earns about 80 percent of its revenue from building Buddhist temples.

In addition to having survived multiple natural disasters, political crises, and nuclear bombs that shook Japan during World War II, the company is also among the oldest and the most resilient one in the world. However, the company is no longer owned by the Kongo family. It was incorporated as a subsidiary of Takamatsu Construction Group after it collapsed in the 1980s.

During the 1980s, interest rates were kept extremely low by the Bank of Japan, which resulted in an asset bubble of sorts. Consequently, companies took on more debts than they could ever repay. After the bubble burst, all companies had left was debt. In other words, Kongo Guni’s centuries-long legacy has been effectively buried.


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