Established in 1881, Oki began life trading as Meikosha. Ltd. in a rented two-storey office block in the heart of Tokyo. Its founder, Kibataro Oki (Oki-san), was a silversmith by trade but nurtured a burning passion for innovation and firmly believed that Japan was on the verge of entering the age of communications. Before Oki-san passed away in 1906 at the age of 58, he had already paved the way for his company to become the first successful telecommunications manufacturer in Japan, which enabled subsequent leaders to steer the company towards becoming a premier provider of devices for communication and information processing for businesses worldwide.
Oki-san introduced one of his first major inventions, the Microsound device, an Edison-type telephone using carbon powder instead of carbon rods which was the method employed by other manufacturers. The result meant improved sensitivity and sound quality and subsequently won Oki-san a second-place award for innovation at the Second National Industrial Exhibition in Japan.
Oki San hit the international stage at the International Exhibition of Inventions held in London, where he won a second-place award for his lacquer-coated wire telephone which surrounded the existing copper wiring and led to even further improved sound quality.
Meikosha. Ltd. re-branded as Oki Electric Works in order to accommodate the increasing demand for electric wire telephones - and so the Oki brand was born.