Juki Corporation is a large industrial machine manufacturer and global sewing machine sales leader. The company headquarters is in Tama-shi, a city west of Tokyo and it operates factories in Japan, China and Vietnam.
Below, you will find a concise history of Juki sewing machines as we explain where the company started and how its brand developed. We also cover what you can expect from Juki sewing machine technology today before outlining competition in the industry.
Initially, a group of Tokyo machinery manufacturers met and agreed to invest in the then-newly-formed Tokyo Juki Manufacturers Association. Within five years, developments and growth led to the association converting into a limited company named the Tokyo Juki Industrial Co. Ltd.*
In 1945, Juki began developing its original sewing machine business. Within two years, the company launched its first Juki sewing machine range for home users. Six years later, in 1953, the company developed its first industrial sewing machine models, initially of basic design for garment factories.
Steady technological improvements led to better performance. The introduction of electronic functions and precise motors paved the way for increased productivity, safer operation and convenient automatic functions. Juki’s consistent R&D programme and innovative approach placed it at the forefront.
In particular, the first rotary needle thread take-up system came out in 1954. Five years later, in 1959, Juki set up a laboratory to develop new advances. Advances included new workshops for factory managers and a company magazine.
Juki Hiroshima Seisakusho, founded in 1960, subsequently became the Juki Hiroshima Corporation. The following year, the Tokyo Stock Exchange began listing Juki shares, which soon reached the first division.
During that decade, a sales headquarters opened in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Other group acquisitions followed, including knife manufacturer Suzutami Precision Industry Company Ltd. in 1969. The Misedani Industrial Company Ltd. (now Juki Metal Corporation) came into existence shortly afterwards.
Sergers and international expansion
Juki opened its first US office in New York City in 1974. As hoped, the brand’s popularity grew internationally. As a result, the company moved to larger premises in Saddle Brook, New Jersey just two years later. There, the warehouse managed the expanding distribution of the industrial line; it would also deal with the soon-to-be-introduced overlock machines for domestic purchasers.
In 1978, the first Juki home overlock machines featured industrial serger technology. A serger is a speciality sewing machine that uses an overlock stitch, an option not available on standard lock stitch sewing machines. Sergers – or overlockers – use three or more threads to create a professional-grade binding.
Hailed as a breakthrough when they appeared on the US market, these overlockers widened the scope and capability for home sewing. Dealers and distributors were delighted with the Juki Lock MO-100 range, thanks to excellent performance characteristics and durability. Amazingly, some home sewing enthusiasts still own an original serger.
Continued growth and recognition
New sewing machines with automatic needle threaders and thread trimmers soon became a reality. In 1981, Juki Corporation won the prestigious Deming Prize for its quality control in industrial sewing machine manufacturing. The first automatic thread tensioning system became available to customers in 1985 with the introduction of HZL industrial models.
Seven years later, the company changed its name from Tokyo Juki Industrial Company Ltd. to Juki Corporation. The 1990s saw the setting up of overseas plants, initially in Shanghai. Somewhat predictably, the new manufacturing company’s name was Shanghai Juki Sewing Machine Company Ltd.
The Shanghai plant focused on producing household sewing machines. Its sales arm was a separate company, named Tokyo Juki International Trade (Shanghai) Company Ltd.
Around the middle of the nineties, a parts factory for industrial sewing machines opened in Vietnam, along with another plant in Langfang, China, to make industrial sewing machines. Then, just before the turn of the millennium, a significant restructuring saw Juki’s domestic Japanese sales department also become a separate company.
Into the 21st century
The company maintained a steady involvement in manufacturing electronic assemblies, test equipment and computer peripherals. This commitment and acquired expertise laid the foundations for the HZL home range, launched in 2001. These models brought computerised operation and excellent stitch quality to domestic users. Notably, the machines’ ease of operation and innovative features ensured early success.
In December 2018, Juki celebrated its eightieth anniversary. This remarkable sewing machine manufacturer had expanded exponentially from a small business in Chofu City in Tokyo to a global organisation. Over the years, the corporation has experienced natural disasters, impressive growth and various mergers while maintaining its proactive R&D projects.
Having accumulated eight decades in the sewing business, Juki sewing machines and sergers are now available in approximately 180 countries and almost every continent. This worldwide presence means that Juki’s home and industrial models command widespread popularity.
Direct Sewing Machines’ choice
Finally, sewing machine manufacturing is a competitive industry; other brands include Janome, Jack, Singer, Bernina and Brother. Some factors you might consider when choosing between a Juki sewing machine or an alternative brand are:
- Needle quality.
- Type(s) of fabric handled.
- Performance in stitches per minute.
- Motor specifications.
- Machine weight.
Machines with a metal chassis weigh more than those made from a plastic body. Though less portable, they are more stable and easier to use, especially for high-performance sewing work. In addition, they do not bounce with heavyweight fabrics. In fact, read our article on the best Juki sewing machines and decide for yourself.
Here at Direct Sewing Machines, we deal mainly with industrial-quality sewing machines and some carefully selected home sewing machines. Please contact our experts, who will be delighted to advise and recommend your best options based on your sewing requirements.
*Until 1988, when it changed to Juki Corporation. The board founded several associated international companies as wholly owned subsidiaries from the 1990s onwards.