Origins: The History Of Koyorad And Its Name

  • In Japanese, “Koyo” literally translates to English as “a river expanding and flowing into the ocean.”
  • The first of two Kanji characters in the founder’s name of “Ejiri” can also be pronounced as “ko,” meaning “river.”

If you’ve missed our prior Origins stories, we explore the past of some of the automotive aftermarket’s most admired companies and explain what makes them a trusted source today. A company’s About Us webpage usually doesn’t contain details with this depth of information. These stories help us gain a better understanding of the impact of each company.

In today’s iteration of this series, we’re looking at the history of one of the world’s leaders in performance cooling products: Koyorad. Explaining the intricacies of the automotive cooling parts manufacturer and world supplier’s past is Koyorad USA’s Sales Manager, Scott Oshiro. We hope you enjoy reading about ‘The Cooling Masters.’

The Early Beginnings

Scott Oshiro, Koyorad USA’s Sales Manager: The Ejiri family had been involved in the radiator business since the 1940s. Masaru Ejiri, the founder of Koyorad, had two older brothers. Both of them had already run their radiator repair shop business before Koyorad was established. In the early 1950s, Masaru Ejiri started helping his brother’s radiator repair business in Yokkaichi city, in Mie Prefecture and began learning radiator repair techniques and business. Masaru Ejiri grew more interested in the industry and wished to provide the repairing service to more customers in a different area. A few years later, he established his own repair shop with his wife, brother-in-law, and one employee as Ejiri Radiator Industrial Co., Ltd. It was located in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, in 1956, officially beginning Koyo Radiator. Masaru Ejiri chose Nagoya as his first location since it was one of Japan’s biggest cities at the time.

In 1959, Ejiri moved to a larger office and workshop location in Nagoya to expand the business and seek the possibility of producing radiators. Renamed as Koyo Radiator Industrial Co., Ltd, it is where our current headquarters is still located. Masaru also devoted himself to designing original machinery to run radiator production while also using handmade output during this period. In 1970, Ejiri built a factory dedicated strictly to manufacturing in Nagoya to increase the production capacity of all related machinery. This facility is one of our current factory locations to this day.

In the early 1980s, Masaru Ejiri’s son, Kazumoto Ejiri, took on significant roles within the business and soon became the new company president by 1985. In 2018, Kazumoto Ejiri’s son, Takuma Ejiri, became the new and current company president. He resides in the USA and oversees the company’s world operations from this location. Koyorad continues to operate as a private, third-generation, family-owned business.

Handmade production, OE replacement copper/brass plate-fin type cores for all popular passenger cars were the initial products during the initial Koyo Radiator Industrial Co., Ltd period. With over 57 years of radiator design and manufacturing experience, founder Mr. Ejiri and his son gained interest in automotive racing.

Officially launched in 1999 in Japan, Koyorad Racing Radiators soon made a presence in Japan’s ever-popular racing scene. As Koyorad Racing Radiators quickly became synonymous with high quality, earning an excellent reputation for quality and performance in Japan, Koyorad looked to expand into the international market. In 2000, Koyorad USA was established in Southern California, distributing original replacement radiators for passenger cars. Four years later, in 2004, Koyorad all-aluminum racing radiators made their US debut. What started as only a few racing radiator applications for Japanese vehicles has now grown to over 100 racing applications for Japanese, US Domestic, and European vehicles, including oil coolers and intercoolers.

Explaining The Name

Originally, our first company’s president created the name “Ko-yo” as part of the family name Ejiri, along with his long-term goals for this organization. In Japanese, “Koyo” literally translates to English as “a river expanding and flowing into the ocean.” The first of two Kanji characters in “Ejiri” can also be pronounced as “ko,” meaning “river.” Mr. Ejiri signified a “river” with our company’s start as a small radiator repair shop in Nagoya, and “ocean” represents the world into which our company will grow and expand.

In Japan, the name “Koyo” is very common and difficult to identify by name relating to the automobile or automobile parts manufacturing industry. As a radiator manufacturer, we intended to include a word implying “radiator” for all suppliers and customers in a global market to understand our business easily. We have selected “rad” from radiator as a part of “Koyo Radiator” and combined it with Koyo (Koyorad). In April of 2006, our company’s 50th Anniversary date, Koyo as a brand name officially changed to “Koyorad.”

The Biggest Milestone

By the early 1990s, Koyorad had already been busy producing and selling heat exchange products in the Japanese market for over thirty years. However, predictions showed that the Japanese population for younger people was decreasing, and older people increased, resulting in difficulties finding labor to operate radiator production and less opportunity for large scale production in the Japanese market.

At that time, there were two options about the company’s future that Mr. Ejiri was considering:

  • To establish new sales channels and new, non-heat exchange products for the Japanese market.
  • To produce high-quality heat exchange products in a foreign country and distribute them worldwide.

Mr. Ejiri chose the second option, as he believed it would be most beneficial and lead to long term success. In 1994, Koyorad established its first overseas location in Jakarta, Indonesia, as a copper/brass radiator factory with 50 employees. This facility has grown to over 600 employees today.

He had never compromised the quality that Koyorad has committed to since its foundation. All Koyorad Indonesia employees had inherited the spirit, being supervised by Japanese management and engineers, which resulted in Japanese customers’ broad acceptance for Koyorad Indonesia products.

Koyorad Indonesia’s production enabled the company to offer heat exchange products with excellent Japanese quality and competitive prices to the global market.

Koyorad’s Recipe For Staying At The Forefront

Active and challenging investments, including three international Koyorad-owned factories outside of Japan (Indonesia, China, and Myanmar), and three international Koyorad sales locations, outside of Japan (United States, Singapore, and the Netherlands).

Koyorad automated production methods encourage our factories to increase capacity and keep quality identical to OEM products in terms of material grade and specification. All main component parts are produced in our factories. Koyorad’s R&D department is located in our tooling factory to develop new items in a timely manner and maintain quality (copper/brass plate-fin radiator, copper/brass corrugated radiator, plastic aluminum radiator, all-aluminum radiator, oil cooler, serpentine condensers, intercooler).

We’d like to thank Scott Oshiro for taking the time to explain Koyorad’s history to us. If you’re interested in more details on its products or any new updates, please check out the links below.

Koyorad Links