Kowa was founded in 1894 as a cotton wholesaler, and grew to be a large, international cotton producing company throughout the early 1900s.

After 1945, with all of Kowa’s international branches forced to close, and most Japanese cotton-producing machinery lost, they pivoted into pharmaceuticals, as pharmaceutical equipment and materials were still readily available.

Now, Kowa’s business extends into many industries, from pharmaceuticals to international trade, to optical and electronics, to real estate and hospitality.

Almost every drugstore in Japan carries their over-the-counter health products. Their Vantelin pain relieving patches are popular products, allowing your sore muscles and joints to absorb NSAID painkillers directly through the skin. Their vitamins and supplements such as Q&P Gold and Wakamoto are commonly seen in drugstores and on billboards across Japan. They’re easily recognizable bestsellers.