Corporate Story

We have a special story to tell you….


The history of Yakult takes us back to the early 1930s in Japan, when our founding father, scientist Dr. Minoru Shirota, selected and cultivated the Lactobacillus casei Shirota bacteria. It took Dr. Shirota another 5 years of research to find the right food medium for the L. casei Shirota bacteria. In 1935 the first bottle of Yakult, a fermented milk-based drink, was produced in glass bottles. The nurses that worked for Dr. Shirota, later referred to as Yakult Ladies, started distributing Yakult to customers.

The fermented milk drink became so successful, and demand was steadily increasing that in 1955 Dr. Shirota established Yakult Honsha Ltd., (which literally means Yakult head office) in Tokyo, Japan. Simultaneously, the renowned Yakult Central Institute was established in Kyoto.

Once Dr. Shirota established the head office, which centralised all business processes, he returned fully to his lifelong passion; Science! Up until his death in 1982, Dr. Shirota remained dedicated to science at the Yakult Central Institute.

Like to know more?

If you are interested in fermentation, read this whitepaper written by Science Director Bruno Pot.


Do you want to see how a bottle of Yakult is produced, watch the Little Bottle, big story video.

Fascinated by the unique Yakult Ladies distribution system?  Watch here the story of Yakult Lady Yukie.