1. YOSHIRITSU is located alongside the Yoshino River

    The 200 year old building of the company head office stands alongside the historical Old Ise Road.
    The company name “YOSHIRITSU” has the meaning of “To be independent (RITSU) in Yoshino (YOSHI)”.

  2. YOSHIRITSU CO., LTD. Head Office

    The building has the history of being the officially
    appointed resting place for nobles of the Kishu House,
    one of "The Three Houses of Tokugawa", when the
    nobles traveled to and from Edo (present day Tokyo).

  3. The invention of LaQ

    Hiroshi Kichijo wished to invent something completely
    unique, and something no one had ever seen before.
    A construction material that can create spherical shapes
    unlike the usual brick-and-mortar type stacking blocks
    that we are familiar with, and could be useful to build
    household items and containers.

    The letter "Q" in LaQ stands for the Japanese word
    "kyuu" meaning "sphere". Inventing block parts that
    can make spherical shapes was a challenge, but the
    ideas came from his knowledge of Japanese traditional
    architecture, as Hiroshi Kichijo lives in a historical home
    over 200 years old. The house uses traditional Japanese
    wooden architectural skills of connecting pillars with
    mortise and tenon joints.
    Another important clue to making the parts versatile,
    was discovered while eating a bowl of noodles.
    He observed that the noodles would bend and flex as
    they were flat. The knowledge of traditional wooden
    architecture and his daily observations, were the keys
    to the invention of the prototype for LaQ.

    Present-day LaQ parts
  4. Inspiration from traditional Japanese culture

    Another important philosophy behind the invention of LaQ
    comes from the traditional Japanese culture of recycling.
    LaQ can be reassembled into something completely
    different to make a new household tool or container,
    similar to how kimonos were recycled into a child’s kimono,
    then cushions or toys in the olden days.
    LaQ is manufactured in Japan using high quality materials
    to ensure that the parts can be repeatedly used to for long
    term open-ended possibilities.

  5. Spreading recognition of LaQ

    LaQ was invented in 1993 and sales started a year later.
    In the first marketing trials, we discovered that children
    were able to concentrate on playing with LaQ for hours,
    even if it was the first time to play with LaQ.
    Seeing how the children would play with LaQ, we decided
    to launch the sales of LaQ as an educational construction
    toy block. We approached sales through toy stores, but
    we had no experiences and no sales channels. LaQ was
    a new unrecognized toy in a period when TV computer
    games were becoming popular, and most children were
    not interested in toy blocks.
    The children who did actually play with the LaQ enjoyed
    the open-ended building and fun snapping sounds of
    connecting LaQ parts. Families that experienced playing
    with LaQ recognized the block toy as a good quality toy,
    but we could not reach the general public. We endured a
    period of not being able to market LaQ, and we learned
    that the most effective way to spread recognition was to
    have children actually experience playing with LaQ.
    We placed LaQ kits and sample parts in barber shops,
    gasoline stands, anywhere that would accept LaQ on
    consignment sales.

    First LaQ Kit (1994)
  6. Sales grew in bookstores

    As we could not market LaQ in toy stores, we decided
    to approach bookstores. Bookstores were looking for
    new items to recover the decrease in sales of printed
    books. One bookstore sold all of their stock of LaQ in
    one week. We became confident in which sales channel
    to pursue, and immediately started to visit all bookstores
    in our area. Gradually, we were able to spread our sales
    area with bookstores throughout Japan.

    Second LaQ Kit
  7. Sales grow to over 3,500 stores

    LaQ is currently sold in over 3,500 bookstores and
    toy stores throughout Japan, and used in numerous
    kindergartens, daycare centers and after-school activity
    classes as an ideal educational construction toy.

  8. Enjoyed by children around the world

    LaQ playday events are enjoyed by children and families in over 26 countries in Asia, Europe,
    Oceania and North America. LaQ is a unique construction toy encouraging children around the
    world to experience open-ended creative building with tactile experiences of snapping parts together.
    LaQ has won numerous overseas awards as an innovative and creative educational construction toy,
    and is recommended by educational professionals in Japan and overseas.