The Adam Park Project


Lion Toothpaste Tube

Item Information:

Catalogue Number: 11/08/013 Source: TAPP Archaeology Surveys Location: No11 Adam Park Report No: Report No.12 Artifact Type: Personal Kit Production Date: 2012-05-09 00:00:00 Dimensions of Item: 70mm x 45mm Copyright with The Adam Park Project

Other Description:

Item 11/08/13, a toothpaste tube was found near the foot of the embankment somewhat away from the Japanese cartridge and stud. Careful cleaning revealed that it is a tube of Lion toothpaste made by T.Kobayashi & Co Ltd of Tokyo.

Historic Context:

In October 1891, founder Tomijiro Kobayashi established T. Kobayashi & Co. in Kanda, Tokyo, to trade in the raw materials for soap and matches. Thereafter, T. Kobayashi & Co. began specialising in the manufacturing of soaps and toothpaste. However, the toothpaste and soap businesses had diverging operations that gradually became more pronounced, prompting T. Kobayashi & Co. to specialize in toothpaste alone. This company became the Lion Dentifrice Co., Ltd in 1949 in the post war shake up of Japanese industries. The soap business was segregated to form the Lion Soap Co., Ltd., which later became Lion Fat and Oil Co. Ltd in 1941 in order to support the war effort. The two companies continued to expand their businesses independently, and merged in 1980 to give rise to Lion Corporation This production of this particular tube of Lion Toothpaste must have therefore predated the 1949 change of name. It is easy to conclude that this must have been dropped by a Japanese soldier possibly during the fighting. However it must be remembered that not only is there a chance that the toothpaste was dropped by a Japanese soldier guarding the POWs , the houses were also occupied by Japanese government officials and Army officers from 1943 to 1945 and the tube is more likely to relate to this occupation of the site. The Lion brand however was associated with the Japanese infantry men. Many men carried the Lion brand toothpowder and tooth brushes.

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