In 1873, the Ministry of Engineering, responsible for promoting Japan’s modernization, commissioned Hisashige Tanaka to develop telegraphic equipment. He built a factory in Tokyo in 1875 to accommodate the growing government orders. This was Tanaka Seizo-sho (Tanaka Engineering Works), one of the forerunners of Toshiba.
Separately, in 1878, Ichisuke Fujioka developed Japan’s first arc lamp while studying at the Imperial College of Engineering (now the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo), under the tutelage of visiting professor William Ayrton. At that time, Japan had to import all of its electric lamps. Fujioka established Hakunetsu-sha Co., Ltd. in 1890 to manufacture light bulbs in Japan.