Philosophy & Shirota-ism


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Philosophy & Shirota-ism

Passion and Inspiration for Better Health:
Yakult originated with probiotics over eighty years ago


In 1930, Dr. Minoru Shirota, working in a microbiology lab at Kyoto Imperial University's School of Medicine, became the first in the world to succeed in culturing a strain of lactic acid bacteria beneficial to human health. This bacterium was named "Lacticaseibacillus paracasei strain Shirota (LcS)" after Dr. Shirota.

It was 1921 when Minoru Shirota was admitted to the university to study medicine. In those days, Japan was not a wealthy nation, and many children lost their lives to infectious diseases and other maladies brought on by malnutrition. Deeply concerned about these conditions, Dr. Shirota was determined, while still a medical student, that he would focus his efforts on preventive medicine, and turned his attention to the study of microorganisms. He set about developing a stronger strain of lactic acid bacteria which would reduce the harmful bacteria living in the intestines, and therefore improve and maintain the health of human beings. The result of his efforts was the successful culturing of Lacticaseibacillus paracasei strain Shirota (LcS).

Dr. Shirota then began working together with supporters to make a delicious, yet affordably priced drink incorporating  Lacticaseibacillus paracasei strain Shirota (LcS) so that many people could enjoy its benefits. His dedication led to the development of Yakult, a fermented milk drink, which was introduced to the market in 1935.

Dr. Shirota was driven by a relentless dedication to good health. His passion, creativity, and inexhaustible curiosity live on today through the continuing progress of Yakult.


Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit people's health by improving the balance of intestinal flora.


"We contribute to the health and happiness of people around the world through the pursuit of excellence in life science in general and our research and experience in microorganisms in particular."


The literal meaning of Shirota is "4 Rice Fields". The 4 trapezoids symbolize the rice fields while the square in the middle with an X stands for the owner of the field. In our case, the 4 rice fields stand for Yakult Enterprise while the square stands for us, the members of the corporate organization who run the enterprise.



  1. Preventive Medicine
  • Rather than treat a disease after people have fallen ill, it is important to prevent disease in advance

       2. A Healthy intestinal Tract Leads to a Long Life.

  • Nutrients are absorbed through the intestines. Therefore, a healthy intestinal tract will allow us to enjoy a longer, healthier life.

       3. A Price Anyone Can Afford.

  • Deliver Yakult and it’s intestine-fortifying benefit to as many people as possible at an affordable price.

Promoting People’s Health: it’s a universal ideal that transcends time. It is the very foundation of our business.