In 1941, a 19-year-old Korean chemistry student named Shin Kyuk-ho traveled to Tokyo to study at a technical college. He remained in Japan following the war and, under the name Takeo Shigemitsu, founded Lotte Co. in 1948. The brand’s name was inspired by Charlotte, the heroine of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s autobiographical novel, “The Sorrows of Young Werther.”
This year, Lotte — now the world’s third largest producer of chewing gum — celebrates its 70th anniversary. A major international conglomerate with confections and other food products, hotels, recreational businesses and more, Lotte struggled in its early days and was anything but an overnight success.